Hello to everyone at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Gosport! It looks like you all had a fantastic day with Petra Wagenblast, your CAFOD Education Volunteer!
Petra visited the school earlier in the month to give an assembly on the importance of water. She asked the children what they used water for in their everyday lives and held up photos of the different things they mentioned including, using the toilet, brushing their teeth, drinking, washing and cooking. The children then guessed the amount of litres these different activities used before working out how many litres of water they used over the course of a day.
Petra then asked some volunteers to help her hold up images of footprints, to represent the number of litres used for each task. The footprints represented 10 litres and gave the children a good idea of how much water is needed. For example, a bath typically uses 10 litres whilst flushing the loo uses 7 litres!
Petra then told pupils about Nadopun (see below), a young 9 year old girl who 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 Petra 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. Thankfully CAFOD helped them fix their local borehole and now they have clean water near their home.
Petra 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.
Later that day, Petra led a workshop with Year 6 and played our ‘Life without taps’ game. The children were asked to think about what it would be like to have to carry water long distances. They then formed ‘Family’ groups and were asked to imagine they were farmers in Zimbabwe in Southern Africa who live in a village where the water 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 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 had been able to fulfil through the collection of water. From this activity the children learned to value the importance of having clean safe water, and how precious it is to their lives.
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!