What would it be like to survive on a $1 a day?
That was what the children and families attending St Bartholomew’s, Chipping Messy Church were able to experience on Saturday afternoon. Teaming up with local charity Volunteer in Brazil the children swapped the usual craft, singing and worship of a typical Messy Church for shelter building, making water filters and cooking pancakes on an open fire. This was all part of the “Favela Experience” held at Lee House, Thornley which enables children and adults to better understand the difficulties faced by families in Brazil as they migrate from a life of poverty in the north of the country in search of a better life in large cities like Rio. During the afternoon the children and families were encouraged to act out the story of trying to build and set up new homes and communities, struggling with lack of money, being evicted from their property and trying to fight to remain in their homes through the court system. The experience ended with a short act of worship around the campfire, with prayers for those living in hardship around the world and donations were given towards the work of the charity. The afternoon was one of hundreds of Crossroads Mission events throughout Blackburn Diocese this weekend.
Rev Fiona Jenkins of St Bartholomew’s helps construct emergency shelters
The trustees were delighted to host the event and would like to thank volunteers Agnes Bland, Dianne Ngoza and Helen Turner for their help and support.
A group of CAFOD Ambassadors ‘walked a mile’ in the shoes of an indigenous community ejected from their land by a logging company.
VinB trustees and supporters organised a simulation activity for CAFOD Ambassadors at Lee House. The simulation was based on the experience of indigenous communities living in the Amazon who face expulsion from their ancestral homelands by logging companies and land grabbers.
The simulation began with living the daily routines of the community, collecting fire wood, fetching water, making herbal medicine and shelters as well as entering into the ethos of a greater sense of connected-ness with all living beings.
The tranquility of oneness with nature was broken by the arrival of a logging company with documents that laid claim to vast areas of the forest. The felling of trees began as the community was ejected from the land. Imprisonment followed in the cold, dark cellar of the house. From the prison cell the community was marched to a court room where they defended their right to live in the disputed area of the rain forest.
“A truly transformative experience – thank you so much; Thanks for a fantastic experience;Thanks for an eye opening experience; Thank you for such a worthwhile and incredible; experience; Thank you so much for having us and giving us a very thought provoking personal experience; Thank you so much. It has been a heartfelt experience”
Just some of the comments received from the Ambassadors.
Twenty young people and three staff from Brownedge St Mary’s in Preston participated in the Hungry For Change Challenge held at Lee House near Chipping. They took on the role of an indigenous community living in Brazil. Their community was based on an ethos of deep respect for nature and all living things but cruelly they where kicked out of their ancestral home by land grabbers. They were forced to live on the margins of society trying to earn a basic living by trading what they had with greedy traders who wanted to buy their commodities at the lowest possible price to sell and make massive profits on the international market. Their way of life was destroyed by fellow human beings who were more interested in profit than people or nature.
The young people were a credit to their school entering into the simulation with great enthusiasm. This is what they had to say:
We learnt that the way we treat each other and the way we treat the natural world are intimately connected.
Our community had been living a simple life in harmony with nature but we were forced into poverty … we joined the 800 million people across the world who go hungry everyday.
This project, run by the trustees of Volunteer in Brazil, was made possible through the support given by CAFOD’s Development Awareness Fund. Next week, a group of primary school children from St Mary’s Chipping will be taking up the Hungry for Change Challenge.
Fr David Chinnery, parish priest of St Wilfrid’s in Longridge and Lee House, played his part in making this a special day of learning, fun and reflection.
Land Grabs, unfair pricing, evictions and how it feels to be powerless are just a few of the issues that youngsters from local schools will experience this week. Lee House, home of VinB, became a hive of activity on Monday as Trustees and volunteers prepared resources for the first of a series of ‘Dollar a Day’ events that have been grant funded by CAFOD.
For this event youngsters will have the opportunity step into the life of an indigenous tribe whose survival is threatened by corporate development!