School takes part in religious festival
34 members of school staff, including governors, from Archbishop Blanch Church of England High School took part in the Ramadan Challenge. For one day the staff fasted in solidarity with students and members of the local Muslim community, fasting from sunrise to sunset. The challenge was the brainwave of Amirah Akhtar, born and raised in Merseyside. She often felt that, as a Muslim herself, the Muslim community had a duty to include their non-Muslim friends, colleagues and loved ones in the Ramadan experience, to share the beauty and taste the sweetness of Ramadan. One of the school’s core values is community which helps create an environment where students feel valued and safe to talk about their faith, ethnicity, culture or sexuality. It has also given a real chance to link with groups like the Seven Wells Trust, a local Muslim organisation that, amongst other work, provides food packages and care for all members of the community and supports local and international charities which are extremely important to its school and local population. Headteacher, Mrs Madeloso, said: “We have always acknowledged and provided space for Muslim students when fasting but perhaps never fully understood the huge effort and commitment that is needed to fast throughout Ramadan. That is one of the main reasons why staff have pledged to spend a day in the life of a Muslim student, to understand what it is like to wake up at 3am, eat and then spend a full day in school and the physical demands that it takes to work/study for one full day. “In effect, we are empowering students in their identity and strengthening the teacher/student relationship through experiential learning. “The obvious highlight was when we break the fast but it gave us an opportunity to gather with the local community to share the common values of thanksgiving, friendship and trust.” Through sponsorship, staff from Archbishop Blanch raised funds to support the Al-Sabeen Hospital in Yemen. This hospital is the only centre with a functioning Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where children can access adequate medical care. The hospital’s services are often provided for free, which is extremely unusual. The hospital has very close links to Liverpool, which is why the school chose to support it.