St Joseph’s and Our Lady’s Primary schools, Doncaster, have nurtured support of Mission Together over many years. Now that’s not the only thing they are cultivating. Both schools have also been running successful gardening clubs with pupils keen to learn how to work together and care for creation.
Over the years St Joseph’s and Our Lady’s have raised thousands of pounds in support of Mission Together projects. But our 2017-18 campaign Together in Sri Lanka, seems especially apt for pupils learning about creation, climate, and the hard work involved in growing and tending plants.
Together in Sri Lanka features the true story of 10 year old Ajay. Ajay and his family were born on a tea estate in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. After many years without a school, the children today have a building in which to study, but living conditions remain basic. Adults work hard and for little pay on the plantation. There is no healthcare on the estate and the nearest hospital is far away in town.
With support from Mission Together, Sr Ruby (Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Sri Lanka) brings nutrition and healthcare packs to the plantation children and arranges for doctors and dentists to run clinics on the estate. Sr Ruby, Ajay, and the whole village, know the value of working together and reaching out for help.
These important lessons are also being communicated at St Joseph’s and Our Lady’s. Both schools have been dependent on external assistance in creating their gardens. Plants, tools, even old tyres, have been donated by the local community and put to good use. Children have learned that working together means both reaching out and accepting help: from the community, from staff members who volunteer to run the gardening clubs, and from each other. Toni, a class five pupil, summed this up well:
“The best thing I have learned is that you have to communicate together and share the space together. It makes the garden stronger when we work as a team.”
Thanks to St Joseph’s and Our Lady’s ongoing support of Mission Together, pupils like Toni are enabling Ajay and children like him to grow strong and healthy too. Through their association with Mission Together and through their gardening clubs, St Joseph’s and Our Lady’s are cultivating in their pupils care and compassion for the world and its people. Nathan, a fellow gardening club member, who proudly and attentively showed me around his school garden, explained that for him:
“I like digging, it helps the garden grow. But the best thing is learning about nature and how important it is to care for the world.”
With your help Mission Together could continue supplying nutrition and healthcare to children on the tea estate, as well as providing other children living in poverty overseas with access to education, shelter, healthcare and the chance to grow in knowledge of God’s love.
For Together in Sri Lanka resources, for other materials to help your school become a Mission Together supporter , or to invite one of our team to deliver an assembly to you pupils, please visit missiontogether.org.uk Mission Together is the children’s branch of Missio, the Pope’s official charity for overseas mission.