Back to school: Our work with children and young people

A group of young people completing the young leadership programme

Monica Conmee works in our Education team. With many children and young people going back to school this week,  she explains why education is such an important part of CAFOD’s work.

CAFOD is nothing without faith, our international partners and people. I am constantly amazed at the insights, ideas and sheer determination of people to build a more just and peaceful world. When given the chance to reflect and learn, these actions can combine to make a significant impact on our world and in our communities.

“My dear young people, a better world can be built as a result of your efforts, your desire to change, and your generosity.” Pope Francis

Pope Francis’ address to young people, given at the Vatican in 2017, reminds us how much of a difference young people can make.

Resources to inspire young people in school, parish or youth groups

What Catholic schools have achieved

Young people have been volunteering with CAFOD.
CAFOD’s education workshops.

Across the Catholic community of England and Wales, children have been getting involved with CAFOD throughout the year, from giving things up and donating to CAFOD during Lent, to holding our brothers and sisters across the world in daily prayer.

Many schools and youth networks have taken part in our Zero Hero climate campaign, calling for the UK government to reach net zero emissions, and attended our mass climate lobby of Parliament in order to take action on the climate crisis. Others have made personal commitments to living in ways that cause less harm to the planet.

The belief that we are part of one precious, global family and that we all can play our part if we look outwards and understand each other is palpable.

No one beyond reach

Children standing outside Parliament during the Time is Now mass lobby
Children standing outside Parliament during The Time is Now mass lobby.

We are probably aware of CAFOD’s mission to overcome poverty and injustice through responding to emergencies, supporting long term development and advocating changes to the systems that keep people poor.

But also integral to our work is our contribution to learning about the world we live in. We do what we can to support parish, school and catechetical programmes to explore how we all play our part in bringing about change and ensure no one is beyond reach.

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Looking forward to the new school year

So as children and young people dust off their uniforms and head back to school, and teachers, youth leaders and catechists are busy planning for their new programmes of work, we’re gearing up for an exciting year.

Step into the Gap programme volunteers 2019-20
Step into the Gap programme volunteers 2019.

For example, we’re delighted to welcome our new team of Step into the Gap volunteers who are starting in placements in schools and youth teams this September. We are ready to support KS3 and GCSE RE teachers with online learning tools for students and teachers, and CAFOD’s dedicated team of volunteer CAFOD representatives are looking forward to presenting at school assemblies, running workshops and visiting confirmation groups.

Our Education team works with teachers, leaders and volunteers who support the 1.5 million children, young people and young adults to become the best people they can be – inspired by Catholic values and the Gospel. These wonderful educators are the people enabling children and young people to make a difference in our world, and we’re here to support them with fresh ideas and resources.

It’s going to be a great year. And we can’t wait to support the Catholic community to live out that vision of a world transformed to reflect the Kingdom of God.

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