Michaela realising her dreams in Zimbabwe

FOR many students the summer holidays is a chance to relax. But for 25 year old Michaela Burns it’s an opportunity. A chance to help other people.Michaela 4.jpg.gallery

She is currently in Zimbabwe “achieving her dreams” by giving support to those in desperate need of help.

“Many people say charity starts at home, which I understand and believe it does, but for me charity is where ever I am in the world, wherever my heart leads,” she says.

“From the age of eight I have had this desire to go to Africa, this started when I went to Wilton Primary School in Hawick. They sponsored a girl in Kenya but also did shoe box appeals. From then on I have dreamed of heading to Africa and doing what I can to help make a difference.

“Deep down I believed that it would be impossible for someone like me to achieve something so big, but from the age of eight up until now, I held on to that tiny bit of hope that maybe one day I might achieve it. And here I am in Zimbabwe for the second time. Last January I set off to Zimbabwe for the first time ever to a charity called Mind the Gap, their purpose is to fill the gap that no one else can. I was over helping out on the farm, spending time with the children from the orphanage and just helping where ever I could or was needed.

“I also visited a charity called the Sandra Jones Centre which is another place for children and young people who have no were else to go,” she adds.
“Both these charities are doing amazing things, they are making a massive difference to those who need them. Even when they have little, they still give to others who may need it more. It amazes me the kindness and the love they have for each other.”

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Michaela, who plans to go back to college to study Higher Social Care when she returns, arrived in Africa on June 23 to volunteer and is staying two months.

“I hope that one day I will become a mental health social worker and can reach out to more people. Hopefully I will have more knowledge and an understanding of how to help people on a bigger scale. Being out in Zimbabwe this time has been a joy. My heart is to help other people whether it be in the UK or overseas.”

She also said that getting the required funding has been a challenge, but the hard work has all been worth it.

“Funding to come to Zimbabwe has been a challenge but it has been achieved. I held a fundraiser last year with the help of two friends who pretty much put the whole thing together for me and for that I will be forever grateful.

“Many people have also given wonderful donations, not only finance, but gifts for me to bring over for the children, so thank you to all who have done that,” she added.

“It has helped to bless the children and also to put things aside as birthday and Christmas presents.

“While at college I also worked at Galahill Care Home, picking up as many shifts as possible, so I could save personally to make it possible for me to get to Africa. Through being at work and college, friendships, my confidence and my self esteem have all increased. I cannot thank those enough who have become a big part of my life and helped me to become the person I am today.

“Hope Church in Tweedbank has also played a massive part in me achieving my dreams. I would really love it if people who wanted to know more about the charities I am helping here, would get in touch. I have a page on Facebook called Michaela’s trip to Africa which is open to anyone.”
Michaela insists that people shouldn’t give up on their dreams, because they will come true when the time is right.

“Anyone can achieve something if they put their mind to it, just take one step at a time and don’t give up. There is something out there for all of us, and what is for us won’t go by us.”