AFTER spending ten weeks volunteering in West Africa, a 19-year-old from Altrincham is now using her experiences to help out her own community.

Ellie Lord, has just returned from Liberia where she worked with other volunteers to spread awareness of the common deadly diseases; Malaria, Typhoid and Cholera, with the aim and hope to reduce numbers of Liberians infected by these diseases daily.

Ellie now aims to use those experiences to raise awareness about people in poverty and end the stereotypes portrayed about the homeless in Manchester.

Ellie said: “Being in Liberia was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, I really feel like our projects impacted the Liberians living in the communities we worked in. It was incredible to see how different life in Manchester is compared to Liberia.

"It really showed me how lucky my life back home was, to have the basic privileges of clean running water to wash with and drink, a house that protects me from the outside and appliances that I can cook with. This got me thinking about the people on the street of Manchester who like in Liberia have nothing and are struggling to get by in life. I know there are people in Manchester living in horrendous conditions which is why I want to give back to the people struggling in life.

"Many people assume homeless people are drug addicts, alcoholics, and it isn’t fair to assume everyone on the streets is like that, they’re human like ourselves who are going through probably the hardest time of their lives. So, to me I am passionate and motivated to help the homeless of people of Manchester and stand with them through this bumpy period of their lives. Ways you can also help brighten up someone who may be struggling is to buy them a coffee or even some food, let them know there’s people who care."

Ellie travelled to Liberia with international development organisation Y-Care International, as part of the UK government funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme. ICS allows young people aged 18-25 to contribute to sustainable development projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Although the programme is funded by UK aid, Ellie raised over £800 for Y-Care International, which will help to make sure communities in developing countries continue to benefit from the work of future volunteers.

Felicity Morgan, director of ICS, said: “It’s really inspiring to hear about the fantastic work Ellie is doing. We’re incredibly proud that UK aid is supporting young Brits bring about positive change in some of the world’s poorest communities. As an organisation working on the frontline against poverty VSO see how people across Britain play an important role in delivering UK aid; from the NHS and Army helping end the Ebola crisis, to the millions who donate, and the contribution we all make through taxes, together we are all making the world a fairer, safer place.”

Ellie now hopes to be able to start a charity in the future to help homeless individuals get support.

She is also working on a documentary, collecting the stories of people living rough in the city centre, to put in YouTube. She is also hoping to be able to send the documentary to local schools and colleges for an assembly on the issues.

To find out more about ICS or to apply, visit