Challenge accepted

For a week starting tomorrow, my brother Shane and I will be eating the same rations that a Syrian refugee in Jordan receives, with an aim to raise funds for Act for Peace as they support people affected by conflict around the world.

The ration pack includes a small amount of rice, flour, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, oil and a tin of sardines, which I’m substituting for tofu. We can also earn rewards along the way – so far I’ve earned 70g of milk powder, 170g of veggies, 70g of protein and a spice. I’ve been preparing myself beforehand by cutting out chocolate, leading up to cutting out snacks altogether. I’m hopeful that this will help me have fewer cravings during the week.

I’ve been promoting my fundraising page for a while now, so I thought it was time I shared some thoughts about why we would take up such a challenge.

According to the latest figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 59.5 million forcibly displaced people around the world – 19.5 million of those are considered refugees, and 10 million are stateless.

Each day, 42 500 people are forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution.

Each day.

These people are mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends. They’re families like yours and mine. Sure, they may look and dress a bit different and experience life within a different culture, but they love and breathe in just the same way.

I’m by no means an expert on the refugee situation, or international conflict, but I find it hard to believe that we are doing what we can to support our global community.  We all have a responsibility to care for each other, and with Australia actively providing resources to conduct airstrikes in Syria, plus our involvement in other conflicts around the world, we have even more reason to care for those who are fleeing the violence this has contributed to.

Obviously Shane and I can’t fix any of these international issues, so I guess participating in Act for Peace’s Ration Challenge will be a way that we can contribute to helping people around the world that have been affected. It also gives us a chance to talk to people about the issue, read up and learn more about what people are going through, and think a bit (from our privileged position) about food and its effect on social and emotional wellbeing.

So far, thanks to our awesome sponsors, we’ve raised way more than I could donate as an individual. So if participating in the challenge has helped raise extra funds for Act for Peace, then I’m pretty happy with that!

To sponsor Heather visit https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraisers/heatherdowling.

To sponsor Shane visit https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraiser/shanedowling.

And to keep up to date with my experience throughout the challenge visit https://revivemagazine.org.au/category/ration-challenge-2016/.

Thanks for all your support!

Heather Dowling

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