Rosalie picks up her youngest daughter from school near her home in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Arlette Bashizi



Teacher introduction

By the end of this unit, students will: 

  • develop a deep understanding of Solidarity as a principle of Catholic Social Teaching 
  • familiarise themselves with the ways in which Caritas Australia demonstrates solidarity through its work both in Australia and around the world 
  • apply their understanding of Solidarity by creating an action plan of how they will express their heart of concern and service towards the flourishing of others in their local communities. 

This learning sequence has been created using the ‘See, Judge, Act’ model. This reflection–action process was first used by a Belgian Catholic priest, Joseph Cardijn (who later became a Cardinal) with Young Christian Workers prior to the first World War. This approach was also recommended in the 1961 encyclical letter written by Pope John XXIII called Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher). 

Teachers, before you start: 

  • Watch theSolidarity film and familiarise yourself with the pause points. 
  • Provide your students with a copy of the Success Criteria. This will help students self-assess their knowledge and understanding of solidarity throughout the unit. 
  • Explore additional useful readings for teachers, include Pope Francis’ encyclicals Fratelli Tutti and Laudato Si’, as well as the DOCAT. 


Brainstorm (All Years) 

Pose the following questions to gauge your students’ understanding of solidarity. 

  • What is solidarity?  
  • What is it that makes people so willing to reach out to others? 
  • What are some barriers we might face, or what might hold us back, when trying to engage in acts of solidarity?  

Tip: Use an online brainstorming tool such as Mentimeter, where students can use their own devices to add to an online whiteboard in real-time. 

Watch (All Years) 

Watch the Solidarity film, stopping at each of the pause points. Ask students to write down their responses as you go or complete it as a prior learning task at home. 

Discuss (All Years) 

  • Refer students to the start of the film where it states, Imagine a world where each person feels held within a network of solidarity and belonging”. Each person is made equal and with inherent human dignity. Each person has the right to feel like they matter, and that they belong. Ask students to recall a time when they felt like they were part of a network or team – a time when they felt like they belonged. How did this make them feel?  
  • Share the following quote with your students. Ask whether they agree or disagree with it, and challenge them to unpack its meaning.  

Someone who thinks that they are a Christian just because they go to church is wrong. After all, you do not become an automobile if you stand in a garage. (Albert Scheitzer, paraphrased)  

Solidarity in Scripture (Years 7–8) 

Students complete the Solidarity in Scripture – Lower Secondary worksheet where they unpack a scripture passage on solidarity found in Matthew’s Gospel.  

Solidarity in Scripture and Church Teaching (Years 9–10)  

Students complete the Solidarity in Scripture and Church Teaching – Upper Secondary worksheet. This resource guides students as they explore solidarity through scripture, the perspective of church leaders and the sustainable development goals.   

Solidarity in My World (Years 7–8) 

Refer students to the first pause points in the film as it calls for them to reflect on how they themselves have demonstrated acts of solidarity. Ask them to share their answers with the class. This next activity will require them to identify where they have witnessed solidarity around them. 

Discuss: Where have you seen or experienced acts of solidarity in your life? How did these acts improve or help these particular situations? 

Provide students with a copy of the Solidarity in My World – Lower Secondary worksheet. Using this resource, students will fill out a profile for a role model or an individual who inspires them, that has demonstrated solidarity to others in their life.  

You may want to stick the completed profiles around the classroom and have students engage in a gallery walk, so as to deepen their connection with their peers in understanding the people that inspire them.  

Solidarity in My World (Years 9–10)  

Students will need the Solidarity in My World – Upper Secondary worksheet. In this activity, students will recall where they have seen or experienced solidarity in different systems in their world. Complete activity with the discussion questions below: 

  • Share some examples of when you have seen or experienced solidarity. 
  • In which of the groups have you seen or experienced a lack of solidarity? 
  • In which of these systems do you think solidarity is most important? 
  • If we do not see or experience solidarity in these systems, how do you think it can influence our ability to stand in solidarity with our global brothers and sisters? 

Everyone Belongs (All Years) 

Everyone belongs to one human family. Using the Social Media Template resource, ask students to create a series of social media posts that highlight their own unique skills, talents, qualities, cultures, families and traditions. The aim of this activity is for them to identify and share what they bring that makes them such an important member of the class.  

Once done, organise students into groups and ask them to share their posts with their classmates. Ask them to try to identify similarities amongst posts and highlight the idea that, to truly work in solidarity with one another, we must truly know and understand one another.   


