A WIDNES teacher swapped her classroom for a schoolroom in Ghana.

Heather Smith, aged 28, who teaches English at Wade Deacon School, was visiting the West African country with her mum, Gillian, who sponsors a 12-year-old schoolgirl called Veronica, through children’s charity Plan UK.

It was Heather’s first trip to Ghana though her mum has visited Veronica and her family three times.

Heather said: “Nothing can prepare you for when you step off the plane, it was eye-opening. But it was great, we were made so very welcome.

“We arrived at Veronica’s school, met her teachers and saw her school report. Then we walked over to the family home and met the rest of the family.

“It was really nice to see them in their home environment. We were made so very welcome.”

Heather spent a week teaching at a school run by her mum’s friend in Oyarifa, Greater Accra.

She added: “The children were so friendly and welcoming, they really wanted to learn, to get involved and to try, even if they get it wrong.

“I did a lot of creative writing with them. I gave them a description of the school where I work and they told me about theirs.

“The classrooms walls were quite bare so we worked on some displays and also painted a classroom.”

Sponsorship helps families and communities, rather than individual children.

A £15 monthly donation provides clean water, healthcare and education in communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Sponsors receive regular updates and photographs from their sponsored child and can keep in touch by writing letters back.

Plan UK has 95,000 sponsors in the UK, generating £24 million a year, and supporting one million children worldwide.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a child can call Plan on 0300 777 9777 or visit plan-uk.org quoting reference MGMVT2.