• May 18, 2018
The ration challenge is putting Kiwis in the shoes of refugees in hardship. Photo: Artur Francisco/Oxfam.
Thousands of New Zealanders are taking part in a ration food challenge to fundraise money for refugees in need.
The Ration Challenge has partnered up with Oxfam New Zealand as part of refugee week which will commence June 17.
4000 Kiwi’s over the age 18 will eat the same rations as Syrian refugees for a week, while raising money to support refugees in need.
Kelsey-Rae Taylor, Media and Communications advisor for Oxfam New Zealand, says the Ration Challenge is a hands-on approach that will give vital support to refugees.
“The Ration Challenge shows refugees, New Zealanders’ are standing with them and supporting them, financially, as well as helping to open up a conversation around the real challenges refugees face,” she says.
Ms Taylor says participants are asked to commit to do their best in raising a minimum of $500 by June 30.
Participants are sent a small amount of rice, flour, lentils, beans, chickpeas, fish and oil, with the chance to earn various food rewards for extra money raised.
The money raised will help support Syrian refugees in Jordan who have fled seven years of conflict and violence by providing them with food rations, medical care, education and urgently needed assistance.
Pou Stirling aims to raise $1000 and says he has decided to do the challenge to raise awareness and to encourage New Zealanders to help restore faith, hope and love in Syria.
“Many of us take food for granted... The worst part is that many of us throw food away and yet there are many people who even tonight will go without,” he says.
Mr Stirling has also chosen to live outside in a tent for the duration of the challenge.
“The Refugees of Syria have no home to go to, so why should I take a challenge of this nature in the comfort and warmth of my own home?” he says.
Some members of the public have raised concern towards the challenge, suggesting Kiwis should first be focussing on ending poverty in New Zealand.
Ration Challenge participant Angela Eagle says she would love to be able to end the poverty in New Zealand but doesn’t have the financial stability to do so.
She says the ration challenge will raise awareness towards hardships of refugees and people suffering from poverty in New Zealand face every day.
“I will be happy to raise more than $100 but the main goal for me is to make sure more people are aware of the situations these innocent people are in,” she says.
Mr Stirling says Kiwis must remember the worldwide support New Zealand has had in times of crisis.
He says New Zealand should reciprocate the support it receives and give back to those in need.