BEDAR student Toby Desmond is determined to use his gap year not only to travel and broaden his horizons but also to help make a difference in the world.
The teenager is off to Costa Rica for 10 weeks with sustainable development charity Operation Raleigh in October with the aim of assisting accessibility to conservation areas and to make education more available.
“Our base will be Turrialba, from where we will travel to various conservation areas known for their rich variety of plants and fauna,” Toby told the Euro Weekly News.
“Over the years these areas have needed more protection in order to survive, and thanks to the international help of charities such as Operation Raleigh they have been able to thrive and serve as educational tools for both the locals and us volunteers”, Toby explained.
“My contribution will include helping with the construction of schools for the indigenous communities, improving their access to education and teaching them English. My Spanish will help as other members of my team will not speak it”, added bi-lingual Toby, whose family moved to Bedar when he was three.
Choosing to volunteer for Operation Raleigh was a no-brainer for Toby.
“When I was planning my gap year I was researching charities and looking for those that needed my particular skills and I came across Raleigh where there was an expedition in a Spanish-speaking country. This was the perfect match: a charity that works in Costa Rica with major plans to make a difference in certain areas.
“Looking through the website I just knew it was the one for me. Their expeditions are an incredible experience in which young people learn valuable life lessons while also helping the people of the area and helping resolve their problems and difficulties.”
The youngster is now busy trying to reach his fundraising goals for Operation Raleigh. He has started an ‘Improving conservation and education in Costa Rica’ gofundme account. He also does beach cleans, car washes and translations.
All his wages for the 10 weeks of the summer Toby worked in his parents’ Olive Properties office are going towards the charity. He is even putting the money he received for his recent 18th birthday towards the cause.
Anyone interested in supporting Toby and the cause can make a donation to the gofundme account or at the Olive Properties office in Bedar, or can join him in the beach cleans.
“Any amount of money will be greatly appreciated and I will be incredibly grateful for any type of sharing of the cause on social media”, Toby stressed.
Olive Properties will be matching the amount Toby raises.
To make a contribution see www.gofundme.com/f/improving-conservation-and-education-in-costa-rica