Young apprentice heads to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan

Gazette Series: Apprentice carpenter Luke Naish, who will be travelling to the Philippines next year to help impoverished communities Apprentice carpenter Luke Naish, who will be travelling to the Philippines next year to help impoverished communities

A TEENAGE apprentice from Frampton Cotterell will be helping to rebuild communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines next year.

Luke Naish, an apprentice carpenter at Merlin Housing Society, has been chosen as one of 12 students from South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College to take part in the project.

The group will be heading off next summer to help improve the lives of people living at the Smokey Mountain former garbage dumpsite in Manila.

Luke and his 11 other co-volunteers will be working with the British-based Philippine Community Fund for two weeks helping out on a variety of projects to help some of the world’s poorest people.

“I applied to take part in the project because I wanted to do something to help after the typhoon,” said 17-year-old Luke.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit another part of the world and to help people. I also think it’s good to understand other cultures and how people live in other parts of the world.

“I’ll be able to come back and talk about my experiences and maybe encourage other people to help as well.

“I was so excited when they told me I’d been selected and everyone at Merlin has been really happy for me as well. I’ve really enjoyed my apprenticeship so far; I’m working with a good group of people, making a difference to people’s lives.”

Typhoon Haiyan is thought to be the fourth strongest ever recorded when it hit in early November. Officially it killed more than 5,000 people although that figure is thought to be far higher. The disaster also displaced thousands more and left some in remote areas struggling find shelter, clean water and food. Countries around the world have sent aid and a Disasters and Emergency Committee appeal has raised £70million to help.

Luke, who started his apprenticeship with Merlin in September and is a member of the windows and doors team, spends three days a week installing new windows in residents’ homes and the other two days a week at SGS College in Filton. Over the next six months he has to raise £1,000 to fund his travel to the Philippines.

“I’ve done fundraising for different things in the past and have got some ideas about how to raise the money, including fancy dress events, a swimathon and maybe even get all of us to do a skydive,” Luke said.

“Merlin has also offered to help as well so I’m confident I’ll be able to raise the money for the project.”

This will be the third year that the college has teamed up with the Philippine Community Fund to take a group of volunteer students to the Philippines.


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