Each of the nine Year 8 classes at St Paul’s School in Milton Keynes are having a full ‘Day of Recollection’ throughout January. The day aims to explore thought provoking themes through expressing their feelings about many global issues like conflict, refugees, climate change, inequality, poverty and injustice. These were all captured under the heading of ‘Live Wisely, Think Deeply and Love Generously.’
Students watched a video featuring Severn Suzuki, a 12 year old girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes, making her speech on UN Conference at Rio earth summit. Her speech focused on the many injustices around the world that she felt very strongly about. Sandy Thomas the Year 8 Chaplain said ’You are never too young to actively support a cause that you are passionate about’.
St Paul’s School is a great supporter of CAFOD. For Harvest Fast day 2017, each year group started raising funds and continued during Advent where they were very successful at raising considerable sums as they focused on buying World Gifts.
Year 8 students collected enough money to pay for four marvellous moo cows and were very pleased about this. They were also keen to hear about the whole school’s effort in buying a large number of other gifts such as goats and solar lamps to improve the lives of families living in poverty and those without access to electricity.
Cathy Stormonth, a CAFOD education volunteer delivered a session on ‘What is CAFOD? What does CAFOD do? How does CAFOD work and where does all the money go?”. This fitted in well as CAFOD resources were being used for the rest of the day and it was important for students to know about CAFOD’s work first so as to set all learning activities in the wider CAFOD working context.
Cathy explained how CAFOD is rooted in the Catholic community and follows Gospel values and Catholic social teaching. It is the official aid agency for the Catholic Church in England and Wales. She went on to explain how being global neighbours and CAFOD works with partners across 400 programmes in 40 countries worldwide reaching people and places that others can’t reach. Students were pleased to hear how CAFOD helps people help themselves and how sustainable most projects are.
Cathy went on to highlight some of the world’s global challenges that CAFOD has to face and what happens when there is a crisis – like the current Rohingya Crisis to help people fleeing from violence in Myanmar and supporting the emergency refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Cathy also talked about the importance of campaigning and how speaking out about injustice can influence international bodies and governments to change. For instance, to increase aid for water and solar power and to take action for climate change. Student listened well and were able to recall many of the facts and statistics in a hilarious game of ‘Who wants to be a CAFOD Millionaire?‘
Students had opportunities to take part in a CAFOD Auction to investigate inequality, look at some horrifying global climate change statistics, take part in 2 sides games like ‘Would you prefer to be hungry or thirsty?’ ‘Who would you give £5 to? A Milton Keynes homeless person or a refugee?’ Each day resulted in some great learning outcomes.
When students debated what motivates CAFOD the most – class groups were consistent in their importance ratings and priorities about what Jesus said. ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. They also pointed out how great the need is to help others and felt strongly that too many people live on less than £1.50p per day in abject poverty and how unfair this is.
Sandy Thomas the Year 8 Chaplain noted, “The students end the day being more informed about the world they live in but also knowing it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still make a difference in some way.”
Thank you to St Paul’s for inviting CAFOD into your school and for the fabulous fundraising you did over Harvest and Advent! Thanks Cathy Stormonth and Sarah Morris too for giving input. We look forward to hearing how the students get on.
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