CAFOD helps schools deliver the RE Curriculum

CAFOD offers a huge amount of really helpful learning resources and St Thomas Aquinas School Bletchley have been using some of these in the ‘Come and See’ RE curriculum around the ‘Universal Church’ theme this term.  Cathy Stormonth – CAFOD Education volunteer was invited to deliver some workshops and writes:

We chose to deliver workshops to Years 6, 5 and 2 around some global themes

 Year 6  The Work of the Worldwide Christian Family for the ‘Common Good’
Pupils were asked ‘Is there a need for CAFOD?’ and given some shocking global statistics to help answer the question.

  • 767 million people live on less than £1.40p per day.
  • 63 million children will not attend school this year
  • 663 million people do not have access to safe drinking water
  • 2.3 billion people do not have access to a household toilet
  • 1.06 billion people have no access to electricity

It made pupils reflect on their own lives and count their blessings.  Student Madeleine said, ‘I will make sure I do my best at school because I am very lucky to be able to go so I shouldn’t waste the opportunity.’

Another Yr 6 student, Connie, noted, ‘I will do little things like saving water and electricity.  I can also donate money when I can.’

Year 6 pupils also noted that there are 7.6 billion people in the world and 1.27 billion of these are Catholics. This prompted pupils to deduce that with numbers on this scale it might be feasible for the Catholic church to help and support some of the poorest and most vulnerable people globally – and of course they are right.

Y6 showing off their work with Education volunteer Cathy Stormonth

This is the ‘Universal Church’.   Teacher Miss Brown was impressed with the quality of discussions and said,

‘The year 6 children really enjoyed the CAFOD session, learning the various statistics about poverty in our world really opened their eyes to the magnitude of the problem. They are thoughtful and caring children and their answers to different questions showed me how deeply they think about issues that not only affect themselves but also others. The session also showed them that they, as individuals, can do things that will cause a positive change in the world and taught them the importance of CAFOD’s role in doing this.’

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A very special pilgrimage – IX

The last day in El Salvador before the trip back to the UK the following day.  What a wonderful way to spend the day at a CAFOD project.  Debbie went with 11 other pilgrims to the community at Puentecitos, a small village near the border of Guatemala, who are improving community life by opening small businesses and using organic farming methods. This is the community th

at is featured in Connect 2 El Salvador scheme.

Debbie with Erasmus

They were met by Erasmus, one of the project leaders.  Sadly his father-in-law had just died in an accident and Debbie says, “despite that, he wanted to remain with us till his replacement came.  He said that our presence and support was a great help to him! I was so moved.”

 

We met Julia and her lovely family.  They were the featured family in CAFOD’s geography pack for primary school and it was wonderful to see how they had grown with a new addition to the family!

New addition to the family

Some of Julia and Fedel’s family

The group were told about all the projects that the community were involved in with CAFOD’s support working through the local partner Solidarity CVX.

>>  See here for more information about the Connect 2 project

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Tortilla made my Julia’s eldest daughter

The group were given a tour of Julia’s home and saw the chickens, pigs, sacks of corn from the previous harvest, hand-made baskets and shampoo.  Such a joy to see the community so empowered!  They were then made even more welcome with a wonderful lunch cooked by Julia’s eldest daughter on a stove using wood.  Debbie noted

“I was breathing in the smoke from the wood  even from where I was sitting and it struck me how the family have to breath in these unhealthy fumes everyday!  It made me realise  how important our Power to Be campaign was to get the World bank to invest in renewable and safe energy”

>>  Sign the petiton to the World Bank

Before the lovely lunch the community sang to their visitors

Then came the lunch which was so lovingly prepared for us.

“I was surrounded by the community and could hardly speak more than 5 Spanish words but we got on great.  Our driver was invited for lunch too and he had a Google translator on his mobile phone.  With that, we had a fun and interesting conversation.  Just goes  to show how technology can help!”

 

Partaking in the lunch provided by the Puentecitos community

 

After lunch, the community were so keen for us to see how their efforts literally bore fruit.

Showing the produce of the land

“We were taken to the neighbour’s land to show us their numerous fruit trees.

It was fantastic to see first hand what I have been sharing with volunteers and supporters in the UK.

I can see how empowered  and dignified people are.  They don’t want hand outs.  They are determine to improve their lives by putting in effort and time to get there.  It has certainly paid off!”

 

Little ones enjoying the air condition van

 

The little ones were thrilled to sit in the air conditioned van and watch a cartoon!

 

 

 

 

Community at prayer

The community pray together every Thursday and they always pray for CAFOD.  How wonderful we are thought about and prayed for too.

It was a shame that Edelmira (who was the featured person for Harvest 2017) couldn’t be with us as the local transport left before she could get to the stop but she sent her warm wishes to all of us.

Everyone came away full of hope and Joy.

Great to meet Julia in person

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

>> Find out more about El Salvador

 

More than academic performance at St Paul School – Milton Keynes

The new Year 12 Sixth Formers at Saint Paul’s School in Milton Keynes are exploring ideas for extending their personal development through curricular enrichment. This could mean many things,  for example volunteering for community service.

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Cathy talks to Year 12 students – St Paul School Milton Keynes

Cathy Stormonth, our CAFOD Education volunteer was very happy to talk to the Year 12 group and give them some useful ideas.  Some students are already working with the local primary Catholic schools helping with reading and supporting other areas of learning. The schools are also keen to see their  past students return to take part in CAFOD activities too. This could be leading an assembly, a pilgrimage, a class workshop or supporting the school’s CAFOD campaigning or fundraising activities.

The students were particularly interested in the ‘Power to be’ campaign and were concerned about the World Bank’s limited investment in sustainable energy (only 3% of its total budget). The Sixth Form Chaplain Sharon Robinson was enthusiastic about helping with more publicity and posters about the ‘Power to be’ campaign. She felt that students would be very keen to campaign and raise awareness of this massive global challenge, as one in five children globally lacks access to electricity.

‘Sustainable solar energy is such an obvious solution to improving the lives of the poorest in African countries.’

>> Sign the Power to Be petition here

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Cathy also told students about other CAFOD fundraising activities and advised them on how to get involved not just at the school but also in their wider parish communities. Cathy challenged students to be entrepreneurs and lobbyists, to raise funds for great global causes and to protest about injustices which keep people in poverty.  The reaction to these ideas was very positive and Cathy will continue to work with staff at St Paul’s to support students who want to get involved.

>> Add your voice to the thousands by signing the Power to Be petition