By Laura Maltby Wednesday 05 September 2012 Updated: 05/09 07:54
CRAZY, brave and stupid are just some of the names Leamington's Melissa Coleman has been called since deciding to give up her job and travel half way round the world in the name of charity.
The 27-year-old will be travelling to Cape Town in September to volunteer at Baphumelele Children's Home in Khayelitsha.
The home, which was set up by a friend of Melissa's, began its life as a refuge for young children who were roaming the streets.
But ten years later it has been transformed into a haven for more than 160 children ranging from newborns to 19-year-olds.
It contains a woodwork shop, a bakery, a soup kitchen to provide food to the local community and a vegetable plot with the concept being to teach skills which will allow the younger children to go to school and the older children to become employable.
Following a nine-month stint volunteering at the home Melissa will be taking part in the Mongolia Charity Rally 2013.
On July 6 2013 she will drive 10,000 miles over two months from London to Mongolia in a vehicle which will be donated following the challenge to either Mongolia's flagship ambulance service or to those who need a 4x4.
And her charity effort is a nod to both her past and her present.
Melissa hopes to raise £5000 for the children's home (where she is going) and Warwickshire Air Ambulance (where she is from) as well as £1000 for Go Help, the charity who are organising the rally.
In the run up to the event she will be holding fund raising events, producing flyers and keeping social media updates.
She is also selling advertising space on the vehicle for the two-month trek and is looking for sponsors to help with her fund raising.
Melissa has given up her job working in the marketing department at Coleman's Office Supplies to embark upon her adventure and although she is anxious, the Ettington resident is relishing the task ahead.
She said: “Over the last three years I seem to have lost sight of what I truly believe in and what I actually feel passionate about.
“I have two mottos in life: never have regrets – I would rather try something and fail than regret never having tried, and make a difference – if I can make one person's life better and allow them the opportunities they deserve, I will be satisfied.”
She hopes that her volunteer work will contribute towards her long-term aim to become a developmental aid worker.
She said: “I don't want to change people's lives to the way I would want to live, I just want to do what I can to help those who are under privileged to have a chance at proving their potential in the world.”
Visit http://www.justgiving.com/MongoliaWNAA or www.justgiving.com/mongoliaGOHELP to make a donation or contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being involved in sponsorship.
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