A CHARITY is trying to raise £2,000 to finish building a village school in Malawi.

Build a School was established a year ago to pay for new school buildings in deprived areas of the world.

It has already built five classrooms for a school in Mbelekete, Malawi, and its chairman is hoping to finish the project in December, constructing three staff rooms and a borehole.

Nayesh Radia, of Alicia Gardens, Kenton, was born in Malawi and is chairman of the charity. he said: "I'm amazed at how quickly it has taken off. This will be the first school in Mbelekete, and we are trying to change the perception of Africa, so it is not seen as a hand and begging bowl outstretched."

Mr Radia joined the charity earlier this year, after searching for volunteer projects to help out on.

He said: "I have been wanting to do something like this for quite a while. When I came across Build a School, its aims appealed to me greatly, as a Malawian.

"Now I am chairman of the organisation, because I just wanted to give something back."

People can pay for bricks and mortar for the school through the charity's website, www.buildaschool.co.uk, and watch building progress online.

The charity is supported by a number of famous faces, including Arsenal footballer Theo Walcott and satirical journalist Ian Hislop.

It has recently launched Quit2Build, a new initiative fronted by television builder Tommy Walsh, encouraging people to give up smoking and donate the any money saved to building new schools in the Third World.

Mr Radia said: "The price of two packs of cigarettes is enough to feed a family for a month, or to buy 50 bricks.

"We are trying to give the campaign against smoking a fresh angle, and hopefully we can start building a second school in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, very soon."