A big-hearted Aberdeen airport worker has swapped the duty free shop for an African village as part of a programme to bring water to the world’s poorest people.
Alison Scott, 58, from Udny, travelled to Malawi with a charity and helped repair vital water pumps.
During her emotional visit to the impoverished country she also visited local schools and saw the work being done to improve the lives of young and old.
Alison said: “It was a very emotional and stressful time.”
Alison works at Aberdeen International Airport’s World Of Duty Free and every year the company runs an incentive for one UK outlet to travel to Malawi with the One Water charity.
Alison was nominated by her Aberdeen co-workers to make the journey, alongside three members of One Water and five other World of Duty Free colleagues from around the UK. When Alison arrived the group was sent to various remote villages to help with water repairs and bore-drilling as well as feeding children in schools.
She said: ” We visited one of the schools at 7am, to give the children their porridge before school started. For some of the children this was their only meal of the day so an important one. Some children walked 2-3 hours each day each way just to get to school.”
Alison said the reaction from villagers was often very emotional.
She added: “When we reached the first village we were overcome with emotion as people were singing and dancing because they knew why we were there.
“The village pump had broken four years previously and so everyone had been carrying water from other sites.”
Despite the hard-work and high emotions, Alison said she found the experience highly rewarding.
“I really enjoyed the experience and I’m glad I went,” she added.
Since returning, Alison has continued to raise money for One Water, and is taking part in the Cotswold Way Challenge in July. She has also set up a JustGiving page.
Alison said: “Two members of World of Duty Free did it last year so we knew we wanted to continue to help the people we had met.”
One Water charity boss Duncan Goose, founder of Global Ethics (The One Brand), said: “Our partnership with World Duty Free has now spanned 10 years and raised over £1.5 million. Their continued support and the hard work of all their employees brings us ever closer to reaching our current goal of changing five million lives by 2020.”