DOZENS of pupils at Dunbar Grammar School are gearing up for a summer holiday with a difference.

Preparations and fundraising are under way for a trip that would see 27 pupils and four members of staff at the secondary school swap East Lothian for Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland.

The pupils, currently in S4/5 will head to the country, in south-east Africa, in the summer of next year.

Darren Martin, guidance teacher at the school, said it was the third time the school had been involved with World Challenge – a UK provider of overseas adventure travel programmes targeted at schools, with trips to Morocco in 2017 and 2019.

Mr Martin said previous trips had been hugely successful.

He said: “Pupils have come back and found it a really life-changing experience.

“They are experiencing different cultures and something they never got the opportunity to do and go do before.

“They go way beyond the usual tourist experience and get involved and work with the local people.

“The whole idea of the expedition is that it is run by pupils. They take responsibility for the financial side, for example.”

The trip is split into three sections, with the final details still to be confirmed.

Mr Martin, who will be visiting Eswatini for the first time, said: “We are away for two weeks and there are three kind of sections to the expedition.

“The first section is community engagement and that is when pupils will be working with local people.

“We do not know at this stage what that is going to be – it is more than a year away – but what they did in the past, we have worked in local schools.

“We may be working with children in orphanages; they have got a high percentage of orphans in the country.

“We will be working with local people in the community.

“The second section is trekking – we will be trekking in the mountains.

“It is quite a small country but quite mountainous and we will spend five days trekking out there.

“The last section is a bit of R&R, down time, and a chance for them to explore the local area.”

Despite the trip being more than a year away, those involved have started the fundraising process.

Mr Martin, who has been at the school for five years, said the trip was organised in a way to make it as inclusive as possible and it was up to pupils to try to raise funds.

Various events are being organised by the students, with plans for a group event in September.

However, school trips planned for this summer have been cancelled due to the coronavirus. A number of students at Dunbar Grammar School were due to travel to Germany and California next month but the trips have been shelved.