AN adventurous teenager is preparing for the experience of a lifetime working in orphanages and prisons - in Kazakhstan.

Eighteen-year-old Mary Pole, of Fruitlands in Malvern, is participating in the four-month challenge as part of the Transform programme, run by Christian relief and development charity Tearfund.

Mary, a former pupil at Worcester's King's School, jets out to Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 10 and will be staying in Almaty - the former capital city, along with six other people from England.

She will spend her time there working alongside Tearfund's partner charity Teen Challenge to help drug addicts, teach English and visit orphans and prisons.

Mary, who is on a gap year before starting a History and Sociology degree at Manchester University in September, has been busy saving up £3,000 for the trip by juggling jobs at the town's Waitrose and the bar at Malvern Theatres.

And in preparation for the visit, she also undertook an intensive three-day training course in London, which covered everything from how to avoid becoming ill while overseas to learning how to work as a team.

"I've always wanted to help alleviate poverty in some of the world's poorest areas and in Kazakhstan I'll also have the opportunity to see first-hand the effect of the Soviet empire and experience a culture so different to ours yet with many similar problems," she said.