A FANTASTIC five Port Glasgow pupils will give up some of their summer holiday to help build a new school in a poverty-stricken part of Africa.

St Stephen's High students Kieran Henderson, Amy Gillan, Katie Matthews, Caitlin Cunningham and Molly McGerr are preparing for an aid mission to Malawi in June next year to help transform the lives of young people there.

When most teens their age are heading off on holiday with their family or friends, the pupils will travel to the city of Blantyre - named after the South Lanarkshire town - for a fortnight of hard graft.

The trip is being organised by Glasgow-based charity Classrooms For Malawi (CFM) and the young people will be joined by teachers Mark Parsons and Clare McKinney.

Collectively, they need £5,000 to help towards materials and other costs over there and they will each have to raise around £2,500 each just to get to their destination.

A race night at Holy Family Church hall a fortnight ago generated a whopping £2,200 and the pupils will be bag-packing in Greenock Tesco this Saturday. (DEC 8)

But Mr Parsons, who is principal teacher of guidance, says you cannot put a price on the experience the young people will gain, as well as the good they will do.

He said: "I've been a couple of times before through my last school and it's brilliant for the pupils and increases their confidence and builds leadership skills, among other things."

Head boy Kieran, 17, raised over £1,500 for the group by running the Great Scottish Run 10k in Glasgow in October.

He said: "It's a once in a lifetime experience.

"It will give us a different outlook on other people's lives and make us appreciate what we've got."

Staff have also been overwhelmed with the support from mums, dads and the wider school community.

Ms McKinney said: "The parents have been fantastic.

"We've had two anonymous donations of £500, which is incredible.

"The race night also went very well and next up is the bag-packing on Saturday."

It will take 32 hours and three flights to get to Malawi but pupil Katie, 16, is not put off.

She said: "It's definitely not a holiday but I've always wanted to go somewhere completely different and I've always wanted to go to Malawi and help."

For classmates Amy and Caitlin, the trip will help with their future careers.

Amy, 17, said: "I want to be a nursery teacher so it will be great experience for me working with children.

"It's also a really good opportunity to do something different in your last year of school."

Caitlin, 16, added: "I want to become a primary teacher so it will be great to have that experience too."

Fellow pupil Molly, 15, is the youngest of the group.

She said: "I'm excited because a friend of mines did it last year and is going back again next year and said it's the best thing he's done."