YOUNG people in Bolton are connecting with their peers across the world in an education project which is helping children develop into global citizens.

Fifteen schools in the borough are partnering schools in Kitwe, Zambia, through the British Council Local Authority school partnerships initiative.

One of them is St Stephen and All Martyrs’ CE Primary School in Darcy Lever, which has developed a link with Butotelo School.

Now children at both schools are learning and supporting each other through.

Pupils at St Stephen and All Martyrs’ are raising money to buy desperately needed resources for the school in Africa, which has 1,000 pupils in the morning and 1,000 pupils in the afternoon, with many travelling on foot for miles to attend.

Here, youngsters are developing new skills and their awareness of the world and their place in it. A number of fundraising projects have taken place and books no longer used by children at the school are being sent to Zambia.

Dylan Hegarty aged 11, said: “We are really passionate about this project. Through this, we are helping change lives and learning different things. We have grown up a lot.”

Naomi Marandu, aged 10, added: “We are so lucky and privileged that we have a free education, with all the books and resources we have.”

Jack Pollard, aged 10, said: “I was shocked when I heard how hard it was for children in Zambia, but we are doing something positive to help them, and we are making a difference.”

Pupils in both countries are part of the Connecting Classrooms global education pro-gramme.

It is aimed at helping young people develop an understanding of other countries and cultures, their rights and responsibilities as global citizens, the skills needed to work in a global economy and how to build a fairer and more sustainable world.

Projects include the importance of recycling and the impact of waste in the Kitwe district, leading to local children looking at ways to be greener locally. The School Council at St Stephen and All Martyrs’ introduced the global theme of rights and responsibilities, which included learning about how children or their age or younger are exploited across the world.

Summer Stringfellow, aged 10, said: “When we start working we will want to still help people.”

Jack Wheeler, aged 11, added: “We can all make a difference and help people.”

Bethany Holden, aged 11, said: “We have packed loads of boxes with books to send to the children because it is difficult for them.

“They have to take their own water to school because there is no drinking water for them there.”

Chantelle Minus, aged 10, added: “If more people thought like we do and did what we do, the world would be amazing.”

The children have staged assemblies about their “twin” school and will be writing to their peers in Zambia soon and using technology to strengthen the links further.

Headteacher Mike Cummins said: “I am very impressed with how this project has inspired the children. They have made it their own.”

Mr Cummins said that as well as developing an understanding of other cultures and traditions, the programme was developing their skills, such as literacy, team work and decision making.