Helpful hummingbird ethos helps local kids jointly scoop a GOAL prize

by Padraig Conlon

Third-class pupils from Our Lady Queen of the Apostles National School in Clonburris have been honoured by humanitarian aid agency, GOAL.

The Clondalkin pupils earned a much-deserved prize for demonstrating their contribution and commitment to helping achieve Global Goals.

The children were named as joint winners in the GOAL Changemakers competition for highlighting the issue of food waste and encouraging food suppliers to their school to use biodegradable packaging.

The competition invited primary school pupils all across Ireland to share their actions for global change.

Inspired by Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s story of a hummingbird to “do the best that I can”, the children decided to focus on Sustainable Development Goal 12 for their Changemakers entry: Responsible Consumption and Production.

Shocked by the amount of food packaging and food waste discarded daily in Our Lady Queen of the Apostles NS, they lobbied their school food suppliers to provide reusable utensils and to change to biodegradable packaging.

The pupils also urged their school to buy quality Irish products, and to continue their support of Fairtrade.

The children have vowed to continue their campaign for biodegradable packaging on their lunches and to encourage the use of quality Irish food so that their actions will impact on people in the Global South.

The pupils also composed two songs; one about their desire to not use plastic at school, and a second one in which they sang about changes we can all make to be more conscious of our consumption habits and potential damage to the environment.

Their third class teacher, Paula Frances Galvin, said: “The children have been motivated on this topic for a long time, and it is fantastic that their efforts have been recognised by a global organisation like GOAL.

“The children strive to live up to Mahatma Ghandi’s quote, Be the change you want in the world, and their commitment is admirable to all ages.”

The judging panel, comprising Newstalk presenter Jonathon McCrea, children’s author Sarah Webb, activist and founder of Flossie and the Beach Cleaners, Flossie Donnelly, and GOAL deputy-chief executive Mary Van Lieshout, say they were blown away by the quality of the entries.

Speaking following the announcement of the prize winners, Mary Van Lieshout said the judges were “in awe of how children are making a difference at home and in their schools every day”.

The local pupils were overjoyed to come out on top, saying in a joint statement: “We are so grateful that GOAL liked our project.

“We worked so hard, but enjoyed it so much! We were like the hummingbird from the story and we did the best that we could.”

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