Issues in Our World (All years) 

Refer students to the Solidarity film where it highlights that “...the principal of Solidarity extends beyond concern for the good of humanity alone. It is also a commitment to keep and care for the earth, our common home. The two go hand in hand.” Discuss how caring for creation is an act of solidarity.  

People living in poverty are rarely the first to cause environmental degradation, but they are often the ones who bear the greatest impacts of it. They are also the ones who get stuck in ‘a downward spiral’ that forces them to deplete resources or move to marginal or ecologically fragile places simply to survive. The environmental harm that results often impoverishes people more. 

Fast Fashion (Years 7–8)  

As a class, watch this ABC documentary, The Environmental Disaster that is Fuelled by Used Clothes and Fast Fashion on how the rise of fast fashion and used clothing has resulted in an environmental disaster in parts of West Africa.  

Provide students with the following questions to answer at the end of the film: 

  • What is fast fashion?  
  • Explain how the communities in parts of West Africa are using second-hand clothing to earn an income. 
  • What are some of the challenges they face when the clothing is imported from other countries? 
  • What is the impact of this issue on different parts of the environment? (Consider different forms of pollution) 
  • When different parts of the environment are impacted, how does this then impact the local communities? (Think about the flow-on effects such as the impact to farmers and fishers.) 
  • Are Gospel values bring upheld or denied? 
  • How do scriptures speak to this issue? 
  • In Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, he writes about the concept of ‘Integral Ecology’, that is, how caring for creation and caring for each other works hand in hand. One of the important points he mentions is that intergenerational solidarity should be at the heart of all our decisions: Our environment must be preserved for future generations. When it comes to fast fashion, what do you think consumers (people such as you and I) can do to make sure that we are preserving the environment for future generations? 

Environmental Events (Years 9–10)  

Students engage in a research activity. Ask them to consider a recent environmental event in Australia or our region of the world, and research the answers to the following questions. They may wish to select their own issue, or you can select one for the class. 

  • What factors contributed to the event taking place? 
  • How did it impact the lives of local people and communities? Think broadly, but also try to find a specific example of how an individual or community was impacted. 
  • What is helping to restore the health and stability of the environment there now? 
  • What can we do as individuals to assist with the management of this environmental issue? What decisions can we make in our everyday lives? 
  • Are Gospel values being upheld or denied? 
  • How do the Scriptures speak to the issue? 
  • What does the Church have to say about it? 

Students may wish to present their information as a poster, a presentation or simply answer the questions in their workbooks.  


Meditative Breathing Exercise (All Years) 

To truly stand in solidarity with others, we need to look at the things that bind us as one global family. This activity will require students to sit still, quietly and away from others. It will call on them to focus on their breathing as a form of meditation and reflection. You will need a copy of the Breathing Meditation resource to complete this exercise.  

Caritas Australia: In Solidarity (All Years) 

Provide students with this Google Earth activity link. This activity will demonstrate how Caritas Australia works in solidarity with communities around the world. Students will watch case study videos and answer accompanying questions.  

Whiteboard Animation (Years 7–8)  

Focusing on the issue of fast-fashion or another issue of their choice, ask students to create a whiteboard animation that includes the following information: 

  • a definition/explanation of the issue 
  • the impact on individuals and the community 
  • the impact on the environment 
  • include statistics to support your ideas 
  • include a scripture reference or church teaching relevant to the issue and the teaching of solidarity 
  • give examples of ways in which young people can stand in solidarity with these communities to solve these issues. 

Solidarity at School (Years 9–10) 

Using the Social Justice Action Planner resource, students work in groups to come up with an act of Solidarity that can take place at their school.  

You may wish to begin this activity with a brainstorm of the different issues they might want to focus on. This can be something present within their local school community, a state or national issue, or a global social justice issue.  

Ask students to fill out the planner and present it to the class in the form of a pitch. At the conclusion of the activity, you may want to select one or two that the class can run with the school community during the course of the year.  

Alternate Task (All Years) 

Refer students to the final pause points of the Solidarity film.  

When we practice solidarity, our “mutual concern” “finds concrete expression in service”. 

    • How do you serve others: in your household, circle of friends or school community? 
    • What do you have a surplus of, that you could save or share for the sake of others?  

In groups, ask them to discuss their responses with one another and write them down. Using the responses as a starting point, students can create a board game that focuses on the daily choices they can make that allows them to stand in solidarity with our global brothers and sisters. Examples can include choices they make regarding fast fashion, buying fair trade products, recycling and using sustainable products.  

Students can create the board game as a hard-copy version or using an online program.  

There are a number of useful videos on how to create a board game on YouTube such as this How to Design a Board Game video  


Conclude the learning sequence with prayer using the Solidarity Prayer Service resource