My six-year-old son Mark has an ambition in life. At one stage, he wanted to be a famous author. At other times, he has quite fancied being a professional footballer, helping Tottenham Hotspur thrash Arsenal.
But his abiding ambition is even more noble. He wants ‘to save Africa’. In his simple analysis, he wants to open supermarkets across Africa, so that people can buy enough food to live. When faced with the question, “Where will they get the money?” he has a simple reply: “I’ll build money shops as well.”
Sorted. Now take over 10 and 11 Downing Street, Mark. You can do it.
I thought I’d encourage his thinking about world issues. You can’t start them too young when they already care about the poor, can you? So Mark and I set about this afternoon going around the websites of various Christian relief and development agencies, in search of suitable resources to stimulate his interest.
We gathered only slightly more than zilch.
World Vision, nothing. Christian Aid, zero. Methodist Relief and Development Fund, nada. Compassion, you can sponsor a child but I couldn’t find anything for children who are interested in their projects. Nil points.
Only TEAR Fund had anything, and it wasn’t much. It took some devious searching to find a page of ‘children’s resources’, and it hadn’t been updated since 23rd June. All of these organisations had plenty for teenagers. Apparently, you only care when you get into the church youth group.
So come on, Christian relief and development charities, where is your material to inspire primary age children? Mark and Rebekah’s school supports a charity working in Uganda, Chilli Children. Is it that you have resources but they are buried under centuries of rubble on your sites? Or don’t you think six-year-olds know that Jesus cares about the poor?
Maybe someone reading this can point me to what I’ve missed, because Mark and I would dearly like to find some good Christian educational material for primary-age children. It must be there, but where is it?
UPDATE: following a conversation on Facebook, I have now been made aware that the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (possibly the smallest of the agencies I mentioned, except for Chilli Children) has a sister site, World AIMS. I found this site earlier, but was put off by the specific reference to Methodist schools (many of which are fee-paying). However, if you click on ‘Resources’, you can find various items of educational material, classified according to Key Stage. (For non-Brits reading this, the Key Stages are used in the British education system, and roughly correspond as follows: KS1 is ages 5 to 7; KS2, ages 7 to 11; KS3, ages 11 to 14; KS4, ages 14 to 16.) It could be easier to find, and the name of the website put me off the scent.
My son has started asking about this sort of thing as well. I attempted to get him closer to the poor and homeless through a local food pantry failed the first time because I was hesitant to drive in poor weather. We shall try again. My personal belief is that only in doing can my son really learn what it’s like and what he can do. I don’t know how that works where you live and I’m not sure it will work for my boy, but it’s the route I’m taking for now.
That’s great. One of the things I’d really like for Mark is some kind of regular email or magazine that provides information that goes a bit beyond the “It’s not fair that cocoa producers only get a small return on what they produce for our chocolate.”
Now I am on board. I too wish for this bigger picture sort of thing. I’ll take a look at the resource you’ve found and see what I think.