Pupils to go without to help others

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Good cause . . . Columba College 40 Hour Famine student leaders (from left) Olivia Charles, Angela Fu and Georgia Wong are encouraging their fellow pupils to take part in the challenge next weekend. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Dunedin secondary school pupils will be going without next weekend.

Hundreds of Otago pupils are expected to take part in the 40 Hour Famine from June 5-7.

Columba College’s 40 Hour Famine student leaders Georgia Wong, Olivia Charles and Angela Fu (all 16) have been working hard to spread the word around their school.

As leaders, their job is to promote the event, which proved a little challenging during the lockdown, Olivia said.

Ideally, they wanted to make announcements during full-school assemblies, but since they were off the cards the girls had to come up with other ideas.

Instead, they turned to online platforms during the lockdown and have utilised the school newsletter and daily notices since they have been back.

“It’s so much easier to talk in person,” Georgia said.

Angela said: “We just had to rely on the fact that, hopefully, most people check their emails.”

The response from their schoolmates was positive, and about 25 had signed up to take part.

People had already started pledging money.

Initially, their goal was to raise $1200, but it looked like they were going to surpass that which was “amazing”, Georgia said.

Some of the ways people were going to raise money included giving up food, not speaking, doing 40 good deeds and living out of a backpack.

On March 16, they attended a World Vision youth conference with other secondary school leaders.

There they learned the money raised this year would be given to climate vulnerable communities in Malawi, facing food shortages, hunger and malnutrition.

Georgia said it was “inspiring”.

They had all done the 40 Hour Famine before and wanted to become the school’s leaders so they could help make a change.

“We’d seen older girls in this position and it’s something we’re passionate about,” Georgia said.

“It’s one of the ways we can make a difference.”

World Vision New Zealand national director Grant Bayldon said the people of Malawi were facing a “twin crisis”.

“As they struggle with the impacts of climate change, they face the added pressures of Covid-19.

“They need our support more than ever.”