Speak up young people of Norwich!

This week, CAFOD volunteers visited the Catholic schools of the Norwich area. There they engaged Year 6 and Year 10 students in a series of activities in relation to the Speak up Week of Action as part of the Power to be Campaign.

The year 6, Saint Francis of Assisi students were introduced to the campaign with a couple of questions where they were asked to share with everyone what electricity they had already used up to that moment.

That question sure got them going! Charging phones, microwaving their porridge, toasting their bread and using cars to get to schools where a few among the shouted examples. Students quickly began to realise how much electricity they had already used during the past few hours of the day. This made it easy for them to understand, the importance of having electricity as a basic need all around the world and not just for the few.

One in six people worldwide do not have access to electricity. Students were surprised with this figure and CAFOD volunteers explained how 84% of people live in rural areas, where access to the traditional mode of electricity is much harder. As the saying goes; where there is a will there is a way, and CAFOD is supporting that way.

CAFOD helps to bring a different way of life with many new possibilities for the locals, by simply installing solar panels on the rooftops of rural homes. So how can we be the change? By speaking up!

That’s exactly what the Saint Francis of Assisi students did. CAFOD volunteers held a training for public speaking workshop with the students which involved a fun game of Lingo Bingo and a challenge to speak without ‘umming’ or ‘ahhing’, deviation or repetition (perhaps you’ve heard this on the radio). That sure got them practicing for whenever they would like to use their words to bring change in the world!

The year 10, Notre Dame High School students were given the chance to actually use their words to bring about change. The students wrote messages, pleas and suggestions to their influential person of authority, spanning from local members of parliament to leaders from the four corners of the world.

The teens used the statistical figures that had been discussed during an earlier activity to build their arguments. Donald Trump, Theresa May and even the local Norwich MP Chloë Smith were being challenged by the students to bring about a change. Here is an example of how the next generation has managed to use their words to action change:

“Dear MP of Norwich,
The percentages of poverty in 3rd world countries are astonishing and it has to change! Please attempt to take the 84% of people that do not have electricity in rural areas and find a way to fund charities to install renewable energy supplies that will be beneficial for the people of the country! They deserve to live like us!
Thank you, xoxo NDHS :)”

CAFOD in the classroom


In preparation for this year’s Lenten Challenge, year 7 students at Notre Dame High School in Norwich made green hearts to show their devotion to the whole planet.

“The green heart remind me of what’s going on in the world with climate change”

Inspired by the words of Pope Francis, describing the world as ‘our common home’, students agreed that wearing the hearts opens our hearts and reminds us that we are here to look after the world .

The students have made green hearts to show that we are all stewards of this earth and that they have a message to share with others:

Elwin Mugenzi says, ‘The green heart remind me of what’s going on in the world with climate change, especially in Zambia. By wearing the heart, we are showing that we can make a difference by loving the environment and the people in it. We can be ‘green’ and environmentally friendly.’

They recognised that everyone is equal and entitled to live comfortably and without discrimination, or in poverty.

Andres Santana says, ‘The green hearts make us more aware of what’s going on around us and it opens our eyes to what we don’t normally notice or choose to ignore; how the lack of stewardship leads to poverty. We can make a change.’

‘We want people to see that all are welcome and that we should work together, without walls or barriers of hate, to create unity in the world today’, says Miriam Sharif, teacher.

Finally, Ashley Benstead added, ‘The green hearts represent us as a worldwide community, a ‘common home’ and how we can change the world for the better and be stewards of God’s creation.’