YOUNGSTERS from a Doncaster school have embarked on a mission to Africa to work with children in an area which lost virtually a whole generation to AIDS.
Six students from Trinity Academy, Thorne, are among a party of sixth-formers who have left for a two week expedition to South Africa.
They will work with the charity Hands at Work to help hundreds of children in White River, who lost their parents to the incurable disease.
Jake Browne, Simon Sykes, Beth Martin, Megan Andrews, Owen Taylor and Briony Aitchison were selected from 24 applicants to go on the life-changing visit.
White River is populated with orphaned children with older teenagers looking after their younger siblings.
The teenagers, who had to raise £3,000 for the trip, will work with young people in the community, helping them build, garden and play. They will also help feed them and lend their support to a health care programme.
The group from Trinity have taken balls, face paint, balloons, bubble blowers and a play parachute to share with the African children.
Beth said: “We are expecting this to be an emotional trip, which will be a reality check, showing us just how privileged we are.
“It will be life-changing for us and we will think of things differently in the future.”
Vice principal Andrew Cowling, who used to work in Africa, said: “Parts of White River are quite developed but you don’t have to go far into the suburbs to encounter real poverty, which sometimes shocks our students and makes them think about how to deal with real problems.”