“Before the final year of my Arts degree, I went travelling with my friends to Sri Lanka. One of my friends is from Sri Lanka. His parents had to leave the country because of the political situation and he hadn’t been back since he was 12. With him, we were able to experience a more intimate connection to the culture, filled with his childhood memories and staying in the houses of his relatives. I’d never left Europe before so from the minute we landed, Sri Lanka became the first real culture shock of my life. It made me think about what fleeing your home country really means. Years later, when I was travelling again, the difference in poverty levels, infrastructure and development from one country to the next was really striking. One of the countries I visited was Cambodia. It’s a really beautiful country that I loved straight away but there are monuments there to what happened during the genocide that left me in tears. I became more interested in the history of different countries and how they had come to reach different stages of development. When I returned to Ireland, I did some research and discovered that Concern was working in Cambodia so I began donating and this is how I learned more about the organisation’s work. I also began to toy with the idea of working for an international NGO. I had been working in a recruitment agency but had no job satisfaction there so I eventually worked up the courage to leave and apply for a Masters in Development Studies. After graduation, I applied to Concern and I’m with them ever since. My job as a content editor provides huge job satisfaction and I couldn’t be happier.”
This is Clare Ahern, she is a Content Editor at Concern. Read more stories from Concern’s Overseas team on Concern Worldwide channels.