A YOUTH choir from one of the most deprived countries in the world visited a Silchester school as part of a UK wide tour.

Swaziland, a country where more than a quarter of the population have HIV and the life expectancy is reputedly 31, is a struggling country where the population is rapidly dwindling.

Many of the members of the youth choir who visited Silchester C of E Primary School last Thurs-day are orphans and most have faced enormous turmoil in their lives.

But with help from Christian charity Challenge Ministries the performers have been given a chance of a better life.

The 27 singers of the Khulula Swaziland Children's Choir, aged between seven and 21, performed in the school hall, which was packed out with children, parents and members of the local church.

Silchester school sponsors one of the children at a Swaziland school, set up by Jon Skinner, a former teacher connected to Challenge Ministries. Acting deputy head Ronnie Green said they were delighted to be able to host the performance.

He said: “I’ve known Jon for many years and we were overjoyed when he suggested the choir visit us. It’s an amazing opportunity for us as a school.”

Andrew Le Roux, one of the directors of Challenge Ministries, said: “Many of them have never been outside Swaziland, never seen the sea or been on a plane or a ferry so it’s they are really excited to be here.”