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Muriel's Mission

At just 19 years of age and originally from Katherine, IHD Resident Muriel Scholz is trekking halfway across the world to make a difference.  

The Volunteer Eco Students Abroad (VESA) program allows students the opportunity to be a part of large-scale humanitarian projects in regions around the world. These areas are not typically addressed by traditional charity or aid.

Muriel came across VESA by chance – picking up a flyer while on campus at CDU. “I’ve always had an interest in volunteering work and travel, and this opportunity provides both,” she said. “It’s such a unique experience that not everyone has the opportunity to participate in.”

For just under three weeks, Muriel will work with local children where she will teach English and renovate and revitalise existing facilities, such as bathrooms and kitchens. She’ll also be working with the KZN-Ezemvelo Wildlife Authority in two wildlife conservation projects: the Saint Lucia Crocodile Center; and the Emdoneni Cheetah Project.

“We land in Durban before heading to Saint Lucia (volunteer week),” she said. “Next we head to Swaziland where the adventure week begins. After this week, most head home, but for some of us who have elected to stay, we head to Mozambique to continue our trip for an extra week. While in Mozambique, we travel between destinations such as Tofo, Tongula Island, Bilene and Turtle Bay.”

As well as helping the local community, Muriel’s keen to experience the travel-aspect of humanitarianism. She’ll meet her first Zulu healer, go snorkelling amongst rays and turtles, and try her hand at white-water rafting, quad bike riding and caving.

While Muriel is excited and getting her vaccinations in order, there are a few aspects she’s really looking forward to. “The whole experience will be something to remember, from meeting the village kids to sharing a beach bungalow with one of my best friends who secretly applied and got accepted to the same program and group,” she said. “The safaris and cruises are also a very exciting thing for me; I really can’t wait to see a hippo!”

Muriel begins her journey to South Africa mid-November and will return to Darwin with a whole new perspective (and hopefully having seen a hippo) in early December.

She is currently selling VESA AFRICA wrist bands to raise money towards her travel costs. While there is no set amount per wristband, every dollar helps. Money raised will assist in vaccinations, program fees and materials, visas and transportation. You can also donate to her gofundme page or contact her directly.