Schools blog

Thank you for Living Like Lesotho!

Vaila McClure's picture Vaila McClure Education Project Officer: Content

A huge thank you to all the schools who celebrated this year's World Food Day by taking part in our fundraising challenge to Live Like Lesotho. 

World Food Day KS2 fundraising teaching resources
Linjenj, 8, at her grandmother's house, Lesotho
Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson/ActionAid

Whether you grew your own garden, took part in a water relay race or gave up your favourite food, all money raised will go towards helping communities like eight-year-old Linjenj's to grow food sustainably.

It's not too late to take part:

>> download our free teaching and fundraising resources

New teaching and fundraising resource: Meet seven-year-old Makhetha

Lucy McDonnell's picture Lucy McDonnell Education Project Officer

It's World Food Day! And to mark the occasion we're introducing you to Makhetha, who lives with her grandmother and four of her cousins in Lesotho.

Malisemolo Mosola, 60, with her granddaughter Molupo Makhetha, 7.
Molupo Makhetha, aged 7, with her grandmother Malisemolo Mosola
Photo: Robin Hammond/Panos/ActionAid

Makhetha says:

“We are five children all living with our grandmother. We love her very much but we worry about her as she works so hard. When she returns from the fields, she is very tired.

I feel hungry on Saturday and Sunday as my grandmother cannot afford to give us lunch.”

The difficulties Makhetha’s family faces are typical of many families in Lesotho, who struggle to grow enough food in an ever-changing climate.

Our ‘Water Race’ activity will help your pupils to understand the difficulties of growing food, and the impact that drought and flooding have on communities’ access to water.

Plus they'll have a lot of fun racing round the playground trying not to spill a drop of water!

This activity is ideal for KS1/ KS2 Geography, KS2 Citizenship/PSHE, KS1/ KS2 Maths.

Download your Water Race activity from our Lesotho resource hub

New teaching and fundraising resources: Ramotili's Story

Lucy McDonnell's picture Lucy McDonnell Education Project Officer

With World Food Day coming up on 16 October, now is the perfect time to explore the challenges of growing food around the world with your class. 

Ramotili Raamkoini
Ramatoli lives in Lesotho. This World Food Day, learn how his family are adapting to crop failure.
Photo: Eva-Lotta Jansson/ActionAid

Use our new set of teaching and fundraising materials to introduce your pupils to 12-year-old Ramotili from Lesotho and his family, who are struggling to grow enough food to eat.

In Lesotho, the majority of families rely on farming to make money and produce their own food, but crops have failed for three years in a row. ActionAid is supporting local people to adapt their farming techniques to cope with extreme and unpredictable weather conditions.

This includes training families to use different kinds of gardening techniques like pot holing, trench gardens and keyhole gardens which protect crops from the elements.

VIDEO: 'Voices from Syria' - Secondary teaching resource

Vaila McClure's picture Vaila McClure Education Project Officer: Content

In this new video resource, pupils can hear - first-hand - what it's like to live in a refugee camp, from Syrian refugee Reem. ActionAid staff Gazal and Hannah join the discussion to talk about how ActionAid supports refugees through first-aid and vocational training.

Reem - a Syrian refugee in Jordan - joins ActionAid's Gazal and Hannah in sharing their stories of the challenges facing those living and working in Zaatari Refugee Camp, northern Jordan in 'Voices from Syria'.

Read the transcript of the video 'Voices from Syria'

Watch the video with your class and then use the questions below to debate issues facing those involved with the Syrian crisis.

Questions to consider and/or debate with your class

  1. What do you think is the short-term and long-term impact of having your education disrupted by conflict?
  2. Consider yourself in two situations in Zaatari refugee camp: a refugee, and an aid worker. What would your priorities be? Think about the factors affecting life in the camp given in the video. Are there any similarities?
  3. Rents and food prices have risen sharply in Jordan since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. Is this justifiable? Why do you think that?
  4. What do you think would be the outcome if refugees were allowed to work while living in Jordan?

New teaching resource - Children in Conflict: Syria

Vaila McClure's picture Vaila McClure Education Project Officer: Content

As the number of people fleeing Syria to escape the civil war reaches two million, ActionAid has published a teaching resource. It encourages pupils to compare and contrast their lives with that of a young Syrian girl living with her family in Zaatari Refugee Camp, northern Jordan.

Learn more about the life of Israa - a 13-year-old Syrian refugee
Meet 13-year-old Syrian refugee Israa
Photo: Jenny Matthews/ActionAid

In the resource, thirteen-year-old Israa describes what it was like growing up in Syria and how her life has drastically changed with the outbreak of civil war in 2011. Pupils then put themselves in Israa's shoes by writing a newspaper article or blog post about her story.

Year 6 pupils at Wilbury Primary School in north London used the resource with their teacher Ms Gilbert before the summer holidays.

ActionAid is working with refugee families like Israa's in Jordan and Lebanon to ensure that they have access to much-needed clothing, hygiene kits and household items. ActionAid will also be providing psychological support - and helping families deal with the emotional impact of experiencing civil war and being forced to leave their homes.

Sadly, it's not just in Syria where children are affected by the trauma of experiencing war. This is why ActionAid has launched the Children in Conflict fundraising campaign. It highlights the need to support children whose lives have been damaged by conflict. 

Whether it's access to clean water, food and life-saving medicines, or a chance to continue with their education, just £15 a month will help a child rebuild their life.

Follow the conversation on the Children in Conflict #REBUILD campaign on Twitter.

I'm Anna Budzynska and I teach Geography teacher Geography teacher Geography. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect one of my pupils to start changing the world whilst they were still in the classroom, but Esha Marwaha is no ordinary 15-year-old... 

The Year 11 student from Hounslow has been motivated by proposed changes to the Geography national curriculum to set up a petition, blog for The Guardian, appear in a YouTube video - and turn up on the doorstep of the Department of Education hassling ministers to listen to her.

Esha is concerned that Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, and the Department for Education are planning to remove climate change from the Geography curriculum for Key Stages 1-3 (children up to the age of 14).

Esha’s petition has so far attracted over 30,000 signatures and last month she took part in a joint hand-in of petitions with over 65,000 signatures.

Sign Esha's petition to keep climate change in the classroom

Although the Department for Education stated in April that climate change is specifically mentioned in the science curriculum, MPs Ed Davey and Luciana Berger are the most recent high-profile names to express concern about climate change being left out of the Geography curriculum.

Making the world a better place 

As a Geography teacher, I see my job as being more than helping students get good exam results. I am passionate about my subject and want to pass on that enthusiasm to my students. Teaching students about the issues facing today’s world can mean that they grow up to be responsible citizens and - with a bit of luck - do something to make the world a better place.

How can one of the most serious issues facing the planet not even make it onto the list of essential topics for students to learn in school? Climate change will not only affect future generations, but is already impacting on the lives of millions of people across the world.

Unsurprisingly, it is people who are the most vulnerable to - and the least responsible for - climate change that are already feeling the worst effects of changing weather patterns. A recent article in The Guardian highlighted how climate change is behind growing food shortages and the resulting political instability in less economically developed countries.

Failing to teach young people about such a crucial issue is irresponsible - and it destroys the best weapon that we have against climate change - education.

Act now to keep climate change in the Geography curriculum 

>> Sign Esha's petition and teach about climate change using our free downloadable 'PowerDown' resources