TEENAGE churchgoers from Cowplain, Catherington and Clanfield endured a weekend of slum living to raise money to help some of the world’s poorest people.
The group of 10 young people joined up to do Slum Survivor – where they built shelters, ate small quantities of rice and lentils, and lived without technology for two nights, raising an estimated £1,500 for Soul Action.
They built their shelters and cooked their meals in the grounds of St Wilfrid’s Church in Cowplain.
Soul Action aims to educate young people about poverty and raise money to help people in developing countries.
The group had to collect materials such as wood pallets, old tarpaulins and cardboard boxes to build shelters with.
They were allowed to bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, a flannel, towel, soap, a change of underwear, a sleeping bag and a plate and cutlery – but nothing else.
They cooked over a fire, eating two small meals of rice, lentils and spices a day.
The weekend included challenges and reflection times. The water challenge saw their tap being switched off, and having to walk half a mile to a churchwarden’s house to collect water – emulating the struggle many people face to collect water in developing countries.
An unexpected challenge was the tearing down of one of the shelters while the group was collecting water, to simulate a government tearing down a slum.
The group had to rebuild the shelter and make it stronger.
Jenny Tait, youth leader at St James Church, Clanfield, said ‘The boredom challenge was very difficult. By Saturday afternoon, everyone was feeling a bit wobbly from tiredness and lack of food, and they had to entertain themselves.
‘Everyone was struck by the lack of purpose in people’s lives – there’s nothing to do but survive.
‘The boys played Frisbee with their plates, and the girls sat and chatted and made daisy chains.
‘Then later we sat round the fire, sang and told stories. There was a real sense of community.’