By Mitchell Clarke
Students and staff at Lakeside College have swapped their favourite foods for rice and beans in a bid to create awareness for refugees in Syria.
The school in Pakenham entered a team in the Ration Challenge for the second year in a row, with 10 students and three staff members taking part in the program this year.
The challenge requires participants to only eat the same food as a Syrian refugee for three to five days during Refugee Week.
In return, money is raised for essential foods, medicine and other care for refugees through an Australian charity called Act for Peace.
With each meal consisting of rice and beans, the general consensus of the food was “filling however didn’t provide the necessary proteins and fats”.
Regardless, the school claims the cause was necessary and a great way to get people talking about the issue.
Pastor Nathan Hedt said his own upbringing led him to take part in the cause.
“The first four years of my life were on a refugee settlement in Tanzania. My dad was working in agriculture,” Mr Hedt said.
“I really want to raise awareness and to raise money for refugees.”
The school community also shares a similar personal connection.
“We have a number of people in our college community whose parents were refugees and came to Australia as refugees,” he said.
“So they often have a very personal connection with the cause.”
Going forward, the school is looking to raise money to sponsor refugee children and provide them with an education.
“I think it’s a great thing for the school to do,” he said.
“We are really working on having a focus on other people.”
With the challenge wrapping up by Saturday 22 June, the participants are no doubt excited to leave the lentils behind.
Donations for the Lakeside College Ration Challenge Team remain open until mid July. If you want to support the fundraising and help refugees you can visit https://school.rationchallenge.org.au/lakeside-college.