THIRTEEN young people from Blaenau Gwent visited Kenya for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award on a 15-day expedition.

The group, aged between 16 and 20-years-old, spent 18 months planning the trip and organising fundraising activities to fund the adventure.

Once in the Kenyan province of Sagana, the group dug foundations, plastered walls, fitted windows and painted classrooms to provide local children with a new school.

The group also tackled a sixday ascent of Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa.

Tasmin O’Connell, 17, from Ebbw Vale, said: “I never imagined how tough it was going to be. But at the same time it was the best experience.

Seeing how other people live really opened our eyes to how lucky we are, and we will never forget the incredible time we had.”

The trip was organised by Blaenau Gwent youth service, and was supported by Ebbw Vale Comprehensive to fund the school building project.

Youngsters in Blaenau Gwent aged between 14 and 24 interested in the Duke of Edinburgh Award can call Catherine Parker on 01495 355674 or e-mail