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Former volunteer Alice Bowman wins Young Scot Award

Alice Bowman, a former Projects Abroad volunteer, won the Volunteering category at the Young Scot Awards, which took place in Edinburgh on 27 April 2016. Alice, now 18, a trainee office worker from Blairgowrie, was awarded the prize for her efforts on a Projects Abroad Care Project in Cambodia, where she volunteered at a home for men and boys with physical and mental disabilities, some with HIV. 

Projects Abroad volunteer, Alice Bowman from Scotland, in discussion with a group of volunteers and local staff members at a Care project in CambodiaThe Young Scot Awards are now in their eleventh year, and celebrate the remarkable achievements of Scotland’s youth in twelve different categories, ranging from sport to excellence in education. These awards provide a great opportunity to spotlight their positive contributions, and reward the efforts of Scotland’s young people. 

Alice visited Cambodia in July 2015 for four weeks on our Short-Term Special Care & Community Project when she was 17. At the care home where she volunteered, based in Phnom Penh, Alice spent much of her time looking after the residents, helping them get ready for the day ahead. In Cambodia, access to disability care is limited; as part of our Care management plans, we work to provide specialised, targeted care for those affected, and improve their overall standard of living.

Alongside other volunteers on the project, Alice also started a vegetable garden – the outside area consisted of dirt and grass, and four weeks of hard digging were required to get this particular initiative going. She also worked on improving the sensory room, designed to provide a more stimulating environment for the inhabitants of the care home.

Projects Abroad volunteer, Alice Bowman from Scotland, plants seeds in a vegetable garden at a Care project in CambodiaAsked how she felt about her win, Alice summed up her feelings in one word: “Overwhelmed!” She is currently fundraising for a return visit later this year, and has been hard at work selling homemade marmalade and running a charity shop. For her 18th birthday earlier this year, she requested donations in lieu of gifts to further her goal.

Apart from the costs of the trip, Alice plans to use the money to buy a new wheelchair for one of the boys, who has outgrown his. She’s also looking to purchase items that will assist with their daily living, such as clothes, food and nappies – the latter being very expensive in Cambodia.

This time around, Alice plans to stay for eight months, working firstly on a General Care Project, and then moving onto Teaching. Asked about what she’s most looking forward to on her return trip, Alice says, “Seeing all the boys again, and being able to help them even more than I did before.” Ultimately, she hopes to create a long-lasting positive impact for the home and the people they care for. 

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