Inspirational Calls for Change!

Six Catholic primary schools from the Reading area went head to head last night at the CAFOD Primary Public Speaking Final.

Teachers, parents and pupils gathered at Reading’s Council Chambers to hear the finalists give their talks on food and hunger.

Competition organiser and CAFOD Education Volunteer for the Reading area, Linda Heneghan said,

‘‘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 final is the culmination of many weeks hard work. Hundreds of pupils will have taken part in the competition so all our finalists have done very well to get to this stage.”

Participating primary schools included, English Martyrs, St Martin’s, Christ the King, St Paul’s and St Dominic Savio and St Joseph’s College Prep.

Let’s hear from some of the finalists themselves!

Everyone spoke out with such confidence and passion!  Many referred to the fact that one in eight people go to bed hungry every night and how unacceptable that was. As one pupil put it, ‘Even if one person goes hungry, that’s one too many!  These people are our brothers and sisters; our family!’

Every finalist talked about some of the causes of the global food crisis such as climate change, food price rises, tax dodging by big companies in poor countries and land grabbing where poor farmers are being forced off their land.

Others cited the lack of investment in small scale farmers as a significant cause and called for checks on the power of global food companies.

But they all went even further by calling on us all to take action by reducing our waste, eating local, sustainable and more Fairtrade foods and by taking part in CAFOD’s current ‘Hungry for Change’ campaign which calls for a fairer global food system.

“We can end this,” said one pupil, ‘I’m hungry for change’ said another, ‘Are you?’

Brilliant!  Way to go everyone!

Judges on the night included the Deputy Mayor of Reading (Deborah Edwards), Rob Wilson MP (Reading East), Lead Councillor for Education and Children’s Services (John Ennis), Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (Victoria Groulef) and News Editor of the Reading Chronicle (Maurice O’Brien).

There was a great buzz in the room after the talks had finished and the judges had a very difficult time deciding on a winner. As Linda said at the end – they all deserve our praise as they were absolutely superb!

Let’s hear from more of our lovely finalists!

At the end of the evening, an overall winner was chosen from St Martin’s Primary in Caversham. The school also won a special shield for achieving the highest amalgamated scores. Well done!

We really hope that everyone really enjoyed themselves and will now continue to speak out about issues they really care about in their local communities.

A BIG thank you to all the pupils who took part in this, their teachers and parents. Thank you too to our lovely judges and an EXTRA big thank you to Linda Heneghan for working with all the schools and organising the whole competition.

It was a really special night. Thank you all!

For more information on CAFOD’ Hungry for Change campaign, please go to

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