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Harvest: Feed the Minds

To stress the importance of reading and link this with a harvest theme.

by By the Feed the Minds team

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To stress the importance of reading and to link this to a harvest theme.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need example materials as featured in 3. below.
  • Read through the story in advance.
  • This assembly has been provided by Feed the Minds, a charity 'with a difference'. They seek to address the root causes of poverty by bringing literacy training and relevant literature to the peoples of the developing world. Their grants to local community groups and publishers mean that people can educate and produce books in their own language to meet local needs. A harvest resource pack is available from the Feed the Minds website:


  1. Ask the children if they have ever been ill. What happened? How did you get better? Gain responses from them until someone has mentioned medicine and a doctor/hospital. Note: You will need to be aware of and be sensitive to any children who have serious illnesses and who will feel uncomfortable talking about this.

  2. Read or tell this story about a boy called Layeni who was ill.

    Layeni is a small boy who lives with his mother, father and two older sisters in a small village in Kenya. There is no school in the village and so none of Layeni's family can read, write or do much maths. They earn their living by planting seeds to grow vegetables on their small plot of land.

    One day Layeni fell ill. He was hot and sticky and kept being sick. Everyone was very worried about him and his mother Nashilu knew that she needed to get him to a doctor. She had heard that there was a hospital in the next town and that the doctors there might be able to help.

    Early one morning Nashilu and Layeni set off on their long journey. It would take them about a day to reach the hospital. Because they were poor they had to walk the whole way, and because Layeni was ill his mother had to help him along and often carried him.

    Eventually they reached the hospital and saw the doctor. He examined Layeni and knew what was wrong with him. He told Nashilu that he had medicine which would help her son and gave her a bottle with the instructions written on it. He also explained them to her, and then Nashilu and Layeni began their long walk home.

    When they reached their village everyone was so pleased that they had some medicine to make Layeni better. But when Nashilu came to give it to him she found that she couldn't remember exactly what the doctor had said. She was so tired and exhausted by her long journey that her memory of the instructions was hazy. Nashilu knew that if she didn't give enough medicine her son wouldn't get better, but if she gave too much that would be dangerous too. The instructions were written on the bottle but no one in the family could read them.

    Then Nashilu remembered that there was a church in the next village and the leader of the church (called a pastor) could read her medicine bottle. The next village was only one hour's walk away and so it didn't take Nashilu long to get there. The pastor told her what the instructions on the bottle said. He also told her that he was starting some reading classes for women like Nashilu and asked her if she would like to come. Nashilu quickly agreed and then hurried home with two pieces of good news.

    Layeni soon got better once he had the medicine in the right amounts, and once his mother started to go to her own reading classes they never had the same problem again.

  3. Point out that Nashilu and her family had a problem because they couldn't read the instructions on the medicine bottle. If you can't read there are lots of things you will never find out, or won't be able to understand. Show the children the items you have brought and ask them what important things Nashilu's family wouldn't know if they couldn't read:

    bus timetable
    seed packet
    bank/money statement
    food packet (e.g. dried milk)

  4. Feed the Minds

    If your school or church is supporting Feed the Minds as part of your Harvest appeal, explain that any money raised will go to help women like Nashilu learn to read. Once they can read, their whole life can change. They can find out about better jobs, borrow money without being cheated and read instructions and information about all sorts of things.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Thank you that in this country we can all come to school
and learn to read and write and do our maths.
Thank you for our teachers, classroom assistants and parents
who listen to us and help us when we make mistakes.
We pray for people like Nashilu
and ask that more projects will be set up like the one we've heard about today.
Thank you, God.


'Lord of the Harvest' (Come and Praise, 133)

Publication date: September 2003   (Vol.5 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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