Assistant Chaplain, Sally Howe writes of World Vision Day in Junior School;
Although the world has made great inroads into reducing extreme poverty in the last 15 years, 1 in 8 people still go to bed each night hungry. Can we really imagine what it is like to be hungry?
We do however want our Hale School boys to understand a little of what that might feel like – and that is partly the aim of our annual World Vision Day, held in August. We asked our boys to only bring a serve of fruit and a bowl and a spoon to school, and we closed the Canteen. At lunch we lined up for our small serve of plain rice, and that is all we ate. Not the usual abundance of variety, textures and flavours, simply rice.
The Year 4-6 boys had been part of an engaging and interactive session run by Georgia, the Youth Representative for World Vision in WA. They were struck by the unfairness of a system that means in some countries, no matter how hard you work, you cannot escape poverty. They didn’t see how they could eat lunch when there were children around the world who wouldn’t be eating. This is the level of empathy we love seeing in our boys. Yes, it is a wonderful and godly thing to thing to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15) however we suggested to them it is also a good thing for them to grow strong and clever so they can help the poor in even bigger and better ways.
After “lunch” the Year 4 to 6 boys went into their classes to reflect on what they had heard. These ranged from creating a book to go to our World Vision sponsored child in Brazil, Kelson, experiencing a poverty simulation in Year 5 to writing reflective letters in Year 6. Georgia and her team then spent most of the afternoon with the Year 1 to 3 boys learning about Serita, a little Nepalese girl, and how very different her life is from ours.
One Year 5 mother, Nicole Bailey, reflected on what her son Cooper learnt from the day:
“Cooper came home really fired up and keen to tell us about the discussions yesterday at school. He talked about how the proportions of the world population was divided in terms of poverty and privilege, with the poorest represented by a bottle of dirty water right up to the wealthiest by an overflowing fruit and lolly bowl. He also talked about food waste and how the world produces more than enough food to feed everybody, but it was distributed unfairly.
I think the day really helped him to understand just how lucky we are and the importance of finding ways of helping those less fortunate. We talked about the importance of education for long term change in these countries, but also the challenges of making lasting, meaningful changes in the face of corrupt government regimes. We also talked about how the solutions are certainly not easy, but they are also not impossible and that will be an important challenge for his generation.”
We will continue, I am sure, at Hale School to make sure our boys’ education includes an understanding of real, ethical issues such as social justice and poverty, and where possible we will use experiential learning tools like our lunch of a small bowl of rice.
Written by Sally Howe - Assistant Chaplain