Sheelagh McCambridge worked on a Habitat for Humanity project in Cambodia which changed her life. Photo: Supplied.

Chance for ‘tourism with soul’

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Sheelagh McCambridge never thought she might be the sort of person to jump at an opportunity to travel to a third world country to help build homes.

But when she read a story in the Nelson Weekly two years ago, all that changed.

The article was about Habitat for Humanity and the work they did in building homes for less fortunate people.

“I’m a late bloomer to travel,” says Sheelagh. “But when I saw the newspaper I thought, ‘that’s it’.”

She travelled to Cambodia for a week with a group of other like-minded people – all bent on helping locals into homes.

“I got far more out of it than I could give,” Sheelagh says. “It taught me about myself and how I view the world.”

When she returned to Nelson, she started tutoring former refugees, and jumped at another chance to go to Fiji with Habitat for Humanity.

“I’m a 50-year-old woman on my own. I knew travelling would be safe and I have an ethical sense of travel, so it ticked all those boxes.”

Now she is organising a tour with the organisation – this time to Myanmar in October.

“Someone told me that it’s like tourism with soul,” Sheelagh says. “It’s a way I can do something for people in their country while also seeing and learning more about their culture.”

She is looking for people to join her to travel to Bago region and help build homes.

“The build work is done at your own pace and ability. We have everyone from 15 to 83-year-olds.”

She says locals are so appreciative of the help.

“Once they learn what you are doing, they welcome you with open arms.”

Anyone who is interested can contact Sheelagh on [email protected]