A TEENAGER has helped to transform the lives of poverty stricken families in Kenya.

Jordan McLellan spent three months working with villagers and described it as 'one of the most amazing experiences of his life'.

The 19-year-old from Winsford was so inspired by the families met, he is now urging other young people to consider volunteering overseas.

Former High Street Primary pupil Jordan travelled to Kenya with international development organisation VSO as part of the UK government funded International Citizen Service.

Winsford Guardian:

Jordan McLellan made lots of friends whilst working as a volunteer in Kenya

"I had an incredible time," said Jordan, who studied at Hartford High School and Sir John Deane's College. "I don't think I would find that opportunity anywhere else. I really felt that our project made a difference in the community."

Jordan stayed with a college lecturer, his wife and their three teenage children and was treated like part of the family.

Winsford Guardian:

Jordan McLellan with students and staff from Kaptisi

"I became immersed in their culture," he said. "Their English is so good, I learnt how to cook some of their amazing dishes. I took my turn doing chores. We had to fetch water from a stream down the road and there was no electricity. They didn't have a computer or an oven. We cooked on a firewood stove."

Jordan joined a team of volunteers to work on several projects to combat taboos.

Winsford Guardian:

Jordan McLellan talking to pupils at George Khaniri High School on International Women's Day

"Nandi County in Kenya had an issue of excluding minorities, including people with disability in education," he said. "Our team set out to raise awareness of the importance of inclusive education, advocating for change and setting out important support systems for people with disabilities and their caregivers."

Families with disabled children were shown how to set up a self help group.

Winsford Guardian:

Jordan McLellan playing games with a neighbour's niece in Kenya

"There are so many misconceptions about mental and physical disabilities and their carers to the extent of believing that people with disabilities are cursed by witches!," said Jordan. "Some parents felt like outcasts.

"To tackle this taboo we facilitated talks from experts about the true causes of disability. Through talking about these issues we managed to form community groups including a self help group and a support group. Parents were so appreciative, they gave us a present."

Winsford Guardian:

Jordan McLellan demonstrates CPR during a talk on dealing with epilepsy to pupils and families at Kaptisi Special School

Jordan also worked with schoolchildren.

"Students loved music and sport," he said. "We helped them to make instruments out of paint pots and organised sports days.

"My placement has made me passionate about talking about taboo issues effecting society including climate action and inclusive education."

Before setting off on his mission, Jordan had to raise £800 towards the cost of the project.

Shaving his head and organising various events helped him to top £850.

Winsford Guardian:

Jordan McLellan visited Tindinyo Falls whilst he was working as a volunteer in Kenya

Jordan now plans to support St Luke's Hospice by climbing Mount Snowdon with his sister Alex, 21, on May 19.

The project has given him confidence to enrol on a degree course on education studies and psychology at the University of Durham.

and British Sign Language.

"My placement was such an incredible opportunity," said Jordan. "It has opened my eyes to many pressing issues. You learn as much from the experience as you give.

"I am excited to start my journey in the education sector. I plan to study special needs education, global education and British Sign Language."

Felicity Morgan, director of ICS at VSO, said: "It's really inspiring to hear about the fantastic work Jordan did on placement.

"We're incredibly proud that UK aid is supporting young Brits to bring about positive change in some of the world's poorest communities."

To find out more about volunteering overseas visit volunteerics.org.