“Being selfish is a terrible thing – but giving makes you happy”. That was the message from Father Themi Adampoulo to Year 10 students in Assembly on Thursday (16 March).
The Orthodox monk was visiting St Andrew's as part of a UK tour to raise awareness about his work with the charity, Paradise4Kids, to help to alleviate poverty in Sierra Leone.
He explained how children in the UK have many privileges compared to those in Sub-Saharan Africa such as shoes, a bed, regular meals and a proper education, before showing a moving video about the situation in Sierra Leone and how he and his fellow priests live among the poor to help provide hope, food, education and love.
During a Q&A session he explained how he grew up in Australia and had no faith. He founded and played bass guitar for The Flies, a popular rock group who played alongside greats such as The Rolling Stones. He gave it up to go to university where he became a Marxist. He then went through a hippy stage before finding what he was looking for in Christianity and Jesus Christ.
“Don’t feel guilty about your privileges; but do feel obliged to find some ways to help others,” urged Fr Themi, who said he was a great admirer of the late Mother Theresa.
Headteacher, Mr. Robert Ahearn, thanked Fr Themi for visiting the school and presented him with a cheque for £420 raised by students during a recent non-uniform day.
“One of our core values is support others, especially those less fortunate, and I do hope that in the future we will be able to develop links with your education programmes in Freetown,” he said.