A YOUNG Dorchester woman has enjoyed a life-changing experience after spreading her wings.

Laura Huff, 22, spent 11 weeks working in some of the poorest parts of Bolivia on a volunteer placement.

The trip came about after she volunteered with international development charity International Service, which works in partnership with human rights groups in West Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to empower the world’s most marginalised people.

Through the International Citizen Service (ICS) volunteering programme Laura was able to see the real difference her efforts made to the young people and communities where she worked.

She said: “It was humbling to see the young peoples’ confidence grow as we worked with them.

“I feel privileged to have been given this great opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Laura said that the most rewarding experiences of her trip were seeing the development of people she worked with on a personal level. She said: “One young man we worked with in particular was so shy, but after he won second place in a talent contest we organised, we could see how much it increased his self-belief.”

Laura is determined to spread the message of her experiences to continue her good work after returning to Dorset.

This will include a presentation to local school children.

Laura is keen to urge others to follow in her footsteps and take advantage of the amazing opportunities offered by International Service.

She said: “I would urge other young people to take the opportunity to volunteer overseas with International Service.

“I have learnt a lot as a volunteer, and I have gained so much confidence through taking part in the scheme.

“Volunteering in Bolivia has completely opened my eyes and I know that the skills I have gained will continue to develop now that I am back home in England.”

International Service offers overseas placements to youngsters aged between 18 and 25 on behalf of the UK government through the ICS scheme.

For more information on volunteering visit internationalservice.org.uk