More than 250,000 school pupils have pledged to commit to a 40 day walk challenge and raise money to tackle global poverty and the climate crisis.
Over 600 schools from across all regions of England & Wales have signed up to walk 200km over 40 days as part of the Big Lent Walk for Cafod. The focus this year is on those communities that are most vulnerable to the climate crisis and extreme weather events and how to protect their livelihoods.
Schools that have signed up include St Anthony’s Primary School in Dulwich South London, where the pupils are aiming to walk a combined 3000km (the approximate distance between us and the earthquake zone in Turkey and Syria) Schools that sign up are sent a fundraising pack. A school in Anfield, Liverpool has seen a team of Poverty Busters organise litter pick drives close to their school to improve their local environment and drive up their daily step count.
Headteacher Jeremy Barnes, at All Saints Catholic Primary School in Anfield, says:
“The Big Lent Walk is a great opportunity for physical exercise, as well as a learning opportunity for pupils on the global climate crisis.
“The Poverty Busters, a group set up by some Year 5 pupils, will be raising money by walking the 200km over the Lent period.
"This is a wonderful chance for our pupils to team up with residents and parents to explore our local environment, to share reflections about its future, and work in partnership to improve it for everyone in our community.
The Poverty Busters themselves said:
“Lent is a festival when people give up something important. So we gave up some of our free time to walk 200,000 meters by 6th April. The distance is being split between all nine Poverty Busters, and our headteacher!
“We are going to get sponsored and raise as much money as possible for the charity CAFOD. It will help people who have to live in places with dangerous weather that make their jobs difficult. Like in Bangladesh, a country in Asia, where farms are at risk of really bad floods.”
Anyone can take part in the Big Lent Walk, where individuals and groups are also challenging themselves to walk 200km over 40 days.
200km is the equivalent of:
running across 1,953 football fields
climbing The Shard 645 times
walking up and down the Channel Tunnel 4 times
climbing Blackpool Tower 1,265 times.
Over 250,000 schoolchildren have already pledged to walk, cycle or exercise, while tracking their progress on their own fundraising page. Some schools have even teamed up to take on the challenge together. How and when the walk is done is up to everyone and schools can walk their own distance as part of their usual routine. For those taking on the 200km challenge, it equals 5km a day over 40 days.
This year a particular focus is to protect vulnerable communities against the threat of extreme weather.
The money will help people such as Dristy and her mum Rupali in Bangladesh. Together, they protect nature by building seed beds and planting palm trees to protect crops from flooding and cyclones.
£10 raised can provide four palm trees to protect land from extreme weather.
£26 can provide tools and training to build raised beds to protect vegetables from floods.
£185 can provide a place on a two-week course: growing food and adapting to extreme weather.