Year 10 students from Sevenoaks School found themselves entering a slum last week, specially constructed in one of their conference halls.
140 students squeezed into a room which had been completely transformed for Empathy Action’s ‘Poverty Trap’ simulation. During the afternoon they learnt something of what it meant to live hand-to-mouth by putting themselves in the place of those who live with the daily reality of devastating poverty and injustice.
Afterwards students talked about the impact the experience had had on them. Kat Vrolijk, a current student who had taken part in the simulation two years before, spoke to the students about the way in which it had encouraged her to take positive steps to help make a difference. She challenged the students to look at ways they could get involved in the fight against global poverty.
Geography teacher, Sue Macleay, praised the benefits of this type of immersive activity, saying,
We are conscious that there is a danger of teaching facts about the world’s poorest in the same way as we teach plate tectonics or coastal erosion – hopefully in a lively and engaging way but lacking empathy… experiences such as the Poverty Trap simulation have a huge impact on students which will remain with them long after they’ve forgotten detailed statistics and other exam revision… This simulation has had a powerful and often sustained impact on our students.
If you’re interested in bringing our simulations to your own school, whether you’re a student or a teacher, please do contact us. Our simulations are also very applicable to businesses and community groups so whoever you are, don’t hesitate to get in touch.