YOUNG volunteers are gearing up to work with schoolchildren in an African country with the highest HIV rate in the world.

On February 18 the group will head to Swaziland and work at Health Club of The Good Shepherd High School in Siteki where they will hold workshops looking at relationships, sexual health, HIV and AIDS.

The trip has been organised by the Darlington-based initiative RAID - TV (Raising Awareness in Darlington and Tees Valley) which highlights sexual health issues and the global perspective of HIV and AIDS.

Volunteer youth worker Sue Davidson said they were looking forward to the experience: “They are really excited, they have been working up to this for two years because that’s how long it takes to get the money together.

“We have partnered with the Good Shepherd School for the first time and the group is really looking forward to meeting the young people there and working with them.”

The trip has been funded by the group organising fundraising activities plus a grant towards airfare from the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Committee.

The six youngsters, who will be in Swaziland for two and a half weeks, are planning to write about their daily experiences via a blog at