Hopes for the new school year

This week mother-of-three Catherine Jones is saying goodbye to the summer holidays and preparing for a new school term. In this blog she talks about her hopes for the year ahead.

CAFOD children going back to school
The children going back to school

The youngest of our three children, Martha, starts in year 1 this week. And after the summer break, my immediate thoughts are practical. How on earth will we all manage to be out of the house before 8.30am? Where is the favourite Star Wars lunch box? Do the PE kits still fit?

Explore CAFOD’s Education resources

I remember different feelings a year ago, when Martha began in reception. We had celebrated her 4th birthday just days before and now she was off to big school. She looked so small in her uniform, with her huge school bag and shiny new shoes. How would she react when we had to say goodbye at the door? Would the teacher allow her to keep hold of her cuddly monkey?

And the fears don’t go away. Will school restrict Martha’s curiosity and imagination? Will she make friends? Trying to support her and her big brother and sister as they come to the realisation that there are people in their class and the world who are very different to them.

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Spotlight on Brazil: the power of sport

Victoria Ahmed works in CAFOD’s Education Team.  She reflects on the transformative power of sport.

It has been a pretty amazing summer of sport so far. From cheering on the Wales football team to the semi-final match of the Euros, to celebrating Andy Murray’s Wimbledon championship win, I’ve been swept up in a summer of sport. So now I’m really looking forward to the biggest sporting event of the summer: the Olympics in Rio.

Find out more about our work in Brazil

As August rolls around I find myself recovering from an injury. With each warmer day I feel a little bit stronger, and I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve drawn inspiration and strength from athletes. Though not particularly sporty myself, I recognise the power of sport to transform – the drive, commitment and teamwork on display this summer has definitely helped me on the road to recovery.

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Great Generation: What being part of the Great Generation means to me

Sam at the CAFOD Young leaders celebration day at Romero House.
Sam at the CAFOD Young leaders celebration day at Romero House.

Today is Nelson Mandela Day. In 2005 at the ‘Make Poverty History’ march, Nelson Mandela called young people to be part of a ‘great generation’ to work to eliminate world poverty. Here, Sam reflects on what being part of the ‘great generation’ means to her.

Sam has been a CAFOD Young climate blogger and has just graduated from the CAFOD young leadership training programme.

 

 

 “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

What excites me the most about this quote is the message of hope behind it.  It encourages young people, like you and me, to actually be the ones who bring about change and transformation in today’s modern world!

Be part of the great generation. Continue reading “Great Generation: What being part of the Great Generation means to me”

Great Generation: Nelson Mandela Day

Francis (right) at the climate march in London.
Francis (right) at the climate march in London.

Today is Nelson Mandela Day. In 2005 at the ‘Make Poverty History’ march, Nelson Mandela called young people to be part of a ‘great generation’ to work to eliminate world poverty. Francis Hillen reflects on what being part of the ‘great generation’ means to him.

Francis is a youth worker at the Kenelm Youth Trust in Birmingham Archdiocese where he supports young people on their faith journey through retreats and outreach work.  He’s the CAFOD ambassador on the team there, championing the inclusion of global justice in the programmes.

“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

When I think of this quote I think of the power we all have to make a difference or a change. Nelson Mandela is a great example of a man who during his lifetime made a remarkable positive change.

During Mandela’s lifetime we see how the people of Britain were able come together and campaign against the injustice of apartheid and Mandela’s imprisonment throughout the 80s. This most definitely will have gone some way towards his freedom and subsequent election as President of South Africa.  For example the song ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ was written by a group of lads from Coventry, it later became an anthem used by the movement.

In today’s world there are many people who lack freedom and through my work with Kenelm Youth Trust as a gap year volunteer, and as a CAFOD Ambassador, I’ve seen the yearning of young people to make a difference. Children I’ve worked with have written truly sincere messages of hope for refugees and teenagers have offered words of solidarity.

Send a message of hope to refugees. Continue reading “Great Generation: Nelson Mandela Day”

Great generation: My year as a CAFOD young leader

Flavia at the CAFOD young leaders celebration day.
Flavia at the CAFOD young leaders celebration day.

Flavia has been volunteering for CAFOD this year as part of the Young Leadership Programme. She’s had a busy year of fundraising, campaigning and raising awareness in her school of CAFOD’s work and social justice issues that are important to her.

Earlier this year Flavia was nominated for the Dorothy Day award, a Million Minutes award for fostering community participation. Here is an extract from her sixth form leavers’ speech, where she reflected on the journey she’s had in college and with CAFOD over the past twelve months.

