Nicola gives up Christmas at home to help poverty-stricken families in Ethiopia

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

While most people are looking forward to their home comforts and the company of family and friends during the Christmas festivities, a young Clonmel woman will spend the holiday in Ethiopia working with poverty-stricken families and vulnerable groups affected by leprosy and HIV/AIDS.

26 year-old Nicola Quinn from Willow Park is one of eight people travelling to the horn of Africa with Habitat for Humanity Ireland to help families who live in crowded, sub-standard houses in slum areas with poor sanitation. The group leaves on St. Stephen’s Day and returns on January 9th.

“Habitat for Humanity is a very worthy cause and a charity that I am very passionate about, having previously worked with them building houses in Zambia in July of last year. Making these trips to Africa allows me to give something back and do my little bit in fighting poverty housing in Africa. I believe that good quality housing is essential to improve the people’s health, give them access to education and provide economic opportunities for these families”, she says.

One of three children of Catherine and Robert Quinn (the former Director of Nursing at South Tipp General Hospital, who retired last June), Nicola studied General Nursing in UCC and is now working as a staff nurse at Cork University Hospital.

To support her work in Africa she has organised an Ethiopia Charity Live Band Night in Dannos nightclub in Clonmel from 9.30pm on Saturday night, November 26th.

“I’ve received great and generous support from Paul Higgins of Mulcahy’s bar/Dannos and two very talented local bands, The Waheys and The A-Z of Irish Rock. It’s going to be a brilliant night and I hope people will support the bands and this very worthy cause”, says Nicola.

Entry is just €5 and all the proceeds will be pumped directly into the village of Debre Berhan, where she will live the life of the locals over Christmas and the New Year while working with the local families to build houses. This work will entail everything from digging and laying the foundations, bricklaying, putting the roofs on the houses, educating the people about their health and much more.

Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide, non-profit housing organisation that works in partnership with the world’s poorest people to transform their lives by tackling poverty housing. The charity builds houses in Ireland and nearly 100 other countries around the world.

Since 1976 Habitat has served more than 500,000 families. At the core of its mission is the conviction that access to affordable shelter is a basic human right. It is committed to working with people of all backgrounds, races and religions in the fight against poverty.

“In the past few weeks I have been truly touched that even in this current harsh economic climate the local community in Clonmel has offered me incredible encouragement and support in my fundraising activities, for which I am deeply grateful”, she says.

One of those activities included a very successful cake sale at South Tipperary General Hospital. Contributions may also be made on Nicola’s charity page,