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Students unite to kick poverty


School students around the State will be kicking ‘sockballs’ in their spare time next month to remind themselves of children who are living in poverty around the world. 

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Catholic Mission’s annual Socktober event has taken on a different look this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, however the focus remains the same.

“The soccer-themed community engagement program aims to teach students about global mission and social justice through the principles of Pope Francis’ Sport at the Service of Humanity,” said Tony Johnston, Catholic Mission director for the Archdiocese of Adelaide.

“During each week of Socktober students will learn about mission in a different part of the world and how our actions can positively impact on the lives of children and their families in developing countries like India, Ethiopia, Thailand and Cambodia.

“We are also encouraging students and their families to make a ‘sockball’ – like those found on playgrounds across Africa – using old socks, T shirts, bubble wrap and a plastic shopping bag.

“While the family has some fun kicking the ball around in the backyard, it will also serve as a poignant reminder that for some children in the world, this is the only type of soccer ball they have to play with.”

This year more than 60 schools in Adelaide and Port Pirie have signed up to learn about socktober, which is run in conjunction with World Mission Month – a time when Catholics join together to support and celebrate missionary work.

Mr Johnston (pictured) said that since taking over the director’s role in the Archdiocese he had been privileged to visit many parishes and schools around the State.

“I come from a background in sales and business roles which has allowed me to maintain a close involvement in education for nearly 20 years,” he said.

“I’m really delighted that through my role I am able to continue that association working alongside schools and parishes to raise awareness about the work of Catholic Mission.”

Raised in Port Pirie and having lived in Darwin for three years, Mr Johnston has strong connections to country SA and NT. His wife Julia from Quorn is involved in Catholic education as a choir trainer and music tutor, and the couple’s five children attended St Joseph’s Payneham and Cabra College.

For more information about World Mission Month go to



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