Students are expecting to draw on their school values of compassion and service when they work with orphans and the elderly in HIV ravaged communities in Africa.

The group of sixth formers from Emmanuel College, will spend a fortnight working in Miloso, in Zambia, during the summer break.

The students – Ishmal Ahmed and Rebecca Hopkins, both 16, 17-year-olds Amy Bright and Callum Bellshaw, and Joanne Ingham and Beth Wood, who are 18 – will join students from their sister schools in the Emmanuel Schools Foundation on the trip.

The work will involve home based care for the elderly, teaching orphans at Donata special school, the only facility in the whole of the region which looks after 50 children with a variety of disabilities, and building projects.

The students will also experience life in the bush on an expedition to Mount Mumpu, the highest freestanding peak in the country, sleeping out under the stars with only mosquito nets for cover.

They had to apply for a place on the trip, explaining what they would bring to the communities they visit and what they would gain personally from the experience.

Callum, of Whickham, explained: “We had to explain what we’d done to benefit college and the community and summarise what we thought we’d get out of the trip and how we might help people in Zambia.”

Joanne, also of Whickham, added: “I’ll be going to university next year so I felt this was a great opportunity to do something really challenging and experience a different culture. I think seeing things we’ve never seen before and the chance to serve people will be character building and will help us to develop ourselves.”

The group has already raised the £3,300 it needs to fund the expedition with a sponsored bike ride, supermarket bag packing, a party and business sponsorship.

They have also had inoculations in preparation for the trip in July.

Rebecca, of Low Fell, said: “I think it will put a lot of things into perspective. None of us has seen poverty close up. We think if we have a lot of homework it’s the end of the world, so I think we will learn a lot about appreciating what we have.”

Amy, from Heworth, added: “I’m a bit nervous about experiencing such a different culture but excited at the same time.”

History teacher Steve Gill, who will accompany the group with his wife Rachel, said: “On previous trips like this to Africa we’ve found that just our being there means an incredible amount to the local people, as well as the practical work we can do to help.”