Last Friday, CAFOD Education Volunteers Rosemary, Isabella and two of our newest recruits Paty and Willow from the University of Southampton Catholic Society – spent the morning talking about the importance of water with the pupils and staff at St Swithun Wells primary in Eastleigh.
Isabella started the day off with a lovely assembly which looked at how much we all depend on water in our lives and how we sometimes take it for granted. She then focussed on one rural community within Zambia where some people have to walk very long distances to get water from rivers because they don’t have taps in their homes.
Isabella told the children 11 year old Rosena’s story and the huge part water has played in her life. Before a well was drilled in her village, Rosena had to spend three hours a day fetching around 10 litres of water at a time.
The children imagined what it would be like to carry 10 litres for 30 minutes at a time. They also thought about all the things they would miss out on if they had to spend three hours a day walking for water.
Before the well was installed in her village by Caritas (CAFOD’s partner), Rosena would be late for school because she had been queuing so long and sometimes she couldn’t sleep because of the pain in her neck caused by carrying such large amounts.
Pupils then thought about the 884 million people who still do not have access to clean water – and those who are often forced to get their drinking water from rivers.
The children looked at what might be in those rivers (which are shared with animals) and the effects of drinking dirty water.
The assembly then ended with pupils reflecting on the unfairness of this situation and promising that as we all pray, fast and give to others this Lent, we will see that everyone in our world is precious and blessed by God’s love.
In the follow up sessions, pupils took part in the Water Challenge – finding out for example what percentage of the earth’s water is fit for human use, how much of the human body is made up from water and how long a person can survive without drinking anything.
In a later session, pupils then remembered just how much water Rosena was often carrying and they had a short relay race to see how much water they could get from one side of the room to the other within 2 minutes.
After a few minutes they looked at how much they had collected – and thought about what they could do with that amount of water during the day. This included flushing the toilet (9 litres), brushing our teeth and washing our face and hands (30 litres) but didn’t include taking a shower, (60 litres) having a bath (150 litres) or using a washing machine (150 litres). It’s amazing how much water we get through – when we know that the average amount of water used each day for cooking and washing by a person in one of the world’s poorest countries is only 10 litres.
The session ended by thinking about the things pupils could do about water poverty- which included speaking out against this unfairness and asking world leaders to do something about the issue.
Pupils were then invited to write a message to the Prime Minister on a little droplet of water as part of CAFOD’s Thirst for Change campaign.
CAFOD is asking David Cameron to call on world leaders to end water poverty at the G8 meeting in May. For more information, please go to:
Our thanks go to Mrs Clark and all the teachers, staff, parents and pupils for their fantastic support for CAFOD and for making all our volunteers feel so welcome. Thank you so much!