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Quilting the U.N. Charter in Navan
by Hannah Clarke, St Michael's Loreto, Navan, Co. Meath.

The reports on this project scored highly in the Junior Certificate CSPE Exam of 2001, but it didn't start out as a CSPE Action Project.

In 1998, the Religion teachers in St. Michael's Loreto, Navan decided to honour the 50th Anniversary of the United Nation Charter of Human Rights by creating a school quilt. There were 29 classes that year: an article was assigned to each class and the teachers took responsibility for the 30th Article.

Each class decided on a way to express the core message of the article artistically on fabric. A group of 6th years sewed the pieces together. The quilt was first used as a symbol at the Opening Year Mass and was later featured on RTE as part of an Amnesty International promotion. Following this the school received an invitation from the Irish Missionary Union (IMU) to bring the quilt to their annual conference.

The class named ALMA was studying the Human Rights Charter in CSPE, and they decided to accept the invitation as the basis for a CSPE Action Project. During CSPE class the students made a list of tasks and assigned sections to groups of students. They booked a bus and informed their teachers that they would be absent from class on the day.

On arrival at the Conference building two students identified themselves to the organisers. Another group of students arranged the draping of the quilt at a focal point. The students began their presentation with an ice-breaker exercise. In advance they had created introduction cards, which had brief descriptions of individual students. They distributed the cards to the participants, who in turn had to identify and meet up with their group leader. Each student then facilitated a brief introduction session with adults and students exchanging bits of information about themselves.

After the introduction a group of students explained the origin of the quilt and the relevance of the U.N. Charter to young people. Each student had an opportunity for some public speaking. The students attended the remainder of the conference and interacted with the missionaries during the day. Afterwards, evaluating the day, the students recognised a value in young people and justice workers supporting each other.. Some students photographed the quilt. They then photocopied the photograph onto an A4 page, added a printed message, and folded over as a card.

The students made a list of people who worked to promote justice both at home and abroad. Each student took one name from the list, got an address, wrote a message of thanks and encouragement on the card and posted it to the "Justice Advocate". The project provided opportunities for all the students to engage in group work and public speaking. They practised a variety of communication skills when they met with the missionaries; learned how to access addresses and craft positive messages of support and appreciated the value of interacting with people from different cultures and age groups.