Hello to everyone at St John the Baptist primary in Andover! Everyone looks like they thoroughly enjoying their special visit by our Education Volunteer Jenny last week! Jenny started off their special day with an assembly on water, asking the children what water is used for in their homes and what might happen if they didn’t have safe, clean water.
Jenny told them about Charlie, who lives in the North West of England, and Nadopun who lives in Uganda. Charlie’s family had to boil their water last year because there was bacteria in their water supply which would have made them sick if they drank it from the tap. The problem only lasted a few weeks but for some children around the world, not having fresh water is a constant problem.
Nadopun is 9 and lives in Uganda. She likes going to school with her friends and watching films. Jenny explained that Uganda is in the East of Africa and that it’s a beautiful country, however 9.2M people there do not have access to safe water. That’s one in every four people in the country! The shortage of water is down to the lack of access to water in remote areas and the changing, unpredictable and increasingly dry climate.
Watch our special film about Nadopun’s older sister Proscovia below.
As Jenny explained to the children, the burden of collecting water often falls on girls and this in turn means that many drop out of school so that their families have the water that they need to drink, cook and wash.
When the local water pump broke, Nadopun’s mother and oldest sisters had to walk a long way to get water. Sometimes they couldn’t get to other boreholes so they had to collect water from the river. Nadopun’s mother says the water from the river is ‘awful’. Her brother got sick from drinking it. CAFOD helped them fix their local borehole and now they have clean water near their home.
Jenny then ended the assembly by reminding the children that the Pope has said that this year is a special Year of Mercy and one of the things we can do to show we love and care for others is to give drink to those who are thirsty. So when we are helping communities to have access to clean water this Lent through our ‘Make a Splash’ appeal, we are being merciful, just as God is merciful to us.
In the afternoon Jenny working with Year 5 and played our ‘Life without taps’ game. Jenny asked the children to imagine what it would be like to have to carry water long distances. She asked for volunteers to form ‘Family’ groups, and then to imagine themselves as farmers in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, who live in a village where their pump has broken down.
Each group had to work together to ‘collect’ water from a ‘river’ two kilometres away. The children had to make sure they collected enough to meet their family’s needs, for things such as drinking water and also water for their crops. Throughout the game particular groups were given ‘chance cards’ which meant they then had to deal with changes to their situation that could affect their ability to collect enough water. The first family to collect the minimum daily amount of water was the winner!
The aim of the game was to show how hard it is to obtain enough water for daily life in areas where there are no taps nearby, and the water supply is unreliable and quite possibly polluted. At the end of the game, each family had to fill in a sheet to show how many of their needs they have been able to fulfil through the collection of water.
Thank you so much to everyone at St John the Baptist School for their great enthusiasm (especially Mr Darby their Year 5 teacher, for his brilliant ‘store keeping’ abilities) and their fantastic support for CAFOD and thank you too to Jenny for this great visit!
Read more about our special Lenten appeal. This Lent every pound raised will be doubled by the UK Government so it will have double the impact!