During refugee week, staff at CGLLEN tried their luck at living off refugee food rations.
Refugee Week, June 18-25, exists to spark awareness and support refugees across the world. As the world sees the modern refugee crisis take place, Act for Peace, a charity organisation, created the Refugee Ration Challenge. Participants raise funds through Act for Peace to provide Syrian refugees in Jordan with ration packs, medicine and education. After raising $100, the participants receive their own ration pack to see what it might be like to eat as a refugee for a week. One difference is that refugees receive one month’s worth of rations as opposed to just one week.
Four team members at Central Grampians LLEN took on the challeng:, Jasmine (Communications Officer), Sarah (Youth Project Officer), Maya (Youth Engagement Officer) and Melissa (Programs Manager).
WHAT DID WE MAKE?
The ration pack contained our diet for the entirety of refugee week: rice (420g), lentils (170g) dried chick peas (85g), tinned sardines (125g), tinned kidney beans (400g) and vegetable oil (300ml), with an additional bag of rice (1.5kg) and flour (400g) through food coupons. In other words, not much.
I think it is fair to say, rice quickly became everyone’s staple, for breakfast lunch and dinner. We tried our hands at making flatbread with flour and water, lentil soup, fried rice with kidney beans, fried rice with sardines, and even making our own hummus with the chickpeas.
Throughout the challenge we could “earn” rewards by reaching certain fundraising targets. Through this we all managed to earn one spice to add to our food throughout the week, which made the monotonous meals somewhat bearable. Tea and coffee were some of the staples we missed the most, especially during work hours. As a comfort, most of us just drank mugs of hot water, though Sarah and Jasmine did raise enough money throughout the week to add eight tea bags to their supply.
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
A lot of interesting discussions took place during the week as we talked about the struggles of refugees, versus our own struggles during the challenge. Yes, we complained about the small amounts of food, or laughed about how much we hated rice, but our hunger faded in comparison to what the struggles of refugees are on a daily basis as they potentially are fleeing their homes, wondering about the well being of their families, wondering if their children will ever return to school and so forth.
We became painfully aware of how easy it is for us to walk away from the challenge, and just buy that burger we were craving, or have a cup of chai latte. Some of us couldn’t even make it through the entire challenge and had to get a fix of our cravings! Our experiences could never match that of a refugee’s, but we can at least try this small challenge to help them.
HOW MUCH DID WE RAISE?
As a team, Central Grampians LLEN raised $818.12. Our team would like to thank all of the people who supported us and in turn supported refugees by donating. To view our fundraising page, or for more information click here.