Pupils, teachers and parents gathered excitedly together on Wednesday to hear from six fantastic finalists in CAFOD Portsmouth’s Public Speaking Primary School competition held at St Joseph’s church in Maidenhead.
Students from St Edmund Campion and St Mary’s Catholic Primary schools came together to talk on the subject of food and hunger.
The question they had thought about was ‘Why are people still hungry when there’s enough food for everyone in our world?’
Competition organiser and CAFOD Education Volunteer for the area, Sharon Westby said,
‘‘It is a privilege to be a volunteer for CAFOD. I get to witness how children really are unafraid to tackle difficult issues. They inspire adults and make us remember that we should follow their example with the dedication they demonstrate.”
“For weeks now, the children have been thinking about why people are still hungry in our world when there’s enough food for everyone.”
“The competition helps children see the relevance of speech writing but they don’t stop there. We have children inspiring adults to pray, write to MP’s lobbying for change and fundraise in very inventive and thought provoking ways. I am not the only person proud of their efforts; previous competitors have influenced parents, families, parishes, schools and wider communities.”
The finalists spoke passionately about the fact that one in eight people on the planet will go to bed hungry every night because “the way food is grown, sold and shared simply isn’t working for the world’s poorest even though there’s enough food in the world right now for everyone.”
Pupils had looked at some of the causes of food poverty such as climate change and told the story of Makuu – from Kenya whose story is told within our Lent Fast Day resources.
Makuu’s village suffered from drought for many years and since 1979, people in the area have been relying on food handouts from the government to make ends meet. Two students talked about the difference CAFOD has made to the area where Makuu lives to break this cycle by, for example, starting a school garden project where children look after the vegetables that they grow.
Speakers had also thought about the ways they could make a difference, through prayer, by sharing what they have with CAFOD and their local food banks and by making their views known to David Cameron. They had also thought about ways they could reduce their energy use and their own carbon footprint as well as the importance of Fairtrade.
As one speaker said, ‘We have the power to change this injustice’ and ‘As Catholics we’re impelled to take action. Let’s make this Year of Faith a year of change!’ Fantastic!
Let’s hear from the finalists at St Edmund Campion below:
And the finalists from St Mary’s:
The panel of judges (Valerie and Paul Lock from St Edward’s in Windsor and Claire Samber from St Joseph’s parish in Maidenhead) then had the unenviable (and almost impossible!) task of trying to choose an overall winner. Clare congratulated everyone and commented on everyone’s talk before announcing that a pupil from St Mary’s primary was the overall winner. However everyone was so good – we hope they will be inspired to continue speaking out about issues they care about in their local communities!
Well done everyone! And that includes all those of you who helped with all the research and writing. It was a brilliant team effort!
Our special thanks go to all the pupils, staff and parents at St Edmund Campion and St Mary’s our super judges, Monsignor Tom McGrath who looked after us all so well and hosted our visit to St Joseph’s and our fantastic Education Volunteer, Sharon Westby who co-ordinated the entire event. Thank you all!
For more information on our current campaign on food ‘Hungry for Change’ please go to www.cafod.org.uk/hungry