Sophie Aulton is spending a year taking part in CAFOD’s ‘Step into the Gap’ programme and visited St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Beeston and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Rothwell.
The 22-year-old taught St Anthony’s pupils about CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign, which focuses on how supporting cleaner, renewable forms of energy can help people living in poverty around the world.
The Year 2,3,5 and 6 students were motivated by Sophie to take action after being shown the story of Veronica, a Kenyan girl who has benefited from solar panels being fitted at her school.
The pupils then wrote their own heartfelt messages to form a sun.
Sophie said: “The children learned that not everyone in the world is as fortunate as they are, and that the funny things on top of some of their houses, solar panels, can make a huge difference to people’s lives.
“My favourite part of that visit was when one child said that to save energy he would start to play outside more instead of playing on his computer all the time!”
Sophie will spend the year campaigning, fundraising and raising awareness of CAFOD’s work at a UK placement. The volunteer will also make an international trip to El Salvador to meet vulnerable communities that the charity works alongside.
When Sophie visited St Mary’s Primary School, she taught pupils about CAFOD’s values.
She continued: “My gap year is going well so far and one of my favourite parts of it is going into schools!
“I do love making students aware of social injustice issues that they don’t usually think about.”
CAFOD’s Power to Be campaign hopes to raise awareness that currently, one in six people live without electricity globally. Local, renewable energy is usually the cheapest and most efficient way to bring power to the poorest communities.
It means that families don’t have to rely on dangerous and unhealthy energy sources such as paraffin lamps and firewood. It enables children to study after dark, nurses to keep vaccines cold and farmers to irrigate crops.