A STUDENT from Chalfont St Peter will be among the first-ever group heading to a South African township as part of a charity drive to reduce child poverty.

Becky Gumm will be spending ten weeks in the poverty-stricken Joza Township in Grahamstown as part of the Upstart Youth Development project.

The 21-year-old was awarded a place on the trip after impressing during an interview with the charity leading the operation, Lattitude.

She said: "We're the first group to go out to South Africa and to this township, so I'm hoping to achieve quite a lot from it. They'll be wanting to know so much about the UK culture and I want to learn from them and see how they live their lives.

"The programme hopes to battle rising problems with Helminth worm infections that have become widespread among children due to the poor living conditions.

"These infections have led children to have poor appetites, leading to malnutrition, anameia and other poor states of health that affect their lives and educational prospects. The project hopes to tackle these important issues by planning and facilitating health awareness events, developing educational material and using media to spread awareness.

"High levels of poverty, unemployment, lack of food, clean water and basic infrastructure are still very common."

Miss Gumm, who is studying Management and Marketing at Manchester University, then hopes to use what she learns in South Africa to do more charity work closer to home.

She said: "I will look at current problems affecting my own community in Buckinghamshire to raise awareness and make a positive change."

The former Chalfonts Community College and Robertswood Primary School student is also aiming to raise £1,500 for the charities that are organising the trip. To donate go to www.justgiving.com/beckygummICS.