A GROUP of Blairgowrie High School pupils have jetted off to Malawi to take part in an African adventure.
The 13 pupils travelling to the East African country will be teaching English, coaching sports and doing arts projects with the 100 pupils at Geisha Primary School.
Part of the school’s Global Issues Project, the aim of the 16-day expedition is to encourage the youngsters to become more active citizens and become more aware of the world.
Several sponsored initiatives – including a sponsored walk, 24-hour pool competition, bingo tea and coffee morning – have part-funded the trip. The bulk of the money raised – more than £9,000 – will help build a second block of the Malawian school.
Lynsey Smith, one of the S6 pupils taking part, said: “I didn’t think we would raise so much because Blairgowrie and Rattray aren’t the biggest of places. But it shows people around here want to help other people,” she said.
Lynsey (17), of Alyth Road, Rattray, said that, despite it being a step into the unknown, she is looking forward to the experience.
“I decided to go on the trip because of the opportunity to experience a different culture and learn new things, and because I will get to work with children, which is what I eventually want to end up doing.
“Apart from my family and friends, I will miss being able to have a shower whenever I want, or to be able to watch TV – most of the day-to-day things that we probably take for granted.”
Ross Marshall, a Community Link Worker attached to the school, is one of two members of staff travelling to Malawi.
He described the Global Issues Projec, which will see the pupils travel to Zambia for a short time to experience a safari once the voluntary work has been carried out, as a “fantastic opportunity.”
He added: “It’s a great achievement for Blairgowrie High School and a fantastic opportunity for our pupils.
“They will get to visit Malawi and see first hand what the money we have raised is being used for, and what progress is being made regarding the education and welfare of the local Malawian children.
Scottish ties with Malawi date back to David Livingstone’s exploration around the region almost 150 years ago.
In 2005, the Co-operation Agreement was signed by former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell and Malawian Premier Dr Bingu wan Mutharika. It has resulted in the swapping of skills and economic measures between the two countries ever since.