Worlds apart

22nd October 2004 at 01:00
Tom Deveson suggests resources that offer a valuable insight into the lives of people in need

Working Children Worldwide

Save the Children pound;15

Tel: 01752 202301

Abu Lives in Kenya

Christian Aid pound;17.50, includes teacher's booklet

Tel: 08700 78 77 88

I am Here

Save the Children pound;15, including video

Tel: 01752 202301

However, we are also shown the outlines of hope. Guddi attends an informal primary school and is being trained for less dangerous work. Amadou has the chance to grow vegetables and attend literacy classes.

An excellent guide for teachers accompanies the striking posters and provides space for these and other child labourers to tell more of their stories. It is packed with ideas for classroom work with children in key stages 2 and 3, and there are many activities to promote the use of language of informed empathy, such as composing job advertisements for Victorian farm labourers and campaigning against the use of footballs stitched by poorly paid children. Phrases such as "fair trade" and "global action" are given substance, and a moral and political dimension.

The big book, Abu Lives in Kenya, introduces just one child, and a happier one. Twenty-four pages of fine photos take us on a tour of Abu's town, show us the bent heads of children in his strict school and let us meet his hard-working mother as she sells chips in the street.

Two religious themes emerge: the work of Christian Aid in setting up a self-help group that provides health advice for women, and Abu's own Islamic faith, displayed here in scenes of prayer and study. The helpful explanatory text is woven attractively around the pictures.

There are nine photocopiable activity sheets in the accompanying booklet, all appropriate for children at key stage 2. The co-operation of Christians and Muslims in the work of development features in a direct and most timely manner. Pupils are also invited to use atlases and maps, to provide instructions for games, such as Abu's favourite koko (a bit like hopscotch), to distinguish between wants and needs, to consider the nature of pilgrimage and to compare Abu's thousand-pupil school and one-room home with their own.

Older pupils at KS3 or in youth groups will learn a lot from the I Am Here pack, an example of Christian Aid's belief in "life before death".

The 45-minute video contains enough material to stimulate six hour-long lessons, its central idea being that refugees and asylum-seekers need the same sense of identity and belonging as residents of the society they join.

Direct autobiographical testimony from four new Geordies - originally from Kurdish areas of Turkey and from Bolivia - is linked with suggestions for teachers and trainers. The most interesting of these involve the use of drama as a way of creating empathy.

The book provides lesson plans in substantial and intelligent detail.

Working through it will enable students to think about how trust is built, to explore how prejudice develops and to go beyond the crassness of tabloid headlines.

The story of Paul Gascoigne is used to show how the media can create distressing uncertainty between truth and untruth. Well-researched background information and lists of websites make this a very useful resource. Its beneficial effect should be felt beyond the classroom.

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