Earlston student set to fulfil her gap year dream

Jennifer Mallinson from Earlston, doing a gap year in South Africa.
Jennifer Mallinson from Earlston, doing a gap year in South Africa.

SOMETHING an Earlston schoolgirl described as “a kid’s dream” has come true, writes Sally Gillespie.

For Jennifer Mallinson has won a place with a charity to go to Africa to help children.

The 17-year-old said: “I watch things like Comic Relief and I wanted to help. I hadn’t been planning to take a gap year but I saw the presentation and wanted to do it – and now that I can do that next year, it’s makes me feel good. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

The chance came about after the Isle of Coll-based Project Trust gave a presentation on its work at Earlston High School.

Inspired, Jennifer went on the trust’s four-day selection course on Coll which included group challenges.

“They don’t give you specific reasons why you pass,” said Jennifer.

She will be working on social care projects for children under the age of 10 in orphanages and will find out more details closer to the time. But in the meantime she has to raise £5,000 to take part.

Jennifer and another high school pupil, who is also taking a gap year with Project Trust, Shannon Kemp, are organising a fundraising ceilidh.

And Jennifer has also organised a bring-and-buy sale in Melrose’s Corn Exchange on Saturday, May 28.

Jennifer, whose hobbies are reading and photography, hopes to study law at Dundee and become a human rights lawyer.

She said: “I always had this dream that I was going to take a gap year and go and help kids in Africa, it was a little kid’s dream but I grew up and wanted to be a lawyer and didn’t think it was feasible. I’m just a lot happier now. I’m excited to go and be out there and do the work.”