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Pupils step up to World Orphan Week challenge

An SOS mother and baby from SOS Children's Village Chipata, Zambia
An SOS mother and baby from SOS Children's Village Chipata, Zambia

Four education students from Liverpool Hope University recently volunteered their time at a local Primary School, helping pupils to learn more about the lives of children in Africa, and organising a sponsored walk to raise valuable funds for SOS Children’s work in Zambia, during World Orphan Week 2013.

In the days leading up to World Orphan Week, which took place from 4-11 March, University students and SOS Children supporters Zoya, Louise, Jennifer and Amy organised a visit to Corinthian Community Primary School to help them to learn more about Africa.

During the week, the children had the opportunity to learn about and reflect on perceptions of Africa and what life is like for children growing up in the continent. The four Liverpool Hope students worked with every class in the school for at least half a day. Activities included an exercise where children were shown photos of other children, and asked whether they thought the children were orphans. They were encouraged to discuss their answers, and what their assumptions are based on, before the correct answer was revealed. This gave the children the chance to learn that orphans are not always African, and are not always permanently unhappy.

The older age groups did a similar activity based on the notion of ‘Africa’. They were asked to write down words describing what ‘Africa’ made them think of. Nearly all of the worlds were negative. The students then challenged this by showing photos of modern Africa, including images of children growing up in SOS Children’s Villages.

After the sessions, the year groups carried out a reflective activity. Some of the younger students put together a dance routine based on an associated theme, or wrote poetry. Year 4 children put together newspaper articles about how their perceptions of Africa changed during the week, whilst Year 6 pupils reflected on charity campaigns. This included studying ‘traditional’ charity promotional resources showing sad and suffering children, contrasting it with the children in SOS Children’s World Orphan Week video.

On the Friday of World Orphan Week, the school took part in a sponsored walk to raise funds and awareness for SOS Children’s work. This year’s challenge was to collectively ‘Walk to Chipata’ – taking part in a sponsored walk, run, swim or row, to cover the 9,000 miles between the UK and Zambia, where SOS Children are working to prevent family breakdown and enable children to grow up safely.

The children walked in laps around the school playground, with six laps making a mile. As well as raising awareness about SOS Children’s work in Africa, the students raised a total of £1087, which will be used to provide orphaned and abandoned children with a loving family home at SOS Children’s Village Chipata.

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