This October thousands of students in 310 schools across Australia will focus on social justice and missions as part of ‘Socktober’.
The brainchild of Catholic Mission in Brisbane, Socktober will see primary and high school students sock it to poverty through the universal language of soccer.
David McGovern is the Director of Catholic Mission in the Brisbane Archdiocese and told 96five that the world game gives students an opportunity to reflect on the experiences of fellow students in some of the world’s poorest countries.
“One of the images of the Socktober campaign has been the recycled soccer ball. We’ve made ours out of t-shirts, rags and socks which is then bound up with twine; these are the sort of balls that I’ve witnessed kids around the world playing with. Kids will play with whatever they can get their hands on.”
The campaign will see students raising money on the soccer field through sponsorship for every penalty goal they can kick on the Socktober Event Day. David says that the awareness campaign is just as important, with students undertaking a six week series of educational modules in the lead up.
“A great experience of Socktober is when kids make a recycled soccer ball in one of those modules.
On the event day when they take their shots at goal, they’ll have a combination of shots with a normal soccer ball plus the recycled ball that they’ve made.”
David said that this exercise really helps to build empathy amongst participants.
“There’s a real sense of solidarity with their fellow students and gives a greater understanding of the realities that many children around the world face.”
The educational modules are based on a document released by Pope Francis titled ‘Sport at the Service of Humanity’, where the Pope refers to many of the qualities associated with sport.
“That document talks about joy, compassion and humility, so that document has heavily influenced the modules that students work through as they take part in Socktober this month”.
Supporting the Local Church
One of the major aims of Catholic Mission is to support the local church in 160 countries around the world.
Socktober will focus on the nation of Cambodia, highlighting the work of Bishop Kike and the Arrupe Centre.
The legacy of the Khmer Rouge and decades of civil war are still buried underground, with over 100 Cambodians killed or injured by land mines each year.
David says that the social justice aspect of the campaign will help Australian students understand what their counterparts in other countries have to endure.
“During Socktober we’ll be addressing children who have experienced disablement from land mine explosions, and the work of the church in serving those affected. Bishop Kike and other missionaries are working to help care for and educate those who have been injured. The Arrupe Centre gives those affected training and employment opportunities in the centre, and give children an opportunity that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”
96five is proud to be the media partner throughout the month of Socktober.
You can find a list of participating schools here, and for more information visit the Socktober 2020 website.