Yr 6 at St Mary Magdalene Primary focus on Refugees

To end a very special RE week on Friday 19 May CAFOD’s Education volunteer Cathy Stormonth delivered two workshops at St Mary Magdalene School to two Year 6 classes.

Yr 6 hear about the plight of refugees

St Mary Magdalene School was blessed to have had the Lampedusa Cross (borrowed from the cathedral) in their school for RE Week. It has been the focus of some very special assemblies and work across the school.

CAFOD’s Education volunteer Cathy Stormonth explained to pupils about the refugee crisis. She did an exercise with them which involved matching statements about the refugee crisis to some shocking statistics.  Pupils saw a film featuring rescued Syrian refugee children in Greece who were waiting to be transported to Germany. They told about their dreams to have the chance of better and safe lives.

The Lampedusa Cross Pilgrimage helped pupils think about the refugees who were displaced from their homes and how their lives were shattered. Pupils showed solidarity with the refugees and were pleased to hear how CAFOD is helping to ‘welcome the outsider’ and look after them in Greece.

The session ended with a prayer and students wrote messages of hope for the refugees.

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The Lampedusa Cross

St Mary Magdalene should be very proud of their pupils who wrote some beautiful and heart warming messages. One of their teachers, Mrs Howell, has visited Syria herself and knows firsthand about the people and the country and said ‘I feel very emotional when I think about how desperate families are to leave their homeland to be safe and realise their hopes and dreams in Europe’.

Thanks to the students from Yr 6 and staff who were involved in the CAFOD session and a big thank you to Cathy for delivering a very thought-provoking workshop.


>> Find out more about volunteering in schools

Yr 4s at St Mary Magdalene Primary join in our Power to Be campaign

To end a very special RE week on Friday 19 May CAFOD’s Education volunteer Cathy Stormonth delivered workshops at St Mary Magdalene School to two Year 4 classes on Pope Francis’ message – Laudato Si’ about Caring for Our Common Home.

>> Find out more about volunteering in schools

Cathy explains CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign


This was linked to CAFOD’s latest campaign POWER TO BE with a focus on the importance of renewable energy.  Pupils heard how solar panels and solar cell equipment transformed communities and children’s lives in Kenya.  They learnt how campaigning can be really effective in causing change and how to send messages to the World Bank to start making that change happen.

Year 4 pupils enthusiastically listened to how climate change is having the greatest impact on the poorest people and how unfair this is. 1 in 6 people do not have access to electricity which means they are denied so many opportunities (like access to medication, education etc..).  They are not able to live “life to the full” which is what Jesus wanted for all.

We focused on the importance of ‘Living Simply, Thinking Wisely, Loving Generously’ and how the children could each do some small things in their own lives to show their love for the world, others and God.

>> See how to become a Live Simply school and parish

Pupils were amazed how a whole town in Kenya came alive because of having access to renewable energy. They agreed that every child should have the ‘POWER TO BE… whatever they want to be’.

Students adding their messages to the World Bank

Year 4 teacher Mrs Sualy was very pleased when children created their ‘POWER TO BE…’ sun with it’s many rays. The messages to the World Bank about the importance of renewable energy to fight poverty were very strong.  She said  ‘This workshop has helped the children have greater awareness of the huge impact climate change has and pupils can make small changes in their lives to consume less and think more about others who are pushed further into poverty’.

A wonderful display and loud message to the World Bank

Children were proud of their sun and the message rays. They were very keen for these messages to be conveyed to those in power at the World Bank to help make a difference.

Well done Year 4.  Great to see such passion!  Thank you to all the staff involved and to our wonderful Education Volunteer Cathy!

>> Send a petition to the World Bank

Education Volunteers get ready for the Summer term

Education Volunteers – Northampton Diocese

Our wonderful Education volunteers met for refresher training for the summer term.  The day started with an ice breaker of matching us statement with statistics and this was followed by an introduction to CAFOD’s latest campaign “Power to Be”.

Ice Breaker

>> Find out about volunteering in schools

Margaret’s Fish bag

Margaret, our volunteer school’s coordinator gave an update from the Lent term and showed off her fish bag which linked in with the theme for Lent. Great bag Margaret!

The group was shown the brilliant toolkit Speak Up for CAFOD which is aimed at helping children’s public speaking skills.  To try it out, the group was divided into pairs and were given tasks of listening and responding.  This caused great laughter but highlighted the fact that very little communication is down to words alone.  In fact, only 7% while 55% is non verbal (ie gestures, facial expressions) and 38% is voice quality!

Non-verbal communication

Using gestures to communicate


We also heard about CAFOD’s amazing scheme Step into the Gap which is a year programme with the opportunity to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit an international CAFOD partner.  Most of us felt that if we were between 18 – 30 years we would want to go on it.

The day ended by inviting all to write as part of the Power to Be campaign and we ended with a prayer.

>> Petition the World Bank

Messages and reflections at the end of the day

Thank you to our great Education volunteers who do so much to bring CAFOD’s vision and values into our schools.

If you are interested in becoming an Education volunteer or would like a volunteer to do an assembly or workshop in your school, please get in touch.