When you’ve lived in a place like Lismore all your life, it might be hard to really understand what a refugee goes through, but helping the best way you know how is a start, and Lily Ryan is doing just that.
‘I recently signed myself up to participate in this year’s Act For Peace Ration Challenge,’ says Lily. ‘What this means is from September 13 to 19, I will be eating the same rations as a Syrian refugee living in a camp in Jordan.
This isn’t as easy as it might sound – when the small box of food arrives, one might be forgiven for thinking that the contents are for one day, not one week.
The weekly ration consists of just a small amount of rice, flour, lentils, chickpeas, beans, oil and sardines – there is a tofu option for vegetarians.
The money raised will help provide emergency food, hygiene kits and life-saving support to refugees and other conflict and disaster-affected communities around the world hit hardest by the coronavirus.
‘Already living a nightmare, it’s a huge injustice that these communities will now be hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic,’ says Lily. ‘Many refugees live in overcrowded conditions, with limited access to food, healthcare and sanitation, putting them at risk of infection.’
‘It is not just a health crisis, the impact of lockdowns, job losses, and disruption to aid and remittances mean the World Food Program is warning we’re on the brink of “multiple famines of biblical proportions”. Without urgent action, soon 300,000 people could die from starvation every single day.’
Lily has ‘earned’ extra rations for her journey – something she knows is a luxury and not something that refugees can do, but it is an incentive to raise more money.
‘I have sponsored myself and I have earned a spice of my choice to use (unlimited quantity), also you can use the other team members’ spices. I joined a team so I have earned 210ml of milk.
‘I have raised over $250 so I have earned an unlimited amount of salt and as I have raised over $500, I have earned up to 170g of vegetables that I have to use in one day.’
Lily has earned 120g of protein that she has to use in one day because she has raised over $750, and she has asked over 25 people to sponsor her, so she will get 5 teabags.
‘Act of Peace ran a special sponsor deal if I raised over $78 in 24 hours on August 8 I could have the choice of 2 teaspoons of coffee or sugar.
‘I have raised just over $900, so my next checkpoint is $1,000. If I raise that much, I get 330ml of a hot or cold drink.’
Lily says she is struggling to find support and team members in the area of the Northern Rivers.
‘I am trying to reach as many people with my voice and story as I possibly can. I want to use my voice for the people who aren’t being heard, as I believe everyone is equal and everyone deserves the best possible opportunity in life.’
Lily says her team, the Mung Beans, has raised nearly $8,485.00. ‘I created this team in the hope that I could find some local challengers, and that we could share our experience together and support each other. There are not that many local participants but I managed to find a lovely person in Bangalow who has raised over $4,000 and holds the record for the most raised funds in Australia by one person.’
Lily says she has connected with many wonderful and caring people through this experience. ‘Even though I know the week will be hard, I am so grateful I have this eye-opening opportunity to help as many people as I can.’
If you would like to join or sponsor Lily, you can find out more on the Mung Beans page.