Pukenui pupils rally once more

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Chil­dren at Pukenui School have long sup­ported World Vi­sion’s an­nual 40-Hour famine, and are preparing to do so again this week.

For 12 year olds Chelsea Rae and Ataahua Har­ris, both in their last year of pri­mary school, it will not be a new ex­pe­ri­ence. Both have sup­ported the cause since they were in Year 4, and once again they are busy look­ing for sponsors within their com­mu­nity.

They each hope to raise at least $100 as their con­tri­bu­tion to making life a lit­tle eas­ier for South Su­danese refugees in Uganda.

When it be­gan in 1975 the Famine required par­tic­i­pants to go with­out food, al­though they were al­lowed to suck on bar­ley sug­ars, but these days they can also choose to go with­out tech­nol­ogy, fur­ni­ture, blan­kets or talk­ing. Chelsea said she would spend the 40 hours, start­ing at 8pm on Fri­day (end­ing noon on Sun­day) with­out tech­nol­ogy, food or fur­ni­ture — she planned to sleep on the floor — while Ataahua would be liv­ing with what she could stuff into a bag — a tent, clothes, a sleep­ing bag, a blan­ket and pil­low, fruit, rice and bar­ley sug­ars.

They and a num­ber of fel­low Pukenui pupils are among close to 2000 stu­dents at 15 North­land schools who have signed up for this year’s Famine, and 90,000 young New Zealan­ders who will raise funds for more than 800,000 South Su­danese, more than 60 per cent of them chil­dren, who have fled to Uganda to es­cape con­flict.

Ac­tor Ju­lian Den­ni­son, who is cham­pi­oning this year’s ef­fort as Famine Am­bas­sador, said he had re­cently trav­elled to Uganda with World Vi­sion, where he met young refugees and saw the im­pact that flee­ing wartorn South Su­dan had had on them. He also saw ex­actly how Kiwi kids could help.

“So many of the South Su­danese refugees I met fled their homes with­out their par­ents, and some with no family at all,” he said.

“They all have so much re­spon­si­bil­ity, at such a young age, and are hav­ing to ad­just to a new re­al­ity, yet de­spite the hard­ships they have and are fac­ing I was met with big smiles and so much hope for their fu­tures.

“I feel so priv­i­leged to have this plat­form as the 2019 40-Hour Famine Am­bas­sador, be­cause I know that each and every sin­gle Kiwi in­volved will help to create change for the hun­dreds of thou­sands of South Su­danese refugees in Uganda.”

The money raised this year would help pro­vide essentials for refugees from the mo­ment they crossed the border into Uganda, in­clud­ing food, clean wa­ter, fos­ter care and house­hold items, and to form peace clubs.

Any­one who has yet to sign up to join the 40-Hour Famine can still do so at www.famine.org.nz

Last year’s Famine in New Zealand raised $1.8 mil­lion for South Su­danese refugees. Years of civil war had re­duced the coun­try to one of the poor­est in the world, more than four mil­lion peo­ple be­ing forced from their homes, in­clud­ing 2.3 mil­lion who sought refuge in other coun­tries. Six mil­lion peo­ple still in South Su­dan do not have enough to eat.

Uganda is one of the poor­est coun­tries in the world.

Chelsea Rae (left) and Ataahua Har­ris are among this year’s 40-Hour Famine sup­port­ers at Pukenui School.

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