Act for Peace Ration Challenge is an initiative started in Australia that has grown into a global movement for action on refugees. Tens of thousands of people across Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and New Zealand will live on refugee rations during Refugee Week to raise money and awareness for communities threatened by conflict and disaster. The Ration Challenge gives members of the public the chance to take action on refugee issues by eating only refugee rations for a week, sharing their experience, and getting sponsored to do it. The rations they eat are exactly the same as those distributed to Syrian refugees in camps in Jordan,  just a small amount of rice, beans, chickpeas, lentils, fish, oil and flour.

Janet Cousens, Act for Peace’s CEO, will be in Jordan this week, where Syrian families are receiving the food, medicine and support they need to rebuild their lives thanks to funds raised by generous Australians through the Ration Challenge. An estimated 25,000 people across four countries will sign up to take on the Ration Challenge in 2019,  including 10,000 Australians. By taking the challenge they are helping to provide refugees with the food, medicine and support they need to rebuild their lives. They are showing refugees that they are not alone and despite what our politicians might say, that ordinary people do care, and we are prepared to do what it takes to help our fellow humans in their time of need.

The Ration Challenge coincides with Refugee Week, a worldwide event that takes place every year around the United Nations World Refugee Day, aimed at generating awareness about the range of issues affecting refugees. In a climate where many politicians are trading on fear and division, the world needs more initiatives that promote empathy and unity across boundaries and help to bring people closer together. “In the context of global politics there is a lot of fear, but at the end of the day refugees are people, they are men, women and children just like us. By walking in the shoes of someone else, even for a week, you really begin to empathise with what they’re experiencing and reflect on their situation,” reflects Karen McGrath, Co-founder of the Ration Challenge. “The Ration Challenge is an important conversation starter, by talking to their family and friends about living on rations, people can help open hearts and minds to what refugees are going through. A global community of people taking action through the challenge will really help to shift attitudes around refugees on a mass scale,” says McGrath.

Readers also enjoyed this story about 10-year old Max.