GIRLGUIDING'S biggest challenge is proving to be something of a life-changing experience for student Rachel Butterfield.
As part of the Queen's Guide award, the 21-year-old decided to raise money for a new school in Uganda.
But it has turned out to be far more than that.
Not only has she beaten her one-year £6,000 target - paying for two new classrooms and offices - she has launched a new fundraising badge, which, she hopes, the movement will roll out nationally.
Called the Love in Action Challenge, it encourages youngsters to get involved in a range of activities that includes African culture, cooking, craft, education, the Fair Trade scheme and, of course, fundraising.
Every penny made will go to the Christ's Embassy Primary in Kasaka, built on the shore of Lake Victoria by lan and Beryl Went, who moved to Uganda from Colchester, and founded the Love in Action charity.
Initially, she started out with fairly small-scale moneymaking plans, but these soon escalated to village sales, sponsor-a-brick scheme and a Burns' evening among her events. Now, through the new blanket badge, she aims to raise between £10,000 and £12,000.
"I am in my seventeenth year of schooling, and this is for kids who have never had an education," said Rachel, a business management student at Writtle College, Chelmsford.
"Everything has magically fallen into place and has happened," she added. "It was a dream of mine that I never thought would become a reality."
So far, the badge's has been approved by Anglia Guiding, whose region covers counties as far away as Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
"It is amazing how this has happened. I don't know where the last year has gone," said Rachel, of Ransom Road, Tiptree.
"It has all happened so quickly. It is changing my life. I had planned to become a chartered accountant, and now I am not so sure."
Following graduation this summer, she will be flying to Uganda for five weeks to check out what her Queen's Guide award challenge has bought.
Shortly afterwards, as a reward for her fundraising, she will be off to a Buckingham Palace garden party.
"I don't see how I can return home from Uganda, and carry on with my normal life," she said. "This has changed my perception of everything.
"If I have learned anything over the past year it is that a dream does not have to remain a dream.
"I would really like the badge to go nationwide because of the money we could raise. To take it nationwide would be absolutely wonderful, but we will have to wait and see.
"The challenge is not just about raising money, but to teach children in this country how privileged they are."
Mr Went, a former lay pastor at Rachel's church, Kingsland, in London Road, Lexden, paid tribute to her fundraising work.
"We are so appreciative of what she has done," he said. "It is absolutely amazing to have been able to do that in just a short time. We are just speechless."
*Guiding groups wanting more details on the Love In Action Challenge should email Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org For information on Guiding in north-east Essex, log on to www.girlguidingessexne.org.uk.