Melissa Baragry, a 16-year-old from Westbury, is hoping to be able to raise €2,400 for the HOPE Foundation to help underprivileged children in Calcutta, India.
Melissa is in her transition year and is part of a programme that includes fundraising and visiting Calcutta for a week to help children from the city’s slums.
She is among several others who will be attempting to raise money for the HOPE Foundation and travel over 8,000 kilometres next year in March.
“I think it is a very good cause because the kids over there do not have anything compared to what we have here and it will be a great experience to go over and see it for myself,” Melissa said.
She is attempting to fundraise the money through various methods like selling chocolate bars and speaking and doing collections at church masses.
Her family is organising a table quiz at Sareva Bar and Bistro in Westbury on December 14 to help her reach her target.
All the money that Melissa and her family collect from their efforts will go directly to the foundation and their numerous projects.
“The fundraising is good experience; when you are out on the street with a bucket and asking people for money – that’s hard but you have to do it,” she added.
Melissa’s father, Noel Baragry, said that he would have to pay around €1,200 for the aeroplane tickets, the mandatory inoculations and the required VISA.
“Any money we raise is for HOPE, it is not for Melissa to go there. The money we are collecting isn’t for a holiday,” Mr Baragry added.
Her mother, Máire Baragry, was nervous of her daughter going to a Calcutta, but said that the fundraising was fun even if it meant standing in the cold rain.
“It is because it is so far away and she is so young and going to what I thought was a dangerous place, but I do not know if I am wrong. So I was nervous, but we are helping her wholeheartedly to fundraise so I have got hope for that,” Mrs Baragry said.
Melissa enjoys travelling and had the opportunity to go to Spain this year as part of an exchange programme, but she decided on fundraising instead.
“This would be a great experience because it is not like going to Spain or France, it is completely different. You are helping people while you are doing it and that makes you feel good about yourself – that you are making a difference,” she said.
With all her efforts including a car boot sale, Melissa Baragry has managed to raise around €1,000 so far.
“I think when I am older this would be the one major thing that I look back on as a really big moment in my life – this whole experience. I can look back on it and I can tell my kids about it.
“At the start, it was a hard decision because it was a lot of money to raise but the more fundraising I do, and I know it is ages away, and the closer I get to actually going, I am glad I decided to do it.”
If you would like to help Melissa achieve her target, you can donate at ‘https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/hope-foundation-kolkata-2018’, or call Máire Baragry on 0860429952.