Workshops on Refugees at St Swithun’s Primary Portsmouth

St Swithun's Primary Pictures of their Special Places

St Swithun’s Primary Pictures of their Special Places

Hello to St Swithin’s Primary School Southsea and thank you so much for welcoming Maureen Thompson our CAFOD school visitor to your school this week. We hope you enjoyed the workshops on Special Places  and On The Move, and maybe you will be able to take part in a Share the Journey walk to show your concern for families  who have to flee their homes because of war, drought and lack of food.

Maureen told us all about her visits.

“I have made two visits to St Swithins Primary School in the last week to coincide with Refugee week. Firstly I visited the 3 year 3and 4 classes. We talked about journeys started with the varied ways people get to school, to special holidays abroad often to see grandparents and other relations in other countries. This helped introduce the theme we were highlighting of how CAFOD works to help people who sometimes have to go on  forced journeys  and then become refugees . We highlighted the stories of Ruth, Hilma Dianer and Muhammad who all had to leave their home countries for different reasons.



Finally I showed the pictures the children had drawn to help them remember home and to think about the special places that made them feel safe. The children asked lots of questions and thought about how it might feel to have to leave their home before drawing their own pictures of what made their homes special and some of their dreams for the future.

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A few days later I visited years 5 and 6 and together the children divided up into imaginary family groups who had to leave home quickly because they were in danger. This simulation game gave the children opportunities to deepen their understanding of what it might be like to have to leave everything you know behind including friends.    Again the children were able to express how they might feel in a similar situation – scared , terrified , angry  sad, depressed ,lonely. At the end we gathered together to discuss the things we could do – to pray, act and give  highlighting particularly the Pope’s Campaign supported by  CAFOD’s  Share the Journey.

Thank you to all the staff and children at St Swithins for welcoming me and taking such an active part in the workshops.”

Many thanks to Maureen for visiting  St Swithun’s Primary and for organising the workshops, and to all the children, staff and parents for their support of CAFOD.

Refugee week in Emsworth -sharing their journeys

Emsworth Share the Journey walk

Emsworth Share the Journey walk

Christians Together Refugee Week in Emsworth began with a Share the Journey walk on Sunday 17th June starting from St Thomas of Canterbury & St Thomas More Church and visiting various churches on the route finishing at Waterside URC church for refreshments . 25 people took part in the walk, walking a total of 125 miles . These miles will be added to the totaliser. So thank you so much to everyone who took part and special thanks to Maureen Thompson, our parish volunteer at Ss Thomas and one of the organisers.
To mark 20 years of Refugee Week  Maureen has suggested  20 simple actions
we might take.

1. Pray – join us on our solidarity walk on Sunday 17th 2-Please walk but if that’s
to much please join us at venues for short prayer
2. Vigil – Monday 18th June Chichester Cathedral have an all-day vigil call in and
join them for a while.
3. Read a book about exile, refugee experience books commas press – Refugee
tales or story of Gaza
4. Collect toiletries to donate to Red Cross refugee drop in Portsmouth
5. Volunteer to support refugees as a befriender, welcomer, English teacher, or
train to give legal advice with Friends without Borders
6. Donate unwanted clothes and goods to a Red Cross shop
7. Buy Fairtrade
8. Learn more about modern slavery and how we can look out for the signs
9. Tell your own family stories of migration and exile
10.Print off one of the support refugee posters from refugee week website and
put in your window at home
11.Make a welcome banner and invite new people into a community event.
12.Help the new refugee men’s shed in North End Baptists – collecting tools
13.Invite someone who has recently moved the area for tea
14.Write to your MP about the hostile environment for asylum seekers
15.Give to refugee charity internationally or locally like Friends without Borders
16.Organise an information evening and fund-raiser for refugees
17.Feed: North end Baptist church food bank gives food to refugee families as
well as others in need
18.Sign the Share The Journey petition to Mrs May to advocate for dignity and
support for refugees throughout the world in September global meeting.
19. Look at joining the week-long walk
20. Investigate getting a church group together to sponsor a refugee family

Share the Journey walk around Greenham Common

The walk starting from Greenham Common control tower .

The walk starting from Greenham Common control tower .

Many thanks to Martha Vickers our parish volunteer at St Francis de Sales parish for organising a Share the Journey walk around Greenham Common on Saturday. Also thank you to the young people from St Cassian’s retreat centre and to parishioners from St Francis de Sales, St Joseph, St George’s C of E, St John C of E, and the Quakers who walked to show solidarity with millions of people forced to free their homes because of war, persecution, natural disaster and poverty. You walked a total of 74 miles which is a fantastic effort so thank you all so much!

Group from St Cassians

Group from St Cassians

During this refugee week we are following the Pope’s call to show our concern for refugees and migrants so do come and join one of our Share the Journey walks or organise one in your own parish . We are hoping that by walking we will send a message to world leaders who are meeting in September to come to an agreement on refugees and migrants which respects human dignity, protects the vulnerable, supports host countries, keep families together and tackles the reason for migration.

On the walk

On the walk

Here is a list of the Share the Journey walks coming up in the next few weeks:-

23rd June Share the journey walk St Michael & All Angels Leigh Park PO9  5BD 10am at the church

23rd June Share the Journey walk St Edmund Campion Maidenhead meet at Braywick Park car park at 11am

30th June Share the Journey walk Corpus Christi Church Bournemouth  BH5 2BX meet at 10:30am at the church after 10am mass

1st July Share the Journey walk from St Edward the Confessor Church Chandler’s Ford SO53 2DU to Hiltingbury Lake and back. At the church at 10am after 9am mass.

8th July  Share the Journey walk around Southampton Common meet at Cowherds Pub SO15 7NN 3pm

By  Alex Atandi our new CAFOD Portsmouth Office Volunteer.