Stephen Truong is a Graduate Engineer at calfordseaden and grew up in Southwark. For the past nine years Stephen has been volunteering for the Southwark Helping Hands charity, which aims to empower disadvantaged people with special needs and help them socialise and have fun.
Stephen first became involved with the charity after his teacher encouraged him and some of his school peers to sign up and one of the first activities he volunteered for was a trip to Lourdes in France. The charity takes their members on trips to help improve their socialisation whilst providing them with exciting and fulfilling experiences. The trip to Lourdes requires much needed help from volunteers who act as carers for the duration of the trip which involves visiting the annual Torchlight Marian Procession.
The procession is in honour of Bernadette Soubirous, a saint in the Catholic Church, and who was believed to have been visited by the Virgin Mary at the Grotto in Lourdes. Since 1872 a torchlight procession has taken place and has grown in popularity. The spectacular event attracts thousands of people every year to make the pilgrimage and partake in the procession. Stephen and the group visit the procession, Easter Sunday mass and the historic Grotto site before exploring the town for a quiz night and movie nigh to finish off the trip.
Southwark Helping Hands are able to make this trip possible for those who would not ordinarily be able to go by fundraising throughout the year. The trip is hugely beneficial to those who attend as well as for the volunteers who help out. Stephen says “volunteering at Southwark Helping Hands makes me appreciate everything that I have. I enjoy spending time with everyone involved with the charity and I take joy in knowing that I’ve provided joy in those that aren’t as fortunate as I”. The trip also provides families and carers a rest bite for the short period that they are away.
For more information about Southwark Helping Hands, please contact Stephen Truong.