Last Friday, CAFOD School Volunteer Emma McBride and I were lucky enough to be invited to St Bede’s Primary school in Basingstoke to talk about the importance of looking after God’s creation.
Our morning sessions with Years 1, 2 and 3 looked at the significance of water in our world, how much we use this precious resource ourselves and how many of our global brothers and sisters cannot access clean water. Pupils acted out a short ‘day in the life’ of 13 year old Makasi from Ngungani in Kenya, both before and after a well was built in her village.
We then looked at the differences between clean and dirty water and thought of reasons why people might have no choice but to drink it. My sample dirty water (provided by my sister!) was spectacularly awful and there were gasps of surprise as I poured it into a glass (myself included!). Pupils then talked about what might happen if we had to drink it and what might make it safe to drink.
We then all took turns to lift a bucket of about 5 litres of water and wondered what it would be like to carry the 40 litres Makasi has to carry every day, before ending with a class vote on whether we thought it was fair or unfair that some people have to travel a long way to fetch water and drink dirty water.
In the afternoon, we talked to pupils about climate change and the impact is already having on countries around the world (such as Bangladesh and Niger). We then looked at the impact of our lifestyles and how our energy use contributes to the creation of a warmer climate. After a brief quiz on what they’d learned so far, we looked at the ‘4Rs’ (recycle, repair, reduce and reuse) and each table came up with a long list of ideas of things they could personally do to fight climate change.
Finally, we briefly talked about our Act on Poverty campaign and asked each pupil to show our Prime Minister how serious they were about this issue by writing down what they were prepared to do to tackle climate change. Some of these included ‘I will try to walk to some places instead of getting Mum to drive me there’ and ‘I promise to turn off my games and lights when I leave the room. ‘ One pupil said ‘I’ll try to make everyone aware of this!’
After completing their promises, pupils were then invited to add a note to the Prime Minister himself if they wanted to. These included:
‘Dear Prime Minister, I think you should try and do everything you can to try and help everyone affected by climate change. It is unfair that we have used the energy and they pay the price. Please do all you can.’
‘Dear Mr Cameron, We have to save this world! If we don’t – we won’t have anything! Remember – just one world!’
‘Dear Mr Cameron, It really isn’t fair. If you’re the Prime Minister then you can make a bigger difference than me. So make it! I will so why won’t you?’
As each person finished their personal promise, they were photographed by the Number 10 door! (I am sorry if I didn’t get round to photographing everyone. I’ve also had a lot of trouble uploading the photos I did take too!) All these messages will now be stuck to the door, photographed and submitted to the PM as part of the Act on Poverty campaign! Well done everyone!
Thank you so much to all the pupils we met on the day for making us feel so welcome and for being so incredibly enthusiastic about everything we did. Our special thanks go to Ms Power who organised the whole day and all the teachers who were so kind to us and let us speak to their classes. We really enjoyed it and we hope the pupils did too!