Over the weekend of 9-11 June, about 90,000 Kiwis will be giving up food, TV, or social media; sleeping in a box, washing cars, and living out of backpacks, to raise money for World Vision’s life-saving work with Syrian refugees as part of World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine.
Schools and groups across the country are taking part, from Northland where children are having a sleepover at Tauraroa Area School, to Auckland where a gym is doing 40 sets in 4 hours and 40 minutes, to Christchurch where Rangi Ruru Girls’ School is doing 40 hours of movement.
The 40 Hour Famine is New Zealand’s biggest youth fundraising event, and money raised from the campaign will be used to fund World Vision’s child-friendly spaces for refugee children in Jordan. These are safe, supportive learning environments, where kids can learn, be creative, play sport, and get counselling. They’re about helping young Syrians heal from the trauma of war, and give them a chance to be kids again.
The conflict in Syria is brutal and relentless, having just entered its seventh year, and showing no signs of stopping. There are now 13.5 million people who need humanitarian help, urgently. More than half of those affected are children – that’s more than the entire population of New Zealand.
This year the 40 Hour Famine is being supported by a social media campaign. People are changing their Facebook profile pictures and posting photos on Instagram, to a specially generated image that shows them standing side by side with a Syrian refugee - we've called this a Selfless Selfie. To show their solidarity with Syrian refugees hundreds of young Kiwis, and celebrities, have already posted a selfless selfie.
“We are extraordinarily grateful for the empathy and engagement of New Zealand’s young people with Syrian refugees. Last year Kiwis made a huge difference in the lives of young Syrians living in Jordan, but as the conflict continues we still need your support,” says World Vision CEO Chris Clarke.
Last year Kiwis kids raised nearly $2 million dollars that went towards supporting child friendly spaces. This allowed Syrian children to start their education again, and receive psycho social support for the trauma they have witnessed.
World Vision has been providing life-saving support to those affected since the conflict began in 2011. We are providing extra food for those who had little or none; additional clothing and supplies to stave off the harshness of winter; a better supply of water and improved facilities for sanitation and personal hygiene; healthcare for new mothers; safe places where children can receive psycho-social support, and opportunities for children who cling desperately to a dream of being educated. We will be there supporting families as long as the crisis continues to unfold.
Since it started, in 1975, the New Zealand 40 Hour Famine has raised more than $77 million and brought hope to thousands of children living in poverty in more than 40 countries. Each year approximately 100,000 young Kiwis participate in the 40 Hour Famine. More than 2.7 million New Zealanders have participated in the 40 Hour Famine since it began.