Personal Stories: Helping to change lives after a trip to Africa
Aidan McClafferty on making Ardoyne a better place to live
Aidan has just returned from a humbling, inspiring and eye-opening 'Belfast 2 Blanco' trip to Africa.
The trainee youth worker was one of 12 members of Ardoyne Youth Club and Hammer Youth Club, in the Shankill area, to help rebuild a park, feed the poor, organise fun days for children, work with the elderly and visit a juvenile prison.
While in Africa, the young people on the cross-community project also learned about African culture.
Aidan said: "It was unbelievable.
"It was the experience of a lifetime.
"We were working in the townships and helping people in need.
"We did food drops to people who don't get fed properly.
"They were so appreciative. It made me realise how we can take things for granted.
"There were kids running about with no shoes on - they have nothing.
"It made me feel very emotional every day witnessing it.
"It made me thankful for everything I have here.
"I have been talking part in cross-community groups in Belfast.
"We are all good friends and have built better relationships.
"I'm training to be a youth worker. I've taken part in groups and have been getting involved with young people and learning a lot.
"I hope to help change lives for young people in Belfast."