Over fifty pupils at St Anne’s secondary school in Southampton, called on the Secretary of State for International Development to support more small businesses owned by poor men and women overseas during a special cross curricular day in February.
St Anne’s, a staunch supporter of CAFOD’s work, invited CAFOD to talk to everyone in Year 11, and work alongside some terrific agencies on the day including WaterAid, Christian Aid, the British Red Cross, and The Medaille Trust – to name but a few!
At the beginning of the day, each representative outlined a little about their organisation and what they hoped to do in each session. It was also a great chance for CAFOD to thank all the pupils and staff for all their support – especially for their generous donation to our Haiti appeal last year.
After the assembly – all of the workshop leaders commented that they would have loved to visit each other’s sessions! They all sounded great!
Our workshop centred around CAFOD’s new ‘Getting Down to Business’ campaign. We looked at some of the benefits small businesses can bring to people living in poverty and some of the challenges they face – focussing in particular on the story of Luz Mila and her family in Colombia.
In small groups pupils looked at the reasons why Luz Mila had been forced to leave her home and imagined what it might be like to suddenly move to a new place with no belongings or friends or family. We then discussed the difference her new furniture making business has made and watched a short video of Eliana (her daughter) who is now able to go to school and plan for her future. (Watch the video on
We looked at the many difficulties Luz Mila faces – such as the big impact someone’s time off might have on the business if they fall ill – and the fact that they only get paid when they make a profit, so if they make less furniture for any reason, they earn less too.
At the end of the session, everyone was invited to sign the petition to Andrew Mitchell, urging him to use existing UK aid to support small businesses overseas, and write a personal message.
Here are some of them! Dear Andrew Mitchell…..
‘Small businesses can help. By investing money into small businesses in the poorest countries you are helping people to help themselves. The money you spend on small businesses now will still benefit those in generations to come, if used wisely. Why not invest in others’ bright futures?’
‘How do you think you became Secretary of State for the Department for International Development? Hard work? Perseverance? Ambition? Yes, I’m sure, however you wouldn’t have done this without education. So why deprive others from theirs? Please help poorer and less fortunate children so that one day they may get a good job. Like you.’
Some last words included:
‘We are always taught to spend our money wisely and on things we need and I think you need to give other people the chance to be great. You may be opening the door to something excellent.’
‘This could be the difference between beating poverty or letting the injustice carry on.’
Thanks to Headteacher Ms Murtagh and Beata Lewis who organised the day so wonderfully – and to all the young people I met for all their energy and enthusiasm! They were great!
Find out more about CAFOD’s new campaign and take action today via http://www.cafod.org.uk/business
The session used at St Anne’s can be downloaded from here –