Students at St John Rigby “make a splash” and “turn on the taps”

St John Rigby (Bedford) warmly welcomed CAFOD to give an assembly and workshops.

CAFDO Assembly at St John Rigby - Make a splash

CAFDO Assembly at St John Rigby – Make a splash

At the assembly, Alban Macdonald (education volunteer) spoke about Nadopun who lives in Uganda and Charlie who lived in England.  Charlie’s family had to boil their water last year because there was bacteria in their water supply which would have made them sick if they drank it from the tap.   The problem only lasted a few weeks but for some children around the world, not having fresh water is a constant problem.

Nadopun is 9 and lives in Uganda. She likes going to school with her friends and watching films. Alban explained that Uganda is a beautiful country, however 9.2M people there do not have access to safe water. That’s one in every four people in the country! The shortage of water is down to the lack of access to water in remote areas and the changing, unpredictable and increasingly dry climate.

Watch our special film about Nadopun’s older sister Proscovia.

Alban explained to the children that the burden of collecting water often falls on girls and this in turn means that many drop out of school so that their families have the water that they need to drink, cook and wash.

Students simulate how it is like carry water for some distance.

Students simulate how it is like carry water for some distance.

Head teacher encourages students to continue carrying the bucket

Head teacher encourages students to continue carrying the bucket







Two students carried weighted buckets to simulate what children like Nadopun have to carry.  They carried it for about 5mins and reported that their arms were aching and they were tired.  A lot of women and girls have to carry very heavy amounts of water for hours a day if there is no borehole in their village. Nadopun’s mother says they have to collect water from the river and this is ‘awful’.  Her brother got sick from drinking it.  CAFOD helped them fix their local borehole and now they have clean water near their village.

Alban ended the assembly by reminding the children that the Pope has said that this year is a special Year of Mercy and one of the things we can do to show we love and care for others is to give drink to those who are thirsty.  So when we are helping communities to have access to clean water this Lent through our ‘Make a Splash’ appeal, we are being merciful, just as God is merciful to us.

reception children listen intently

Reception children listen intently

CAFOD was invited into reception as well and the children listened intently.

In the afternoon Alban and Debbie (CAFOD co-ordinator – Northampton) worked with Year 3 and played our ‘Life without taps’ game.  The children were asked to imagine what it would be like to have to carry water long distances.

"Life without taps" workshop

“Life without taps” workshop



Each group had to work together to ‘collect’ water from a ‘river’ two kilometres away. The children had to make sure they collected enough to meet their family’s needs, for things such as drinking water and also water for their crops.  Particular groups were given ‘chance cards’ which meant they then had to deal with changes to their situation that could affect their ability to collect enough water. The first family to collect the minimum daily amount of water was the winner!

The aim of the game was to show how hard it is to obtain enough water for daily life in areas where there are no taps nearby, and the water supply is unreliable and quite possibly polluted. At the end of the game, each family had to fill in a sheet to show how many of their needs they have been able to fulfil through the collection of water.

Getting lots of buckets done to win the game

Getting lots of buckets done to win the game

Yr 3 getting involved with "Life without taps" game

Yr 3 getting involved with “Life without taps” game







The students found it very stressful to have get so many buckets done in a particular time and felt it very unfair when they had to throw all the ones they had made because of “climate change” or “illness in the family”.  They came away with a better appreciation of what families have to go through when they have no safe water.

Thank you so much to everyone at St John Rigby’s school for their great enthusiasm, welcome and support.  A special thanks goes to Mary – Chaplain (who was with us throughout the day and was great in getting involved with the workshop and helping out) and Mr Adam Palmer – Head teacher (who not only welcomed CAFOD with open arms but gave up so much of his time to be with us and was excellent in participating in handing out the chance cards! ).  We thoroughly enjoyed the day!

Find out more about our work on water in our primary school resources.

Read more about our special Lenten appeal.  This Lent every pound raised will be doubled by the UK Government so it will have double the impact!

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