The new 40 Hour Famine kicks off today with a novel challenge!

Schools across Australia are buzzing with youthful idealism and passion as students prepare to live today out of their backpacks this year for 40 Hour Famine’s new Backpack Challenge (11-13 August) – together standing up to the biggest humanitarian emergency of their generation, the global refugee crisis. 

The crisis escalated this week as numbers of South Sudanese refugees crossing into Uganda are set to hit one million, including 600,000 children, according to the UN.

For the first time in its 42-year history, the iconic Australian youth fundraising campaign is turning its attention to raising funds for more than 32.5 million children globally who are being forced to flee their homes due to conflict as well as famine.

 World Vision CEO, Claire Rogers, said a new generation is growing up with a new global crisis and youth want to do more than just donate to a cause.

 “This year 40 Hour Famine is changing.  Instead of going without food, we’re packing our backpacks and roughing it. Youth want to support the most pressing and important issues of today – and in a world where daily images of children fleeing conflict and famine are unavoidable –the refugee crisis is high on the agenda.”

 “The Backpack Challenge will help them not only come together and stand with their peers across the globe but also give them an opportunity to understand - even for just a weekend - what it’s like for many displaced children to leave everything behind,”

 Over 50,000 young Aussies from all over the country are expected to participate.

Ms. Rogers, said there was a growing movement of young people – a community of change makers – wanting to make a difference in the world

“Schools have been the cornerstone of this Australian institution and have raised much needed funds and awareness to help fight global hunger and starvation across three continents,” she said.

‘At present people are not only starving but homeless as well.  The number of displaced people – over 65.4 million people -  in the world is the highest in recorded history.”

 The re-booted campaign aims to bring a deeper level of understanding to students across the nation by introducing – for the very first time – young Australian spokespeople for the campaign that were former child refugees themselves.

 Ms Rogers said that with understanding comes connection.

 “By giving Australia’s youth a chance to hear the personal stories of others who came to Australia as child refugees - we hope to empower them to help make the changes they wish to see for their global peers.”

 The two-month long campaign will culminate with students taking on a ‘live’ digital challenge on Famine weekend where students will receive assigned tasks staggered over a 40- hour period via SMS, email and social media channels. The challenges will be themed around displacement and living out of a backpack to promote awareness of the various elements of a refugee’s journey.

 Australian youth can get involved in the 40 Hour Famine by:

  • Participating in the Backpack Challenge for 40 hours (11-13 August) to raise awareness and much-needed funds to help refugee and displaced children.
  • Sponsoring someone who is doing the 40 Hour Famine.
  • Joining the online conversation at or using

     #40Hour Famine on Twitter.

  • Visiting for more information, to register and to donate.

 The funds raised will help provide food, water, blankets, tarps, temporary shelter and safe spaces for some of the world’s most vulnerable children and support World Vision projects in two different areas heavily affected by the crisis – Syria and South Sudan and neighbouring countries.

 From 8pm tonight until 12pm on Sunday, Aussie’s will be roughing it out in make-shift tents and living out of backpacks as students do the 40 Hour Famine for a new global crisis.


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