A student from Chester will travel to Malawi to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Eleana Rogerson, 20, of Poulton was chosen to work as a volunteer in the African country with the Progressio charity for 10 weeks over the summer.

For years a wall of silence surrounded the unfolding health crisis with authorities in the poverty-struck country finally acknowledging the catastrophe around 10 years ago.

The volunteer scheme is part of the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, run and funded by the UK Government and charities.

ICS is designed for 18-24-year-olds and allows them to work with UK-based and local volunteers to make a sustainable contribution to fighting poverty.

While the Government funds 90% of the trip to cover accommodation, flights and vaccinations, Eleana must raise £800 herself.

The first year geography student at the University of Bristol said: “In Malawi I will be working with local volunteers and other young people from the UK on projects focused on raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

“We will also be helping to promote sustainable livelihoods and improve living conditions.”

An estimated one in 10 lives in Malawi are blighted by HIV/AIDS with more than half the population living below the poverty line.

Eleana, who hopes to work in the environmental sector or with charities focusing on international development when she completes her studies, said: “I have always been interested in volunteering overseas. The opportunity to go to Malawi was perfect for me because the project focuses on ensuring future sustainability.

“As a student studying geography I will hopefully bring some knowledge to the project.

“We are working with Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi and the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust on projects concerning deforestation and the education of young people about the importance of the natural environment.”