Diep River Girl Guide spiced up for India work

Nicola Stuart salutes, displaying her pledge tattoo.

Nicola Stuart, from Diep River, is raising funds to go work at a girl guide centre in India later this year.

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts includes 10 million girls and women in 145 countries. Girl guiding and girl scouting started in the UK in 1910.

Ms Stuart, 27, has been part of the girl guide movement for 20 years. She started as a brownie at Bergvliet Girl Guides when she was 7, became a guide at 10, and a ranger at 14. Later she became an adult leader. She has also been the regional adviser for the teddies, a group for 4- to 7-year-olds.

Now working as a full-time paramedic at Constantiaberg ER24, Ms Stuart still commits herself to volunteering weekly at Bergvliet Girl Guides.

Her lifetime goal is to visit all five girl guide world centres.

Her first stop is at the Sangam World Centre, in Pune, four hours from the Indian capital, Mumbai. Ms Stuart will live and volunteer at the centre from September to December.

Her role will be to maintain the upkeep of the world centre, assist at the front desk and shop, show tourists around, clean the rooms and kitchen, help with the centre’s social media and take part in the centre’s activities with the community.

“Wherever they need me, I’ll be there.” she said.

She is so committed to girl guides that she got a tattoo of their logo two years ago on her right wrist.

“I decided to get it here for when I pledge. When I lift my hand and salute it will be visible.”

Ms Stuart says giving back is something that is in her blood as her mother used to volunteer for Rotaract and her father for Round Table.

Having seen how involved her daughter is in girl guides over the years, Ms Stuart’s mother, Cheryl, has also become one of the leaders of Cape West Girl Guides.

As part of their Mandela Day activities, Ms Stuart with the Bergvliet Girl Guides handed out “Hugs in a Mug” to the girls at St George’s Home for Girls in Wynberg on Saturday July 27. The coffee mugs contained stationery, toiletries and sweets.

Ms Stuart already has her ticket booked for Pune, but she is fund-raising with the
Bergvliet Girl Guides to raise pocket money. So far, they have had a successful raffle and bingo evening.

On Women’s Day August 9, Ms Stuart is hosting an Indian-inspired festival for over 18s at the Monte Vista Guide Hall.

She says she plans to have DJs, a henna station, girl guides selling brownies and an auction. Entry is R100 and people can contact Ms Stuart at 081 594 8717 for more information or to donate.