We’re Hungry for Change!

Last Monday we visited St John the Baptist primary in Andover to thank the children and staff for their support for CAFOD and talk about the issues of food and hunger.

During the morning assembly, the children heard about a special goat that was given to Tabita’s family a few years ago during one of Kenya’s driest years since 1950. The drought meant that farming families like Tabita’s were left with destroyed crops and many of their animals died.

Sometimes, during that time, Tabita’s mum went without food for three days and her children were upset because they did not have enough to eat. Tabita’s mum would often go without food so that her children could eat and Tabita herself grew very ill and weak.

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Thanks to the goat that a CAFOD partner provided for the family, Tabita was able to have really nutritious milk. The family call their goat ‘Supergoat’ because it’s a special German alpine breed that can live for long periods of time when there is no water to drink because of a lack of rain.

The children also learned that Supergoat can produce 2 litres of milk a day, whereas a local goat in Kenya can only produce 250ml.

But it’s not just the milk that the goat brings. By selling the milk the family can earn money to buy food and used for many other things like hiring a tractor to plough the land so that they can grow food.

At the end, we all thought about the things that we could do such as praying for the children around the world that they may have their fair share of food or thinking about the different foods that we eat and finding out where they come from. We also talked about fundraising to help families feed themselves today, tomorrow and in the future.

Pupils told us that they had been fundraising for Comic Relief on Friday and had a fantastic cake sale! They are also bringing in Easter eggs for the Food Bank.  That is brilliant!

Supergoat Mike!

At the end of the assembly, I shared with them this picture of CAFOD volunteer Mike Boswell (see the CAFOD blog) http://cafodsalford.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/super-goat-comes-to-salford/ who actually dresses up as Supergoat for his assemblies!

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After the assembly, Year 5 thought about some of the causes of hunger and why the current global food system isn’t working for millions of people by playing the excellent ‘Can you beat the system’ game produced by Oxfam.

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Pupils had to imagine they were small scale farmers living in a less economically developed country who make their living by growing food (in this case maize – the same staple diet as Tabita’s family) to sell at local market. Each group had to produce a crop by drawing/cutting out as many maize as they could in 10 minutes.

Everyone started off with exactly the same materials but after 10 minutes different groups received different news. Some groups had been hit by extreme weather, some had to cope with high food prices and one group had their land bought by a wealthy company so they could not longer farm it.

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But after the session, pupils thought about how it felt when their crops were destroyed and they had to start from nothing or how they felt about half their materials being taken away when food prices began to rise and they had to sell their materials to get by. However one group had received investment from the government and produced more than anyone else.

We then discussed what would happen if farmers were supported like this in the real world (which has happened in some countries such as Vietnam) and what would happen if they weren’t supported.

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At the end of the session, we looked at CAFOD’s Hungry for Change campaign.  As I explained to the children, this year is really crucial as the UK is hosting the G8 summit with some of the world’s most powerful leaders in June– so we are calling on our Prime Minister David Cameron to put food on the agenda and act for a fairer system.

We watched the excellent film produced by the coalition campaign on food ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ (of which Hungry for Change is a part).

Pupils then wrote messages to David Cameron as he will play a crucial role at this year’s G8:

Dear Mr Cameron….

“There are far too many people going hungry every day. You have the power to do something about it. Talk to the G8!”

“All this about food should have been sorted out a long time ago. “

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“One in eight people don’t have enough food to eat….”

“… you could change this, by sharing… we have enough crops and food..”

“I think that we should start sharing because other people in other countries don’t have a fair share.”

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“Far too many people go to bed starving. Can you do something about it? Are you?  I know I will. I will speak out and pray.”

Wow! Way to go Year 5!!!

It’s always lovely to visit St John the Baptist and work with the pupils and staff.  Thank you all so much for inviting us in – especially Headteacher Ms Davies, Mrs Harwood and Year 5 teacher Ms Fowles.

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Thank you too to all the pupils who are always so enthusiastic and to our new Education Volunteer – Jenny LeLean for helping me on the day.

For more information on CAFOD’s Lenten appeal, please go to http://www.cafod.org.uk/Fundraise

For more information on CAFOD’ Hungry for Change campaign,  please go to http://www.cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Take-action-today/Hungry-for-change

For more information on the ‘Can you beat the system’ workshop please go to http://www.oxfam.org.uk/education/resources/food_for_thought_resources_learn/index.htm

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