Pupils in the Scottish Borders are being encouraged to donate their old backpacks to children living more than 7,000 miles away.

Most children celebrate the new term with a new school bag.

And pupils are now being asked to donate their old ones to underprivileged children in Malawi, Africa.

Local youngsters can take part in The Backpack Project, run by Mary’s Meals, by filling their old bags with notepads, pencils and clothes.

The charity sends them to impoverished schoolchildren in Malawi – with more than 40,000 bags being gifted every year.

Mary’s Meals feeds more than 1.5 million children in 18 of the world’s poorest countries every school day.

And more than half a million school bags have been donated to Malawian children since the project was launched in 2005.

As one of the poorest countries in the world, it faces huge challenges in education, healthcare and malnutrition.

Food, also provided by Mary’s Meals, attracts hungry children to the classroom, filling their empty stomachs and giving them energy to learn.

Mary’s Meals executive director, Daniel Adams said: “I hope pupils in the Scottish Borders celebrate the new term by joining The Backpack Project.

“A bag filled with school essentials is a wonderful gift because it ensures these children can get the most out of their education, giving them a ladder out of poverty and the chance of a better future.”

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