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Disasters

To think about those affected by current disasters around the world.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To think about those affected by current disasters around the world.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly can be delivered solely by the teacher or can be used for discussion with older children. If so an OHP would be useful.
  • The assembly could be used in connection with a collection for a charity.
  • It can also be used as a class assembly presented to the rest of the school. If so, read through the poem carefully and discuss it with your class. The lines can be divided up for individual children to read or learn. A variety of different voices and good expression will give more impact to the material.
  • It is written in first person script format to make it easier to be delivered by children, but the words can be adapted to include the children’s own thoughts and ideas.

Assembly

  1. Good morning, everyone.

    What is wrong with the world today?
    What can we do? What can we say?
    Every time we turn on the box we’re likely to get some terrible shocks.

    We’re faced every day with such awful scenes,
    Of heart-breaking things that are flashed on our screens.
    People are suffering through famine or flood,
    We see earthquakes, tornadoes, destruction and blood.

    People are homeless, dying, at war.
    Should it be happening? What’s it all for?
    Where’s it all leading? When will it end?
    Can things be solved? Will those lives ever mend?

    It’s easy to shut out the suffering and strife,
    Thinking too much of our own busy life.
    Like the ostrich who buries his head in the sand
    Should we try to forget, or perhaps lend a hand?

    It all seems so senseless, and what’s it all for?
    Why so much suffering affecting the poor?
    Why such corruption, such hatred and greed,
    Which makes life so hard for those in need?

    These are the questions we have to address
    In sorting the problems and clearing the mess.
  2. Throughout history there have always been disasters – sometimes they are caused by severe weather conditions, sometimes by war. We can even find references to them in the Bible. (If time allows links could be made to one of these stories, e.g. Noah and the great flood, Genesis 6–9; the city of Sodom, Genesis 18–19; Joseph and the famine in Egypt, Genesis 37–45; or Moses and the plagues of Egypt, Exodus 1–12, to name but a few.)
  3. We are very fortunate in this country that we do not get really extreme weather conditions. Most people have enough food to eat and warm clothes to wear. We have comfortable homes to live in. We can sleep safely in our beds at night. Sadly this is not the case in many parts of the world today. (You could pause here to mention some current trouble spots.)
  4. We should be grateful for what we have, and we should not forget those people who are suffering or dying at this very moment somewhere in the world. Fortunately there are groups of people who work hard collecting money, food and clothes to send to poorer countries. The governments of rich countries such as ours also send money and provisions to those in need.

    We too can help by sending donations to the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, Save the Children, Christian Aid, Cafod or Oxfam. At certain times of the year we can help by supporting Children in Need, Red Nose Day, Comic Relief and other important appeals. It would be impossible to support them all but choosing just one and sending some of our money to them could help someone in need.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Close your eyes and listen again to the words of the poem. What do they say to you?

Prayer

Dear God,
Let us pray for all those who are in need, whatever their background or beliefs.
Let us hope that the governments of the richer countries will work together
to bring help to the poorer ones.
Bless the poor, heal the sick and comfort all those who have lost their loved ones.
Let us be thankful and appreciate what we have.
We thank you for our families, our homes and our food.
Help us to be tolerant of others and of all the religions in the world
so that we can all live together in peace.
Be with us this day and always.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Kum ba yah’ (Come and Praise, 68)

Publication date: November 2005   (Vol.7 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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