The reason I’m so involved in CAFOD is definitely down to my mum because, for as long as I can remember, she has been organising and baking for CAFOD coffee mornings in my church (or “cadoff” coffee mornings, as it used to be when I was so young I couldn’t say CAFOD properly). I have done so many things for CAFOD before (like fundraising cake sales, and helping out at events), I can’t remember them all, but I can fairly say, thanks mainly to my mum, I’ve had a very active role in helping CAFOD.
At the end of July, I worked in CAFOD’s Wrexham office, with diocesan manager Katja Jewell. In school, we are permitted one week of work experience, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn more about the organisation. When I was first told I’d be leading an activity in a high school, I was extremely nervous, because I’ve never done anything like this before! I managed to face the fear, however, and one Thursday morning saw me standing up in front of a class of 20 students in Blessed Edward Jones School in Rhyl, explaining the “All to play for” game.
I had prepared this game over the week from the “All to play for” presentation that you can download from the CAFOD website (http://passiton.cafod.org.uk/Olympic-Activities), and had been slaving away to come up with everything we’d need, and, more importantly, to understand the game myself! The game is based in a slum called Korogocho in Kenya, where there is a sports society called St John’s that CAFOD supports. The activity is a game of handball with various twists that means it isn’t only a fun game, but also a way of learning about the poverty in Korogocho.
The groups we had (five sessions of 20 students in each) had all heard of CAFOD and what it stands for, and they all seemed to be aware that it is a charity that helps people in poorer countries. We found out from the teacher that they had been involved in raising money for CAFOD, and in the classroom we were in, we could see on the wall a CAFOD display. (I suspect that is why they put us in that room!)
From experience, I can honestly say that nothing is more boring than sitting in a classroom for an hour, sitting through a lecture on a charity in which you are expected to do nothing more than be still and quiet. This is why I think the activity we did was perfect for that age group (11-14), because the majority of the time was spent moving around, and having an active part in the session. All the groups seemed to enjoy themselves, which I think is the most important thing; the more fun you have, the better it will stick in your mind.
There was the concern of health and safety with this game because we were only in a normal classroom and there is running around involved. A couple of classes were quite rowdy, but no major breakages occurred, and we didn’t have to send anyone away in an ambulance, so all in all it could have been a lot worse!
I think the game, with all the causes of poverty, the solutions, and the problems that people in the slums face that were part of it, encouraged the students to think more about poverty and its causes. They all now know that CAFOD doesn’t just give money to those who need it, but supports projects and community activities, to help people to come out of poverty for the long-term.
Although it was extremely hard work (I shall never again in my whole life think badly about the work a teacher does – I’m shattered after one day!) I really enjoyed the whole day, and it’s given me so much more confidence to speak in front of people of my age. I would definitely love to do something like this again, which I’m sure I’ll be able to, and I’m so grateful to CAFOD’s Katja for giving me the opportunity to try it in the first place!