MasterChef star helps support refugees

MasterChef Australia 2013 contestant Rishi Desai has helped raise over $385,000 during the Act for Peace Ration Challenge last week. The fundraising initiative, run by international aid agency Act for Peace, challenged people from around Australia to eat the exact same Rations as a Burmese refugee for during Refugee Week, June 14th-20th. Participants received a ration kit at the start of the week that comprised a small amount of split peas, salt, oil, flour and fish paste.

Rishi supported the 1,500 Ration Challenge participants by providing recipes and tips on how to best cook the limited rations. He said: “Being part of the Ration Challenge made me realise the struggle refugees face getting a square meal everyday while we take our food for granted. I hope the recipes help with this challenge and raise awareness about the refugee struggle in our community.

Rishi’s Ration Challenge recipes were a far cry from the delicious and inspired Indian cuisine that made him a viewers’ favourite on Australia’s most popular cooking show. With the restricted ration ingredients of rice, split peas, salt, flour, oil and a small amount of fish, Rishi served up some creative ideas for participants including fish parathas, rice with tadka dal, flavoured vegetable oil, fried rice and fish ravioli.

Participants from all over Australia agreed the challenge was tough, but worth it.

“I was humbled and encouraged by the support of generous sponsors. Quite moved by knowing that together we have made a difference to so many people. Having lost 2kg in the ration challenge week and feeling quite tired at the end of every day, I was very conscious of the potential effects on people who are living on those rations for years. The problems of malnutrition must be enormous. The creative energy of so many fellow Ration Challengers is certainly a sign of hope for the future,” said Jeff Wild, a Ration Challenge participant.

Participants in this year’s Ration Challenge raised enough to feed 1785 refugees for an entire year. The funds will help to make sure Burmese refugees have enough to eat by providing rations; seeds, training and tools as well as helping refugees around the world can build safe, just and dignified lives.

Ration Challenge organiser Sadie Moore said that by taking the challenge participants were not only supporting refugees around the world but also changing the conversation around refugees in Australia.

“Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s Ration Challenge. The challenge is a tangible way for people in Australia to stand up for refugees. The money raised will support refugees around the world and by taking action, Australians have brought the refugee struggle closer to home in a way that’s been impossible to ignore. Together we are making a difference for refugees and creating a more compassionate society,” said Sadie.

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