Skydive inspired by Ethiopian experience

St. Louis Grammar School pupil Cara Smyth pictured during her sponsored skydive raising money for Habitat for Humanity.
St. Louis Grammar School pupil Cara Smyth pictured during her sponsored skydive raising money for Habitat for Humanity.

This summer I had the privilege to volunteer and travel as part of the ‘Ballymena Inter Church Group’ with Habitat for Humanity to Ethiopia, to build on a sanitation programme in the slums in Addis Ababa.

I saw so many families living in extreme poverty and go to sleep at night without food or a decent roof over their heads.

I also witnessed first-hand how hope grows when families can focus on thriving and not just surviving.

Volunteers are at the heart of Habitat for Humanity’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. As a volunteer working in the slums in Addis Ababa, I was inspired by my experience. When I came home I continued to raise funds for families in need, to support Habbitat’s work, by doing a sky dive.

Working there, with the other members of the Inter Church team from Ballymena, I saw that when families are given the chance to build their own way out of poverty, they grab it with both hands and get involved.

Providing safe, secure healthy homes is inextricably linked to reducing families’ vulnerability and providing a solid foundation on which other critical services- including health care, nutrition and education can be built.

Habitat for Humanity transforms the lives of so many families and communities, not only in Ethiopia but around the world. It was a privilege to meet and work alongside the local families in Addis Ababa, not just building bricks but building relationships and bridges too. The people I met there have allowed me to grow and opened my mind to different cultures, religions and world poverty.

At sixteen years of age, it has made a massive impact and it was a life changing experience of me. I went on a once lifetime trip to Ethiopia with 12 fabulous people from different churches in Ballymena. We became a family and I made lifelong friends. I appreciate now everything I have and take nothing for granted.

To have had this opportunity and be part of the amazing Inter Church Group from Ballymena is a memory I will never forget.

I would like to thank everyone who supported and helped me raise £2,000, especially staff and pupils from St Louis Grammar.