St Joseph’s Prep Brighten Up for Harvest

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Wow what a lot of bright colours! Many thanks to the pupils from St Joseph’s Preparatory in Reading for ‘brightening up’ for Harvest Fast Day.  Our Education Volunteer, Linda Heneghan visited the school last week and took her very special ‘Wonder Worm’ along to help her!

At the beginning of the assembly, Linda reminded the children that Jesus said we should do everything we can to help people who needed it.  He said this was a very special thing to do and this is what is meant by mercy. It’s a special way of showing how much we care for people. Pope Francis has asked Catholics throughout the world to mark this special Year of Mercy.

Linda explained that this means, among other things, that he wants us to think about how we show that we care for everyone and help others because of the love God the Father has for us.

The children then thought about the seven things which the church says we all should do to help people in need (sometimes called the Corporal Works of Mercy). These are things like giving food to someone who is hungry, a drink to someone who is thirsty and welcoming the outsider. CAFOD is doing work all over the world which is part of this.

Linda then gave the children an example of where CAFOD partners are ‘feeding the hungry’.

CAFOD works all over the world helping families to be able to grow enough food to feed themselves and sometimes have enough left over to sell in order to provide an income.

One of the things needed for growing food is good soil so Linda then showed the children how CAFOD has helped a family living in Bolivia to have much better soil for growing their vegetables.


Santos and Joel (pictured above) live in a small farm high up in the Andes mountains in an area called the Altiplano.  Getting water is difficult and rain is unpredictable. There are a lot of hailstorms and frost which can wipe out people’s crops. The soil is generally very dry and of poor quality.

It is a job for Wonder Worm as Linda went on to explain!

CAFOD’s partner is working with local people to help them create wormeries. Wormeries are big holes in the ground which the people dig, build a wall inside and fill with cow manure.  Worms are added to the hole, kept damp and covered to protect them from the very hot sun. Here is Elizabeth, Santos and Joel’s mother, beside their wormery (below).

Wormeries in Bolivia

After about three months, Wonder Worm and his friends have done their job, and created wonderfully rich humus (the worms eat the cow manure and the humus is what comes out afterwards). The humus is worked into the fields as a fertiliser and then sown on the family’s fields.

Modesto, (Santos and Joel’s Father) said “We realised very quickly how good it was. We used the humus on our potatoes and the next year they were very much taller than they would have been previously.”

Both Santos and Joel help their parents with the work. Santos helps with the replanting, watering the plants and weeding. Joel helps with weeding but his Dad says sometimes “he pulls up the wrong plants.”  Modesto says life will be much easier for his sons than it has been for him, as it will be easier to grow enough food. He also says that eating the vegetables means they are both healthy and growing properly.

Not only does the family grow enough food for themselves now but they have some extra crops of onions, chard, potatoes and beans which are taken into the nearest town to sell at market. Modesto also sells some of the worm humus, because people can see how good it is.

At the end of the assembly, Linda asked the children if they could help CAFOD ‘Brighten Up’ the lives of children like Santos and Joel and help them be able to live life to the full. She then worked with Year 5 who are going to give the assembly on Fast Day itself!

Thank you so much everyone for all your enthusiasm and support!  And thank you to Linda for introducing Wonder Worm to the world!  We love him!!!!

Explore our Harvest Fast Day resources for primary schools.

Find out more about our work in Bolivia and Ruben’s story by watching this short film below.






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