My journey began last year when I went on a climate change rally to lobby MPs. At first I wasn’t very interested in the topic, however after going on the rally and understanding the impact that our voice has in the world we live in, it really surprised me that I can make a change. It may not be a massive change, but I learnt very quickly throughout this year that it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

Download our Olympic resources to explore global justice issues with your youth group, class or group of friends.

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Youth leaders: Get your group ready for the Rio Olympics!

Ahead of Rio 2016, Julia from CAFOD’s Youth Team muses on sport, silly and serious, and suggests easy ways to get your group of friends, youth group and secondary students Rio ready with CAFOD!

Julia from CAFOD's Youth Team finishing the Great South Run.
Julia from CAFOD’s Youth Team finishing the Great South Run.

As a youth leader and teacher I’ve run (and played!) my fair share of silly games. From parachute games with HCPT on the meadow in Lourdes, to 500 rounds of North, South, East, West with Guides. From ten pin bowling with plastic bottles in a Loreto school in India to mini-Olympics with tutor groups. I had to get serious when supporting students with physical disabilities to play Paralympic sport boccia at a regional competition,  as moving the ramp accurately according to the player’s precise instructions meant the difference between victory and defeat.

Download CAFOD Olympic resources for young people

Although not an absolute natural, I love taking part in sport too. Aside from a few (very unexpected) shot-put wins at school sports day (my training one year was to throw bean cans as far as I could in the garden), coastal rowing is the sport I’ve been most involved in. The feeling of a win after a two kilometre sprint was elation, but it was the week in, week out training with friends and sunny days on the South coast at regattas that made it fun.

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Learning about climate in class

Katie Thilthorpe works in the CAFOD Schools Team. She recently received a batch of letters and work from children in XII Apostles Primary School in Lancashire who have been exploring life in El Salvador.

Letter-to-El-Salvador
Letters to El Salvador

“After I saw your beautiful landscape I wished I could live in El Salvador but the only thing that makes me sad is the water pollution. That’s why we are raising money for your country and right now we have £500. When we raise enough we will send it to CAFOD and they will send it to you. I hope that you will have nice clean water and I hope to see you and the Sierra Madre mountains one day.” Olivia, Year 4.

Since its release in 2015 primary schools across England and Wales have been using CAFOD’s El Salvador geography photo pack, including XII Apostles Primary School in Lancashire. All the children in the school aged 7-11 have been using the resources, and in March the pupils wrote letters to the four children featured in the pack. The school kindly sent some of the letters to us and I was lucky enough to read them.

Order your free copy of the El Salvador Education Pack

The El Salvador pack, which can be ordered or downloaded online, includes a country map, information sheets, photo cards and links to brilliant online films, which bring the stories and themes from the pack to life. Continue reading “Learning about climate in class”

Lenten works of mercy: Love and mercy in action

Our final Friday blog on Lenten works of mercy is from schools volunteer Penny Morse.

Uganda David-306
Guti (far left) and her friends collecting safe clean water from a local pump in Uganda.

During Lent I have been visiting  primary schools in the Clifton diocese, meeting children and sharing stories from Uganda in assemblies and workshops. In this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis e invites us to be living signs of Jesus’ love. This Lent I’ve really seen these living signs of love and mercy lived out through children’s actions.

Support CAFOD’s Lent water appeal

Here’s a flavour of what I’ve observed these past few weeks.

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Youth leaders: messages of hope for refugees

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CAFOD ambassadors at Romero House

Sarah Burrows from CAFOD’s Youth team describes how young people have been writing messages of love and hope for refugees .

CAFOD ambassadors from retreat and outreach teams have spent the past few months reflecting on the refugee crisis, responding by raising awareness and gathering messages of hope and love for refugees from the young people they work with. At the beginning of March the group came down to London to bring their messages to Parliament, and speak to their MPs about the refugee crisis. The day before, we had the chance to gather together, halfway through Lent, to reflect on the fact that refugees are such a huge part of the Year of Mercy, they are “brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved.” (Pope Francis, 2014)

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International Day of Literacy: Spend a day with Musa

A day with Musa
CAFOD’s big book for children

To celebrate International Day of Literacy, children’s author and primary school teacher Russ Brown explains how CAFOD’s big book for children can excite the imagination and help children’s understanding of the wider world.

 “A big book to promote big talk”  Russ Brown

 Today is International Day of Literacy, a day to celebrate the importance of literacy around the world.

CAFOD’s big book, A day with Musa, takes us on a journey through an ordinary day for an ordinary child in Bangladesh. It raises the simple question of how are we different, while cleverly showing children how fundamentally we are all the same, regardless of skin, language or belief.

Buy A day with Musa

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