It’s a challenge that gives you the opportunity to understand what life is like for someone as a refugee.
Act For Peace’s Ration Challenge aims to raise awareness and funds to provide food, clothes, shelter and medicine to the 84 million refugees who have been forced to flee their home due to war.
Australian school teacher Stephen Spiteri is taking up this year’s challenge to survive off the same rations as a refugee for a week – it will be his fourth year in a row.
“This one seemed like a really interesting challenge… I thought I’d need to do something that’s actually challenging me and putting me in the shoes of someone in need,” Mr Spiteri said.
He uses the challenge as a lesson, for the kids he teaches, of people in the world who don’t have the freedom that we do in Australia – they have to leave their homes to create better lives for their families.
“Families in these refugee camps, they [survive off rations] for months, some even years on end, and it’s heart breaking and I thought the little I can do and the lessons I can impart on my children and the boys I teach at the school that I work at is empathy,” Mr Spiteri said.
“We think of the words that Christ taught us in the Gospel of Matthew, ‘whatever you do to the least of your brethren, you do unto me’.”
Each person who registers receives a pack filled with contents that is provided to those in third world countries including: kidney beans, lentils, sardines, chickpeas, oil and rice.
“The ration kits provide very basic nutrients a person can live on… it does make you realise how tough these people in refugee camps are doing it,” – Stephen Spiteri
“The ration kits provide very basic nutrients a person can live on… it does make you realise how tough these people in refugee camps are doing it and how we appreciate the simple things,” Mr Spiteri said.
Once a person reaches certain fundraising goals they can unlock luxury food rewards to add to their rations.
“We consider it to be very basic things but if I were to raise $250 I can unlock 210ml of milk to my rations, which doesn’t sound like a lot but when my rations are being reduced to tea for the week adding milk to that goes a long, long way,” Mr Spiteri said.
Over the past three years Mr Spiteri has raised $3400. This will be his second year joining a team of people from around the country called “Coast to Coast Rational” and so far they have raised $1500.
Mr Spiteri said he would like to encourage a lot more men to step up and take the challenge.