ACCRINGTON sixth formers have been offering a helping hand to orphans in India.

The group of seven visited the Deep Griha’s orphanage in Pune, India, for four days as part of Accrington Academy’s volunteering and extra-curricular activities programme.

And following the success of the trip, bosses at Accrington Academy Sixth Form Centre hope to build permanent links with The Deep Griha Society, which runs a wide range of education, health, and self-help projects in Pune to enable annual trips to take place.

The students, who are all in the sixth form, helped paint and clean the bedrooms of the orphanage while the children were at school, and after school they taught them English and played games with them.

As well as help in the orphanage they visited two slums in Pune and outreach centres for women and HIV/Aids sufferers.

Teachers visited the region at Christmas time to ensure it was safe for students.

Following the success of the visit the A-level students carried out a series of fundraisers including bag packing at Asda and a summer fair to raise funds for the trip.

Rebecca Szabo, 17, said: “The whole trip was amazing, my favourite bit was definitely visiting the orphanage in Pune.

“We made great friends with the children there, they were all so excited to meet us and spend time with us.

“It was very moving to see how happy they are despite having so little. I definitely want to do some more volunteering in the future”

Elliott Neil, 17, said: “We all learnt so much from the trip. We had to raise a lot of money ourselves before we went and this taught us all about fundraising and organising events.

“When we were out there, we really learnt how to work as a team as we were all together all the time. The whole trip was an amazing experience.”

Callum Thomas, 17, said: “The trip was a really great opportunity and I was really lucky to be able to go.

“It felt really good being able to go and help those less fortunate than myself.

“I never realised how many luxuries and privileges I had until we visited the slums in Pune.”