Pupils at St Jude’s primary in Fareham took part in a special assembly and workshop this Lent which looked at how communities around the world prepare for emergency situations such as storms, earthquakes and floods.
Education Volunteer, Petra Wagenblast, began the assembly by sharing a story about how the changing climate has affected two families, one in England and one in Myanmar in Asia.
Firstly the children heard about 11 year old Lucy from Reading whose house was flooded last year as a result of continuous rainfall. Lucy and her family are now thinking about how they can keep themselves and their belongings safe if another flood happens. They’re also campaigning to clear the brook of trees and other items that may cause it to flood again and the council are strengthening the banks of the river. Petra explained that Lucy is very interested in looking after the environment and has even campaigned to stop developers from building on the local water meadows and to protect the wildlife.
The children then learned about 8 year old Zin Thu Thu and her family who live in Myanmar in Asia. Storms regularly hit Myanmar and when Zin Thu Thu was only two years old, a very powerful storm (Cyclone Nargis) hit the country. Even though the cyclone took place 6 years ago, people are still being affected by it. For example trees were knocked down so there wasn’t any natural shade from the heat. This made it more difficult for people to work and affected the crops they grew and their animals. CAFOD is still working with the community to plant trees and repair roads that were destroyed.
Zin Thu Thu is now learning what to do when there is a storm. Amongst other things the children learn what different disasters there are and how to pack an emergency bag. The more frequent cyclones and floods are thought to have been caused by the climate changing.
Petra then asked the children what they thought they could do to stop the climate changing so rapidly and help prevent disasters such as these happening. Ideas included cutting out trips in the car and riding a bike instead or walking, cutting out fizzy drinks and drinking tap water or even cutting out using so much electricity and switching off TVs or computers on standby, or playing games instead of video games.
After the assembly, the children thought about the times they had to prepare for something, like a holiday or a school production. They then thought about what Zin Thu Thu might put into her emergency bag. The children then packed their own bags with some special emergency supplies, each one having to decide what was essential and what was not.
Petra then asked pupils to imagine they had to walk a long way with their packs so they had to make them lighter. Which items would they take out?
At the end of the session the children were asked how they thought people would feel having to leave the safety of their homes and all their belongings behind. They then looked at the remaining objects in their packs and each group explained why they kept those particular items. In the end as Petra pointed out, everything they had in their bags were basic needs that everyone in the world has a right to and this is what CAFOD does in helping to ensure people everywhere have access to food, water, shelter, education and heathcare.
For more information on CAFOD’s Lenten appeal, please click here.
Primary school resources can be downloaded from here.