St Mary’s primary Dunstable “Gives it up” to help others

CAFOD schools’ volunteer, Kate, visited St. Mary’s Primary School in Caddington, Dunstable to thank the school for their support of the CAFOD Lent appeal.

CAFOD School volunteer Kate delivers the Lenten Assembly at St Mary’s Primary Dunstable

Despite being a relatively small school, with around 200 pupils, St. Mary’s raised an awesome total of more than £200 by running a non-uniform day to fundraise for CAFOD’s work in Zimbabwe.

This means that CAFOD will get over £400 as the government will double all donations until the 12 May 2018.

Kate introduced the staff, parents and students to Svondo from Zimbabwe, whose elder brother previously suffered from malnutrition, but whose family now has a thriving community garden to supply fresh food and surplus crops to sell.  Watch the video of Svondo:

Kate pointed out that the money St. Mary’s raised was enough to buy seeds to start 20 similar community gardens in other Zimbabwean villages.

 Headteacher, Stephen Chiswell, spoke proudly of the children’s efforts and how they engaged with the Lent campaign. 

Thank you, St. Mary’s, for ‘Giving it Up’ for CAFOD this Lent.  We look forward to coming into your school again in the summer term.

>>  Have your donations doubled until 12 May by clicking here



St Bernadette’s School holds Mission of Justice workshops

From 13-15 March St Bernadette primary school in Milton Keynes held Mission of Justice days. To contribute to this, they invited CAFOD in to hold a couple of workshops.

Clive and Cathy – CAFOD Education Volunteers

Fair Trade Workshop

CAFOD schools’ volunteer Clive Gallagher ran a Fair Trade workshop alongside the Fair Trade cafe.  He explained to parents and pupils what Fair Trade was about and how choosing to support it was supporting responsible companies, empowering farmers and protecting the environment. He gave the example of how buying non- Fair Trade bananas gave the average banana farmer under 1p per banana which kept them in poverty whereas buying Fairtrade bananas gave farmers more than double this amount thus enabling them to make a living, provide for their families and live above the poverty line.

It was great to hear that after this workshop, pupils were moved so much as to ask their parents to buy Fair Trade goods, like bananas, in future to help support and empower farmers.

>> Sign the petition to ask Sainsbury’s not to ditch Fair Trade products

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St Bernadette Primary signs up for LiveSimply award

Pope Francis, in his encyclical letter Laudato Si’ invites us all to work with generosity and tenderness in protecting the world which God has entrusted to us.

St Bernadette’s Primary School in Milton Keynes is responding to that invitation and has launched its LiveSimply action plan to work towards achieving the LiveSimply award.

The launch started with a LiveSimply assembly given by CAFOD’s education volunteer Cathy Stormonth.  Cathy explained that God calls us to look hard at our lifestyles and to choose to live more simply, sustainably and to think about how we can reach out to those living in poverty.  In this way we can help create a world in which human dignity is respected and everyone can reach their full potential.  This would be true progress and worth more than economic growth alone.

Cathy Stormonth – CAFOD education volunteer introduces LiveSimply

Cathy explained that ‘Individual actions may seem insignificant but together the small steps of many people can have an astonishing impact.’ She explained that a simple way to live sustainably was to save water by turning off the taps when brushing teeth. When asked how many did do this only about half of the pupils put their hands up.  They were told that about 5 litres of water was wasted when the tap wasn’t turned off and if 250 extra children saved 5 litres of water each time that was about 2500 litres saved each day – a lot of water!  If each student could enlist their families into this water saving method – all of a sudden there would be massive water savings in the community.

Headteacher, Mrs Jane Zamora, thought this was a good idea and asked the children to think of more ways to save water both at school and at home. The school already promotes turning off lights and saving electricity use which is great!

Living more simply? Cathy explained how being obsessed with money, designer goods, fame and the latest gadget did not bring lasting joy.  Instead she challenged the children to live more simply, appreciating simple gifts of life like a meal with family and friends, a hug, fun and laughter, good health, time to pray and reflect or simply a beautiful sunset.

St Bernadette’s School is now working towards achieving the LiveSimply Award.  So far, there are no schools or parishes in the Northampton diocese who have achieved this award.

Space for reflection and prayer

The school is focusing on the following :

  • Living simply – Developing an outdoor space for prayer and contemplation. The school has already built a stunningly beautiful prayer garden of Our Lady of Lourdes appearing to St Bernadette. This is used for prayer, quiet times and reflection.
  • Living sustainably – The school already has an allotment and is growing vegetables to use for school lunches when the vegetables are ready to harvest. The school is also saving energy and reducing the school electricity bill.
  • Being in solidarity with those living in poverty – The school charity is devoted to helping vulnerable locals. For example working with SVP on making a House a Home project for young homeless families.

Thank you very much St Bernadette for having CAFOD in to give an assembly and thanks to Cathy for raising awareness of the plight of many in our world.  The school has also invited CAFOD in the following week to give workshops on Justice issues.  It is great to hear that the school will take up the LiveSimply challenge and we look forward to hearing how they get on.