Pupils from Our Lady of Peace Catholic Junior School and St Bernard’s Catholic Preparatory School inspired and challenged us with their talks about water and the need for us all to have access to clean water.
In the first competition of its kind in the Diocese, CAFOD had challenged the schools in Slough to find pupils in Year 5 who were prepared to speak up for CAFOD on the topic of water – the theme for our Lenten appeal.
Pupils from Our Lady’s and St Bernard’s were the first to respond and invited Sharon Westby to come and speak to the pupils about the importance of clean water for health and happiness. She told the pupils about the lives of those who had no access to clean water or sanitation and they all agreed to take part in the competition. The first rounds took place in school as pupils researched all they could about the need for water and why some people had no clean water to drink.
Following the school competitions, three pupils from each school came forward ready to speak on the topic for two minutes.
All spoke with enthusiasm and commitment. They shared some of the facts they had discovered:
- that 884 Million people had no clean water to drink
- that a child dies every 20 seconds from deceases caused by poor water or sanitation
- that while, on average, we flush 50 litres of water each day down the toilet, many people have less than 10 litres to meet all their needs.
As they spoke we were inspired both by the clarity and conviction of their argument and of the need to take action ourselves. They had challenged us to respond and to speak up for those in need.
The judges, Fr Kevin O’Driscoll from The Holy Family, Fr Richard Moroney from St Anthony’s and Maria Boland a governor at St Bernard’s Grammar School, declared Cameron Underwood the winner. His name will be the first on the new CAFOD Schools Public Speaking Competition Shield. All the competitors were praised by the judges and encouraged to continue to speak out for justice.