Gabrielle describes their experience:
“We arrived at Romero House on Tuesday afternoon to a host of welcoming CAFOD staff and excited sixth formers from across the country. We were first briefed on the current “Hungry for Change” campaign and the upcoming “Climate Coalition” campaign, before getting to know each other over a delicious lunch laid out for us by CAFOD.
In the afternoon, we took part in 3 workshops. The first was a parliamentary relations workshop, in which we were all given a different role- constituents, MP, Secretary of State- and had to talk to the people above and below us about international development issues. This was very effective in showing how change must start with us, the public, making our voices heard.
The next workshop was centred around the importance of social media in raising awareness of global hunger and climate change issues in modern society. The young people enjoyed this as it was very relevant to them and there were plenty of Facebook statuses and hashtags flying around for the rest of the trip!
The final workshop involved preparation for the questioning of MPs in Parliament. The questions were based around 3 main themes: empowering aid for small scale farmers, transparency in big businesses to create a fairer global food system and taking action on climate change (as developing countries are currently hit first and worst!)
In the evening, we enjoyed more social time and were treated to pizza on the rooftop terrace of Romero House, overlooking the capital at night. We ended the day with a lovely night prayer, led by the CAFOD team, in which we were encouraged to think about our role as Christians in the world. By the time we arrived at our hostel for the night, everyone was ready for a good sleep after such a fun-packed day!
We had an early start on Wednesday in order to fight our way across the tube system in rush hour to get to Parliament in time to meet the Speaker of The House of Commons. We were, of course, donning our “Hungry for Change” t-shirts for some good publicity on our journey!
In the House of Commons the sixth formers had a chance to question John Bercow, local MP’s and friends of CAFOD about international development. The young people raised intelligent and poignant points and certainly pressured MPs to act. Some lucky students also got to go and watch Prime Minister’s questions!
We had a fantastic couple of days down in London and felt empowered upon leaving. We were proud to represent Nottingham and the year 12 girls were a credit to the Diocese, taking part with enthusiasm. We are very grateful for the opportunity given to us.
Since returning, we have spoken to the rest of our school about our experiences. We are now thinking about ways in which we can take action in our communities and build on what we learnt.”
CAFOD Nottingham looks forward to working alongside Gabrielle, Adrianne and Caitlain in the future!