students at a school in Colwyn Bay have returned from a fact-finding
visit to Pakistan, aimed at promoting better understanding about the
The five say they learnt about Pakistan's
politics and culture
During the 10-day trip, the students from the town's Eirias High
School met Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.
They won a competition, organised by a Pakistani businessman
tired of stereotypical images of his homeland.
Back in Wales the teenagers say they want to help educate and rid
people of their negative ideas about Pakistan.
Vicente Solera Deuchar, 14, said he had heard negative stories
and images about Pakistan before going there.
"A lot of people I've spoken to thought Pakistan was a terrorist
state or a really horrible country," he said.
"I thought it was a wonderful country. All the people were kind
and welcoming and I instantly knew it was nothing like the negative
press that it sometimes has in Britain."
Geography teacher Sarah Hind, who accompanied the students, said
the competition was organised by a computer company.
"The managing director is Pakistani and was getting fed of the
negative image which his home country had so he launched a
competition called Experience Pakistan," she said.
The pupils met politicians, including President
The pupils had to hold a presentation on Pakistan and were one of
six from 100 entrants chosen to visit the country.
Ms Hind said the Year 10s' knowledge of the country previously
"They knew absolutely nothing about Pakistan and to be honest I
knew very little so we've all learnt something from it.
"The aim is for the pupils to come back and feedback to pupils in
this school and their friends so that they get rid of some of their
"It [Colwyn Bay] is not a very ethnically diverse area so as a
consequence there are some negative images of countries," she added.
Another student Jessica Cripps, 15, admitted she had known very
little about Pakistan.
"I'd heard of the country, of course, and stuff like cricket but
nothing about the politics or the culture there," she said.
Children as young as four are tested for their
The students and their teacher visited Islamabad, which they
described as a modern, purpose-built city, Peshawar and Lahore.
There they also met a group of children from poor backgrounds who
are tested at the age of four for their intelligence.
They visited the Khyber Pass and met Pakistan's president, prime
minister and other politicians.
Martika Mann, 14, said they were also able to educate the
Pakistani children about Wales.
"Everyone seemed to like the fact that we were Welsh but I don't
think they really knew where Wales was," she said.
They will now put together a presentation about last month's trip
and plan to stay in touch with their new friends via the internet.