Young Australians want to do more to help refugees

In 2017, Australia's iconic youth fundraising event, 40 Hour Famine, turned its attention to the biggest humanitarian emergency of our time – the refugee crisis.

With over 68.5 million people displaced around the world – the highest number in recorded history – a new generation is growing up with a new crisis.  

As a result, World Vision wanted to understand the level of impact the global crisis is having on young Australians today. We surveyed over a thousand students, aged 11-19 years old, from 163 schools across Australia, to understand their thoughts and views on this humanitarian issue. And the results are surprising.  

Reflecting the current media attention the refugee crisis has received, half of young Australians have at least considered that they could become a refugee. And one in five believe that becoming a refugee is a real possibility and could happen to anyone.  

“The survey clearly shows that we have underestimated the impact the refugee crisis has had on our youth,” World Vision CEO Claire Rogers said. “Images of families fleeing from war, conflict and famine have now become the daily norm for our children.” 

This new norm has created a generation who are informed – and who want to create change. Only 14 percent of young people think Australia is doing enough to help refugees by welcoming our fair share to resettle here. Significantly, 91 percent of young people want to do more to help refugees.  

The survey results come at a time when refugee communities in Australia are under scrutiny, but show that attitudes of young people may be disconnected from those portrayed in the media.  

“Young Australians have always been the moral compass of this nation. I have no doubt this will be the generation to lead our government to a path of increased compassion and inclusiveness,” said Claire.

40 Hour Famine, Australia is not doing enough
40 Hour Famine - refugees are not dangerous

40 Hour Famine, Australia should welcome more refugees

Could you become a refugee?

The 40 Hour Famine encourages young people to stand with refugees

Last year, the 40 Hour Famine was renamed the 40 Hour Famine Backpack Challenge to address the refugee and displaced persons crisis. This year, on 17 to 19 August, participants lived out of a backpack for 40 hours, so that they could begin to understand what it's like to leave almost everything behind – even if just for a weekend.  

Since 1975, the 40 Hour Famine has raised over $200 million to support World Vision Australia projects across 26 countries. In the past nine years alone, more than two million people have benefited from the sacrifices of young Australians. This year, funds raised will help World Vision support the needs of refugees and displaced people around the world.  

What is the Backpack Challenge all about?

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