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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 149

Date:- 01 May 2004

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DONNA RIMMER, currently working in Zambia, is in the middle of a two year placement with international development charity VSO, based at a street children's project in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. 

Zambia certainly is a far cry from the familiarity of her mother's home in Southport. However her work as an occupational therapist, currently working to train teachers to work with physically disabled children, encompasses special needs children. 

Volunteers are aged between 21 and 75 and work overseas for two years on a local salary. They share their skills and knowledge with local people to ensure their work continues in the community after they have after they have left. 

Although the many differences are obvious, Donna says that she has got used to the cultural differences:- "everything takes so much longer than it would usually. In the UK we are used to having all that we need and getting everything instantly and for free, which can mean that families do not always co-operate or appreciate what you do. Here any help is greatly appreciated and families will do their best to work with you," she explained.

Practical problems concerning resources are demanding Donna put her thinking cap on and be creative:- "I frequently recycle my rubbish at home to make toys, it wouldn't be normal to take ordinary toys into work with me as the children here play with whatever they can find, which is usually rubbish or junk they have found," Donna explained.

VSO is an international development charity, which works through volunteers. Using the skills and experience of volunteers it helps tackle poverty in over 40 of the world's poorest countries. Founded in 1958, VSO is now the largest organisation of its kind in the world and has 1,700 volunteers working overseas.

Wise-cracking Priest and Rabbi! 

IT'S no joke, they're dusting off their best gags in the search for the funniest faith leader in Liverpool - the only problem is the rabbi and priest has yet to be found!

That's right... this city is famed for its wit.  It is home to some of the nation's favourite funnymen and regarded as the country's comedy capital, a quick-witted Catholic and a jovial Jewish leader have yet to step into the spotlight.

Faith leaders from across the city will be swapping pulpits for microphones, and congregations for rowdy crowds, at the Liverpool Comedy Festival 2004.

The project, one of 80 funded by Liverpool City Council's Creative Communities grant, aims to celebrate humour within the city's diverse communities as part of Faith in One City, the second Capital of Culture themed year.

So far, budding comics from Sikh, Hindu, Methodist and Anglican backgrounds have signed up to take part but more rib-tickling representatives are still needed.

The Liverpool Comedy Trust is on the hunt for sharp-witted stand-ups in time for special comedy workshops starting on June 1.

Liverpool's Lord Mayor Ron Gould said:- "This promises to be a great event. It will be done in good taste and show a lighter side to faith and religion. There has been a great response to the appeal for stand-ups and I'm sure even more will catch the comedy bug to take part!"


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