Australia stands up for refugees
People from all over the country came together last month in an act of solidarity that proved Australians want to do more for refugees.
1,600 dedicated Act for Peace supporters signed up for the Act for Peace Ration Challenge which took place during Refugee Week in June. For seven days they ate exactly the same rations as a Burmese refugee living in a camp on the Thai-Burma border - just a small amount of rice, split peas, flour, salt, fish and oil. That’s it. No meat, coffee, or alcohol!
Karen McGrath / Act for Peace
Thanks to the generosity of friends and family who sponsored them, they raised an incredible $420,000 which will help provide rations, seeds, tools and training to make sure refugees from Burma have enough to eat, and help refugees around the world to build safe, just and dignified lives.
As well as raising vital funds for the world’s most vulnerable people, they also shared their powerful experience with family and friends, bringing the refugee struggle closer to home in a way that was impossible to ignore – raising awareness and changing attitudes (including their own).
We’ve been humbled and inspired at the stories and messages of each and every Ration Challenger who put their money where their mouth is, and took a stand for refugees. Thank you for making a difference!
I only had to do the challenge for a week, unlike many others who eat like this every day. It made me realise how thankful I am to live in Australia and proud that I was able to raise awareness of this issue.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to have conversations with people about refugees and asylum seekers. Many people only engage with popular media and only ever see negative portrayals designed to dehumanise and demonise. I felt the ration challenge gave me a really positive platform to engage people and try to gently get them to open their eyes.
Kirsty, Seville Grove
The ration challenge was hard at times but remembering why I was doing this and how much it could help someone, even just one person, was what kept me going.
Kirsty McCarthy, Glenelg South
It was an eye opening experience. I learnt to appreciate not only what I have and where I live and the country I was born into to, but to also have respect for the refugees who do it so tough. Until this, I had never really done much to understand refugees, but since this challenge I have been more passionate about the issue and have plans to do more for them in my local area.
It was elevating as an activist to see so many people and groups rallying around the cause and contributing in a positive way.
Bec Melrose, Engadine
Before the ration challenge I was very focused on myself. This challenge reminded me that not everyone has the opportunities in life that I do and [I have] the ability to make a difference.
Challenging but exciting! It was one of the best weeks of my life!
Tanisha Bennett, Hoxton Park
It was so humbling and eye opening to realise that this is how people survive... you are aware of these things, but it's not until you are in that situation that it really hits home.
Felicity, Hoppers Crossing
Great experience. This was a tough challenge but very humbling, making my first world problems seem so insignificant.
Tim Symonds, Altona
It was one small way to take personal ACTION on the issue of asylum seekers and refugees at a time when I feel totally hamstrung politically to help effect change or express my support for those seeking protection.
I emerged from the challenge extremely grateful and appreciative of the countless blessings we are privy to in this nation, and with a renewed urgency and determination to prevent people from having to live without adequate nutrition. I'll always remember this experience. Extremely glad I participated in this challenge!
Kirsty Sharneil, Albion Park
Pre-register now for Ration Challenge 2016
This year’s Ration Challenge kits sold out. If you’d like to take the challenge next year, pre-register now to guarantee your place!
More from #RationChallenge 2015!
More ways to take action
Like all children, Alina has dreams for her future. Sadly, most children in rural Pakistan can’t get the education they need to realise their dreams and escape poverty.
Seven years on and Syrian refugees are still in urgent need of our help. Keep hope alive and help provide the food, medical care and support they need.
Together we raised over $3 million during Ration Challenge 2018 - enough to feed more than 10,000 refugees for a year!