Friday, 31 May 2013

Food for thought

I was recently contacted by Save the Children about a new report looking at the connection between malnutrition and literacy/ability to learn.
As you all know my children are home educated, we are lucky enough to have enough food to eat and to live in a country where there are many choices regarding education. It is still shocking to me to know that many children are not fit enough physically, due to malnutrition, to be able to learn as effectively as my own. Every child has the right to enough food to be able to make the most of the wonderful world of learning we have around us, regardless of where they are in the world.

The results of the report are very worrying, here are some numbers:

And this is the story of Nguoth (from a Save the Children case study):

Although he is 12 years old, Nguoth looks about eight. Like many students in his class, for two years he had to drop out of school because there wasn’t enough food at home. He still misses school at least two days a week to go into the bush to find wild fruits. On the other days, he comes to school hungry. In 2010, the UN declared Akobo, the region where Nguoth lives, the ‘the hungriest place on earth’. Drought, floods and inter-communal conflict have left a third of children malnourished.

Malnutrition is an underlying cause of 2.3 million children’s deaths a year, and for millions more children contributes to failures in cognitive and educational development. As a result, the life chances of millions of children around the world are devastated. The long-term consequences of child malnutrition for health and resilience to disease are well established. But new evidence commissioned by Save the Children, for the first time identifies the impact of malnutrition on educational outcomes across a range of countries.

So how can we help? Save the Children have many suggestions!
  • Sign up to ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE IF: sign the petition here
  • Attend the rally in Hyde Park on the 8th June, more info here
  • Support Save the Children in any way you can
  • Watch the video by Lindsay Atkin and share it 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Beltane Festival at Celtic Harmony in Hertfordshire

Today is a holiday in England and luckily the weather is a gorgeous 22 degrees and sunny! We headed towards Hertford to attend a Beltane Festival at the Iron Age education centre Celtic Harmony.

Beltane is the Gaelic May Day celebration. It marks the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush; a thorn bush decorated with flowers, ribbons and bright shells. Holy wells were also visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. Many of these customs were part of May Day or Midsummer festivals in other parts of Great Britain and Europe.

Isaac was not very well so we did not stay for the music, dance and ritual (this evening), I was looking forward to it but I guess these things can wait till the boys are older. They enjoyed the time there and we liked using Celtic money instead of pounds. This is what we did today:

Walking into the site you can see the chieftain roundhouse on the right

First stop: sand pit

The play area was nice

The boys were captivated by the ravens

Campfire and basket weaving

They spent ages trying to send the smoke the other way!

We loosely followed a trail around the woods, I have to say it was
one of the best we've done, magical!

The event was sold out but not over booked and the atmosphere
was relaxed and very friendly

Exploring the woods

We were very excited by this but never found him... there was a storyteller
in that direction though

Our last activity, Reuben tried archery, he was very good but such a
perfectionist! He got upset he hit the target but the arrow didn't stick,
I heard him say to the instructor: I only have little arms...

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