TWO Peebles High pupils are getting set to leave their comfort zones and spend a year volunteering in India and Thailand.

Mairi Clark and Joanna Lee, who are both in S6, will fly east to provide education and social care to those who need it most.

And both have been working hard to rack-up the £6,200 needed to cover the cost of their accommodation, food and travel.

The idea for the gap year came about after the pair spent a week on the Isle of Coll, where they got involved with volunteer organisation Project Trust.

The scheme sends youngsters oversees for up to 12 months to lend a hand in a less developed country.

And Joanna, who will be heading to India, can't wait to get going.

She said: "I have lived in Peebles all my life, so I'm very excited to go to India and experience a whole new way of living.

"I do lots of sports like netball and table tennis. I also do arts like sewing, drawing and photography.

"These are skills I am looking forward to using when I am out there, whilst also learning new skills.

"Because I'm going to be there for a whole year, I will really get to know the kids and will see them grow both mentally and physically. The year will be a real challenge and will give me a sense of achievement – as well as being a great experience."

While Joanna will be lending a hand in India, friend Mairi is hoping to to work with youngsters in Thailand.

She said: "I love working with children, having been involved in local support groups for kids with mental health issues, helped out in children’s holiday clubs and done a fair amount of babysitting.

"I’m really looking forward to this amazing opportunity and I hope that I can make a genuine difference to the people I’ll be working with.

"I’m bit unsure about how easy it will be to learn to speak Thai, but I’m sure I’ll be able to pick up some of it. It’s a great opportunity and one which I feel very privileged and grateful about."

To help them raise more cash for the project, the pair have applied for a number of charitable grants and set up events in Peebles.

The next one is a family ceilidh on February 10 from 7.30 to 10.30pm in Peebles Burgh Hall.

There will be a live band, raffle and a bar.

Tickets, which are £8 for adults and £5 for schoolchildren are available from Whitie's Books & Crafts in High Street.