STOCKTON teenagers have been educated about life for youngsters in a southern African country before some of them visit Lesotho for themselves later this year.

Durham Diocese school, Ian Ramsey, has built up a close relationship with the Boqate ACL School and a children's home called God's Love.

Bringing with them traditional dress to illustrate the country’s culture, the principal of Boqate High School, Anastasia Lithebe, and vice-principal,Lucy Mahasele are visiting the secondary school in Hartburn and its feeder primaries to share their experiences and ideas on teaching methods.

Ian Ramsey also supports the work of the diocese which helps children, sometimes as young as 12, look after their younger siblings instead of them being put in an orphanage after losing their parents to the Aids epidemic. To help them shoulder the new found responsibility, the diocese offers respite activities such as team building.

Teachers Caroline Twomey, Fiona Crisp and Jenny Parker were motivating a group of 14 to 16-year-olds from Stockton to raise £1,400 each to pay their own way to Lesotho this October to see for themselves the work that has been done there. Mr Armstrong who himself has visited the country said youngsters were often changed by the experience.

Alistair Armstrong, assistant headteacher at Ian Ramsey, said: “When we cover topics in assemblies we often come back to Lesotho and talk about difficult issues faced by people there like life expectancy.”