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Wanstead teacher taking on The Ration Challenge to understand how little food refugees survive on

PUBLISHED: 10:00 31 August 2020

Rachel Daniel is taking on The Ration Challenge to try to survive on a week's worth of rations and raise awareness for Syrian refugees. Picture: Rachel Daniel

Rachel Daniel is taking on The Ration Challenge to try to survive on a week's worth of rations and raise awareness for Syrian refugees. Picture: Rachel Daniel

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A teacher in Wanstead has taken on the Ration Challenge to understand just how little food Syrian refugees live on and to raise money to support them.

Rachel Daniel, an online English teacher, was inspired to take on the challenge after seeing the stories of Ugandan refugee Mercy Baguma, who was found dead next to her starving baby in Glasgow.

Even as a child Rachel was interested in food poverty and she did a 24-hour famine for charity when she was nine.

She said: “It’s difficult to understand the daily struggles that displaced people feel, and food seemed like a good way to connect.

“Unfortunately food poverty is a real issue here in the UK also.”

The Ration Challenge runs from September 13 to 19 and participants pledge to only drink water and eat the contents of a ration pack which some Syrian refugees receive.

The pack contains a bag of rice, lentils, dried chickpeas, tinned sardines, tinned kidney beans and vegetable oil.

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Rachel said: “Some people survive on these weekly ration packs for years.”

She said she loves to cook but the things she will miss the most during the challenge are fruit, vegetables and tea.

Participants are allocated just 10 teabags for the week and on a normal week she goes through much more than that.

The money which is raised through friends and family sponsoring participants goes towards helping Syrian refugees.

Just £25 can fund two medical visits, £39 pays for food for three months and £81 can provide a two-week training course for a Syrian mother to help start her own business.

Participants can join teams where they can pool together spices and bonus food items they’ve obtained after hitting fundraising goals.

A spokesperson for humanitarian organisation Concern Worldwide, which is running the challenge, said: “Taking the Ration Challenge won’t give us any understanding of what it feels like to lose our home, our livelihood, or our loved ones.

“But it will give us a meaningful chance to see things from someone else’s perspective.”

To contribute to Rachel’s Ration Challenge visit https://www.rationchallenge.org.uk/rachel-daniel


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