School Students Take the Lead


Students discuss which projects to fund and which not to!

Jeremy Cain reports on how CAFOD’s Young Leaders programme is getting our message out into schools.

Spending the day with eighty young people can be exhausting but also inspiring- their enthusiasm and energy are infectious; and when they put that to good use, the results can be impressive.

For example, the young women from St. Anthony’s Academy in Sunderland spoke in every year group assembly to raise awareness and ask for donations. Similarly, St. Leonard’s in Durham organised a CAFOD disco for Year 7 and 8 students, whilst the young people of St. Robert’s in Washington have continued to run a blog about climate change. These are just some examples of young people using creative thinking and hard work to take our message about poverty and injustice to school students across our diocese.


Young Leaders present back their project proposals.

The Young Leaders’ programme has been running since September and a couple of weeks ago we met for the second time to give them training on project management, negotiation and effective communication as well as update them on our resources for Lent.

“You’re the Project Manager” is a simulation game that gives young people a limited budget and numerous projects to fund. The students had to consider which ones they should support and which ones to turn down. They were all real CAFOD projects, so the exercise gave them an insight into the range of our projects as well as our continuing need for funding!


They are CAFOD!

Working in groups made up of students from different schools, they also had to learn how to reach a consensus with people who have differing viewpoints. It’s great preparation for the “real world”and it was fascinating to watch the different approaches each group employed. They were then challenged to present back to everyone, a task which some found quite daunting but tackled nonetheless. In every case, the results were impressive.


Young people’s prayers for our world.

At the end of the day, we then sent them back with a mission: tell everyone else in your school about what CAFOD does and if you raise some money along the way, then all the better! We have high hopes for their success.

Many thanks to Cardinal Hume school for hosting the event. We’re looking forward to meeting them all again in July. If you’re a teacher in a secondary school and would like to get involved, please get in touch.

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