A GROUP of Marist College Bendigo students will live on rations for five days to raise funds for those living in refugee camps.
The students - Sarah McGregor, Alexis Dunsmuir, Isabella Coombs, Ebony Passalick, and Alannah Warren - are participating in the Act for Peace Ration Challenge.
The students, who are in years seven to 12, will only be allowed to eat rice, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and sardines for the duration of the challenge.
They will also be allowed a small amount of vegetables each time they raise $1000.
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Marist College Bendigo educators Rebecca Morrissey and Janelle Purcell, along with parent Naomi Warren, will also join the students and live on rations for five days.
Mrs Morrissey, who is the faith and ministry advisor at the school, said the students took the initiative to sign up for the challenge.
The students have already raised more than $3000 for Act for Peace. The funds will go towards buying food and hygiene kits for those in refugee camps around the world.
"For the students, one reason that grabbed at them is being in COVID-19 lockdown, they have been aware of the medical support they have in Australia and the support they have from government," Mrs Morrissey said.
"They realised that's not what it's like for so many people around the world. They really wanted to raise awareness and at the same time, learn what it is like to live on such a menial amount of food."
Mrs Morrissey said completing the challenge during remote learning had its challenges, especially as the students were in their final week of term three.
"They are a bit exhausted but that adds to the authenticity of the challenge," she said. "The challenge organisers often talk about doing things in the spirit of the challenge.
"You shouldn't be doing it in an ideal week. Refugees don't get to choose when they flee their homes."
Mrs Morrissey said the students were able to view the challenge in the current global contex.
"They said that refugees are in one of the most vulnerable categories for COVID-19," she said.
"If the virus would go through the refugee camp, there probably wouldn't be the medical support there for them.
"The students feel very humble to be doing this and aware of the blessings they have. But they want to be in solidarity with those who don't have the same blessings."
Mrs Morrissey said people could contribute to the Marist College Bendigo students' fundraising effort at the website, schools.rationchallenge.org.au/t/marist-college-bendigo-2020
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