Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville hosted a fantastic night of entertainment on Wednesday to raise awareness of the great work of CAFOD partner St John’s Sports Society.
Members of the school’s CAFOD group organised an evening of dance, music and comedy, attended by pupils, staff, local parishioners, parents and local MP Penny Mordaunt.
During the evening, two pupils spoke about their visit to Korogocho in Kenya last June where they first met special guest Abdi from St John’s (pictured above).
Abdi told us how St John’s had affected his life and the lives of many other young people. Korogocho is home to 100,000 people pressed into 1.5 square kilometres. High unemployment and poverty among young people easily leads to drugs and crime. Secondary school costs money and many cannot afford to graduate.
But in amongst this, every evening an weekend, St John’s Sports Society comes to life. An oasis in the slum. Abdi told us how the Society offers young people somewhere safe to play and helps them gain self-belief, discipline, leadership and teamwork skills.
The club has seen much success wtih many members going on to be champions (Abdi himself is on the Kenyan karate team) but the club goes beyond sporting success by cultivating sports men and women as role models in their community.
All this – with only the most basic of facilities available. Abdi said that the roof in the place where he trains always leaks in the rain and the room is too small to accommodate everyone who wants to take part. So much has been achieved by St John’s and there is so much still to do – but as St John’s Sports Society would say ‘Together we can!” Abdi said his hope for the future is that he gets the opportunity to go around the world when he was older to train and inspire other young people.
Abdi has been incredibly busy during his stay. On Saturday he spoke to 8,000 young people at the Flame conference at Wembley and this week he’s spent time with lots of different year groups within Oaklands and pupils from St Peter’s primary school next door. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year now when Oaklands first applied to go to Kenya! So much has happened since!
There were fantastic performances on the night by really talented pupils – dancers, pianists, singers and the ‘Barney & co’ band. My favourite part was the ‘flash mob’ dance section – just brilliant! Also featuring Abdi and Mr Sumba!
It was amazing to be part of it all and I think everyone in the audience really felt it was a special night.
Towards the end of the evening, Penny Mordant MP (an ex Oaklands pupil pictured above) told everyone how she’d recently met someone she’d been to school with and they both had fond memories of ‘CAFOD Day’ back at Oaklands in the late eighties! She said she was really pleased to see the school was still an avid supporter!
The evening raised a really impressive £1,332.12 from donations, a fab selection of home made cakes and raffle. All organised by the terrific CAFOD group at Oaklands and Mr Sumba!
Thank you all so much for this great evening – the performers, all the staff at Oaklands, pupils, parents and everyone who came along – who really made it such a great night!!!