Bunbury Senior High School trades student life for 40 hours for refugee children

Students from Bunbury Senior High School are packing their bags for the 40 Hour Famine's Backpack Challenge in August to raise money for children impacted by the refugee crisis. Photo: Facebook/ 40 Hour Famine.
Students from Bunbury Senior High School are packing their bags for the 40 Hour Famine's Backpack Challenge in August to raise money for children impacted by the refugee crisis. Photo: Facebook/ 40 Hour Famine.

Bunbury Senior High School is gearing up to take part in the 40 Hour Famine’s new Backpack Challenge between August 11 and 13.

Students will join hundreds of schools across WA living out of their backpacks for 40 hours to raise funds for displaced children impacted by the refugee crisis.

More than 50,000 young Aussies from across the country are expected to participate, standing up to the biggest humanitarian emergency of their generation.

It’s the first time in the iconic Australian youth fundraising campaign’s 42-year-history that attention is turned to raising funds for the more than 32.5 million children globally who are being forced to flee their homes due to conflict.

World Vision chief executive officer Claire Rogers said there was a growing movement of young people wanting to make a difference in the world

“Schools have been the cornerstone of this Australian institution and have raised much needed funds and awareness to help fight global hunger and starvation across three continents,” she said.

“This year the focus is different. The youth want to support the most pressing and important issues of today and with the daily barrage of social media images depicting the plight of child refugees in search of shelter and food – the refugee crisis is high on the agenda.

“A new generation is growing up with a new global crisis and youth want to do more than just donate to a cause – they want to come together and stand with their brothers and sisters across the globe.

“The Backpack Challenge will help them understand what it’s like for these children to leave everything behind, even if just for a weekend.”

The campaign aims to bring a deeper level of understanding to students across Australia by introducing young spokespeople for the campaign that were former child refugees themselves.

Ms Rogers said that with understanding comes connection.

“By giving Australia’s youth a chance to hear the personal stories of others who came to Australia as child refugees, we hope to empower them to help make the changes they wish to see for their global peers,” she said.

Australian youth can get involved in the 40 Hour Famine by participating in the Backpack Challenge, sponsoring someone is taking part in the 40 Hour Famine or Backpack Challenge, joining the online conversation on Facebook or Twitter, or visiting 40hourfamine.com.au to donate.

Funds raised will help provide food, water, blankets, tarps, temporary shelter and safe spaces for some of the world’s most vulnerable children and support World Vision projects in two different areas heavily affected by the crisis – Syria and South Sudan.