Kick out injustice this Lent

24 February 2020

Davi and Dario meet with primary school children

Pupils from Our Lady of Lourdes primary school met with Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami indigenous leader, and his son Dario.

Primary and secondary schools always make amazing efforts to support our work. Last Lent was no exception. Together schools raised more than £100,000. Thank you!

This Lent, CAFOD’s school resources focus on people in the Amazon whose land and homes are being lost.

Showing injustice the red card

The Amazon is a vast region spanning nine countries. Living there, as well as three million indigenous people, are many traditional fishing communities, small farmers and people who live from fruit and nut collecting. They have lived in harmony with the rainforest for thousands of years. Now their way of life, which protects the forest and values the land, is under threat. Their rights are being ignored. This is unjust.

On 5 February at our office in London, pupils from CAFOD Clubs at two primary schools met with Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami indigenous leader, and his son Dario to find out more.

Communities are losing their land to mining activity and big farming companies. The mining contaminates land and rivers. The farming leads to large areas being cleared for cattle grazing or single crops.

If we destroy the Amazon rainforest it will affect all life on earth. Communities like Davi’s are the last line of defence against those who seek to extract resources from the forest.

Dangerous work

People who stand up for their land rights are often threatened and sometimes killed. In the last decade more than 300 people have been killed in conflicts over the use of land and resources in the Amazon.

In the Brazilian Amazon, CAFOD supports lawyers who defend people’s right to land and to have a safe place to live.

It is dangerous work. The lawyers often receive death threats. Despite that, thanks to their support, more than 80,000 families in the Amazon now have a safe place to build homes, grow food, and make a living.

This is good news! But many other families need their rights to be defended too. So we have been calling on schools this Lent to show injustice the red card.

See our secondary school Lent resources

Defend the defenders

After asking Davi and Dario how CAFOD has supported their community, the school pupils wanted to know how they can help too.

Every minute, an area of Amazon rainforest bigger than a football pitch is destroyed.

That’s why, to defend families whose human rights are being ignored, we have been asking schools to do football-themed fundraisers for Lent.

In January, we sent secondary schools a “Defend the defenders” pack and primary schools a “What’s your goal?” pack. There are lots more resources on our website, including videos and assemblies, to help students understand what is happening in the Amazon, pray for the people who live there and get involved in making a difference.

See our primary school Lent resources

What’s your goal?

Not every student wants to take part in a football match or keepie-uppie challenge, but we’ve already heard from schools setting their fundraising goal and using football as the theme. Spot-the-ball competitions, quizzes, hunt the mascot, table-top finger football matches…the creative possibilities are endless!

Bishop Challoner Secondary School in Basingstoke has constructed a goal net in the library. Every time a form raises £10 they get to stick a mini football cut-out onto the net.

Get in touch

We would love to hear about, celebrate and share the creative ways schools have been engaging with CAFOD this Lent. If you work in school yourself, or know any teachers or chaplains, please pass on the news that photographs can be sent to schools@cafod.org.uk. Thank you!

Lent 2019 update

Our Lent resources in 2019 featured Rabiul and his parents, Mahinur and Khalek, in Bangladesh. Tragically, Rabiul died of a fever a few months later. Mahinur asked if you would please pray for Rabiul’s soul to rest in peace. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thanks to Lenten donations by parishes and schools, the family had been part of a new project in southern Bangladesh helping communities adapt to the changing climate and earn a living. Mahinur and Khalek will continue to be part of the project and are being supported by agriculture expert Jamal and the local Caritas team through this difficult time.

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