Hali leaves com­forts far be­hind

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

Giv­ing up makeup, flush­ing toi­lets and show­ers for a month is a price Hali Pur­cell is happy to pay to help the chil­dren of Burma.

The St Lukes Body Shop store man­ager is trav­el­ling to a Thai vil­lage called Mae Sot, on the bor­der of Thai­land and Burma, with the char­ity Chil­dren on the Edge.

“In­stead of do­ing an OE I wanted to do some­thing like this,” she says.

The non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion was founded by Body Shop cre­ator Dame Anita Rod­dick, and em­ploy­ees can ap­ply to travel over­seas on the vol­un­teer pro­grammes.

Miss Pur­cell found out about the trips shortly af­ter she started work­ing at the store five months ago and de­cided to ap­ply.

Her role will be teach­ing chil­dren in schools and board­ing houses ba­sic school- work from the Chil­dren on the Edge cur­ricu­lum.

“A lot of th­ese kids aren’t al­lowed to be there, they are il­le­gal im­mi­grants from Burma.”

She says peo­ple flee­ing the vi­o­lence and un­rest try to get refugee sta­tus in Thai­land.

If they don’t get it, they can be ex­ploited by em­ploy­ers and have no right to things like ed­u­ca­tion be­cause they are in the coun­try il­le­gally.

As part of her ap­pli­ca­tion, Miss Pur­cell had to un­dergo po­lice, safety and ref­eree checks and learn how to be­have with the chil­dren.

She leaves in Fe­bru­ary with an­other Body Shop worker from Christchurch.

The com­pany cov­ers some of their liv­ing costs, in­oc­u­la­tions and in­sur­ance, but they need to raise money for flights and ex­penses.

“I want to leave a lot of stuff be­hind like sports equip­ment. Every­one thinks work books and pen­cils but I want to leave mos­quito nets and mats.

“I saw a pic­ture of nap time and they were ly­ing on the con­crete.”

To achieve her goal, Miss Pur­cell plans to raise at least $2000, but would like to dou­ble that amount to bet­ter help the chil­dren.

“Even an ex­tra $500 would make a world of dif­fer­ence.”

She is ner­vous about head­ing to an area with so much un­rest, but says the more she learns about the peo­ple’s strug­gle, the more she wants to help.

“How can you find out this much about th­ese peo­ple, have the chance to help and not take it?”

Chil­dren on the Edge na­tional man­ager Shelly Mans­field says the teach­ers also ben­e­fit from the vol­un­teers, who give them new ideas on how to teach English.

“Vol­un­teers add a bit of spice to the daily school rit­u­als and bring in ad­di­tional re­sources.”

To help raise money for the trip, mas­sage ther­a­pist Luke Heales has vol­un­teered to give mas­sages for note do­na­tions to­mor­row night at the St Lukes Body Shop, from 5pm to 9pm. Miss Pur­cell and New­mar­ket store man­ager Cara Aloia are hold­ing an old-fash­ioned bake sale out­side the Body Shop on Broad­way, New­mar­ket, on Sun­day from 11am.

She has also set up a bank ac­count at the BNZ Bank for peo­ple want­ing to do­nate. The ac­count name is COTE and the num­ber is 02-031603564-68-097.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Reach­ing out: Body Shop store man­ager Hali Pur­cell is go­ing to help the chil­dren of Burma with char­ity Chil­dren on the Edge.

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