Lent is usually a time when CAFOD school volunteers across England and Wales are busy travelling to schools to deliver assemblies focusing on the Fast Day appeal. Thanks to technology and the creative thinking of the education team, CAFOD are now able to offer virtual visits. CAFOD school volunteer Wale Awoyinka joined me in recording an assembly for St Felix’s School, which we added to the CAFOD in East Anglia You Tube channel so pupils in school and home leaners could easily watch it.
The assembly focused on eight-year-old Abdul and his brother Mohammed who live in the Afar region of Ethiopia, one of the hottest places on Earth. Water is scarce and the boy’s 23-year-old cousin Abdella makes a five-hour round trip twice a day to collect water for the family. Recognising the preciousness of water, Abdul says, ‘My favourite drink is water. Water is life.’
As a way of raising money and as an act of solidarity with their sisters and brothers who daily walk for water, CAFOD invites schools to walk with purpose during Lent. Staff at St Felix’s created an eye-catching water droplet trail around the school grounds for the children to follow, some of them carrying buckets of water. Getting involved in such an imaginative and practical way gave pupils a chance to think deeply about water poverty.
Greta in year two said: “We’re pretending we’re walking around Africa for water”. Nayra in year three explained: “We’re doing the water walk today because the people who can’t get water have to go up mountains for five hours twice day. We support them by showing that we care.” Oscar in year six added: ” We are walking today because nobody should have to drink dirty water.”
Parish volunteers also found imaginative ways of fundraising and acting in solidarity with their global neighbours. Stowmarket parish enjoyed a Fast Day Zoom and Soup lunch; soups served ranged from home-grown pumpkin to bean and tomato with a bit of pasta and spice to zoop it up. Supporters who’ve been able to take up the Walk for Water challenge of walking 10, 000 steps a day for 40 days featured on BBC Radio Suffolk’s February 28 Sunday morning programme. Sarah Lilley interviewed volunteer Mairead Perkins from Lowestoft parish. You can listen to the programme here at 1.40.
If your school would like a CAFOD virtual Lent assembly contact firstname.lastname@example.org 07779 804 252
To find out how your school can join CAFOD’s walk for water take a look at the CAFOD education resources.
Pictured above are children from St Felix’s School in Haverhill