Jarrow volunteer shares experiences of Africa with MPs

Jarrow and Hebburn MP Stephen Hepburn meets Elizabeth Ascroft.
Jarrow and Hebburn MP Stephen Hepburn meets Elizabeth Ascroft.

A volunteer from Jarrow who spent three months working on a project in a remote part of Africa has been congratulated for her efforts.

Elizabeth Ascroft was invited to the Houses of Parliament by Jarrow and Hebburn MP Stephen Hepburn to talk about her experience in taking part in a humanitarian volunteering programme.

The 26-year-old also won a global photography competition, organised by the International Citizen Service programme, for images captured whilst over there.

The three-month project, which she undertook in 2015, was made possible through the International Citizen Service programme.

During her time in Zambia, Elizabeth, a community engagement officer with the National Citizen Service (NCS), spent time helping to improve young people’s knowledge of good sexual health, in particular HIV and respectful relationships.

She said: “My time in Zambia was a real eye-opening experience. In Zambia there is no education system or opportunities for young people to have the conversation with a parent or teacher.

“It was a really testing experience as young people are stigmatised and aren’t really listened to.

“Volunteering with the NCS is something I would definitely recommend as you do gain so much experience and it takes you out of your comfort zone.

“It is a government scheme and it gives you the chance to find out how people live.”

Mr Hepburn said: “It was inspiring to meet Elizabeth who is amazing and we should all be proud of a local lass making a genuine difference to some of the poorest people in the world.”

For details on NCS visit www.ncsyes.co.uk