Ever think you might have bitten off more than you can chew? That’s me, right now. Only in my case, it might be rather less than I can chew. This week, I signed up to take the Ration Challenge 2020 for the charity Concern Worldwide (UK), highlighting the desperate issues facing refugees. We’re all affected by the coronavirus, but not equally. Refugees were already living a nightmare; and now, as a result of the pandemic, many more will face devastating hunger.
I am passionate about food and healthy cooking and want to help people. During the Coronavirus, I was cooking for the NHS and providing food for local food banks. Now, is my turn to offer this help to refugees by eating what they do for a week. It’s practically nothing but if I can manage it and raise awareness and money; it’s the least I can do.
The Ration Challenge involves living on the same rations for a week as a Syrian refugee in Jordan. Turns out that’s not very much. Not very much at all.
Meanwhile, any money I raise in sponsorship will go towards food, medicine, and education for Syrian refugees plus Concern’s wider work tackling hunger and extreme poverty.
If you could spare anything, I’d massively appreciate it, so many more boxes of food can be distributed to people in dire need. Ever hopeful, my fundraising page is my.rationchallenge.org.uk/ankita-stopa
What’s in a Ration Pack?
This is the shopping list:
- 1.92kg white rice
- 400g plain flour
- 170g lentils (red or brown)
- 330ml vegetable oil
- 85g dried chickpeas
- 400g tin of kidney beans
- 120g tin of sardines
People who don’t eat fish can swap the sardines for the same weight as a vegan or vegetarian alternative. I’ve joined a vegan team so will be swapping my sardines for tofu.
That’s it. A shedload of rice plus a little flour, lentils, chickpeas, beans, fish, and oil. And only water to drink – though I’m immensely grateful to have clean mains water on tap.
No meat, no coffee, no alcohol.
Yet that represents the food given to a refugee to last for a week – if they’re lucky enough to get a ration pack at all.
What can you add to the Ration Pack?
In an interesting twist, the organisers are using self-interest to help drive fundraising.
Anyone who earns more in sponsorship can add extra items to the basic ration pack. The official line is that refugees are resourceful, and seek out ways to earn extra money to support themselves and their families.
So if you join a team, you can add spice. Each team member chooses one spice and all team members can use them all. We also receive 210ml of milk, in my case, I’ll be using plant-based milk which I can make. I did join a team so we can support each other through the week – virtual team called VEGANG-12. Our chosen spices cinnamon, garlic, ginger, paprika, chili, and turmeric.
Other sponsorship price points include:
- Raise £125: salt
- Raise £250: one vegetable, weighing up to 170g
- Raise £400: 120g protein
- Raise £600: 330ml of a hot or cold drink
- Raise £850: a bonus item up to £3. Must be a single item, not a mix of ingredients or multiple items in a pack. So no biscuits!
You can also earn a teabag each time you email 5 people about sponsorship or tag five people in social media posts. So this is an advance warning to friends and family that you might end up with an email or being tagged on social media.
Thank you for your support.