Teenager to survive on ration packs to help refugees
- Credit: ELGAR FAMILY
In his spare time, teenager Anthony Elgar can usually be found playing football or computer games with his friends.
But now, the 14-year-old has decided to focus his efforts on raising awareness of refugees surviving on food rations.
By taking part in the Ration Challenge, Anthony will be spending a week eating the same rations as a Syrian refugee living in a camp in Jordan.
From June 13 to 19, he will have to survive on just a small amount of rice, flour, lentils, chickpeas, beans, oil, and fish.
The Neatherd High School pupil, of Toftwood, Dereham, said he decided to sign up for the challenge after his dad, Jonathan Elgar, told him about it.
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“My dad mentioned to me about eating like a refugee for a whole week but due to my age I couldn’t, unfortunately, sign up – so he signed up and we both decided to do it together.
“What inspired me about doing the challenge was that it made me think that in Syria and Jordan there are children my age and it made me realise that the children my age in the refugee camps are not so fortunate in the way we are here.
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"By having easy access to food on the go, sandwiches on the go, fast food, and drinks readily available, it made me think how lucky I am.”
He added that he was nervous about undertaking the challenge but that "getting insight and understanding” was important.
“Only having a limited supply of the bare essentials is going to be interesting, especially when it comes to lunchtime at school. When everyone else is eating lots of nice things, me and my dad will only be eating rice and basic flatbread made from water, flour, and a little salt."
So far, the pair have raised more than £300 in donations and they are hoping to reach their target of £500 by the time the challenge begins on June 13.
Anthony added: “This is the first fundraiser that me and my dad have done and it’s nice to know that I have the school behind me and supporting me with this. I am hoping that once we have done this fundraiser, we will be able to do another one even bigger than this.”
The money raised will go towards helping refugees. An example of what it can be used for would see £34 providing a Covid-19 kit for a family, £83 would provide a month’s worth of food for a refugee, and £165 would provide food for a refugee for a year.
“When you look at those figures, what goes through your mind? I would love to be able to provide food for 20 refugees for a year," Anthony said.
"If everyone donated then someone, either a child or an adult, could have a sustainable meal. So please donate.”
Mr Elgar, 40, who works for a UK and European removal company, said: “I am so over the moon by the generous gifts that people have already donated by the link.
“The feeling of knowing that Anthony is thinking about other people than himself and showing that he wants to do this and experience the way that these refugees have to eat on a day-to-day basis amazes me.
“This is a situation that no one should be in - ever.
“It’s going to be a testing time for both of us and also having to eat things and watch what we are eating is going to not only make me more aware but is also making him more aware as well.”
The Ration Challenge is being run in partnership with Concern Worldwide. Its aim is for participants to see things from someone else’s perspective, create more empathy and compassion, send a powerful message of solidarity, and make a practical difference to the lives of people who urgently need support.
To donate and send messages of encouragement, visit the online link at www.rationchallenge.org.uk/jonathan-elgar