Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Refugees' plight spurs teen

Being confronted with the cold, harsh realities of a Middle Eastern refugee camp will forever be etched in the mind of 18-year-old Jay Adams.

Now, the comforts of his North Shore home will be appreciated a lot more after he travelled to Jordan this year in his role as a World Vision Youth Ambassador in preparation for next month's 40 Hour Famine.

However, Jay's having a bit more fun with his fundraising campaign - and he's got Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology (Motat) on board too.

He's the founder of the HungerDrive, in which Minecraft enthusiasts will help build a refugee camp online and stream it live to the outside world.

"It's about combining video games and charity. We're going to be set up at Motat with about 20 computers ... We'll have a couple of us who will be livestreaming it so everyone can watch it online and then the rest of the computers will be for people who have just come to Motat who can join us and be a part of it."

People can join from their home as well, as the server will be open to anyone who owns Minecraft, he said.

Jay travelled to Jordan in February to see the stark realities of life for refugees there.

"It's really barren, it's a lot of brown and desert pretty much for as far as the eye can see. All the structures are all pale colours as well, all white and cream, so it's really not a happy place to look at."

As an avid news watcher, he said he thought he had an idea of what he would be confronted with once he got there. And while he was, he forgot about the human aspect.

"They looked like you see on the news, there's rows and rows of camps and sheds. But I wasn't prepared to meet the people. We met a 16-year-old boy named Hassan, he had to find his friend's body, things that 16-year-olds shouldn't have to go through."

So now he's trying to do as much as he can to raise money for those still stuck over there.

Building on the last two years of HungerDrive, he wants to involve a lot more people.

"That's why we're having the refugee camp that everyone can help build. As gamers we're going to work towards a cause because the refugee camp is being built and a lot of the structures are what the funds from 40 Hour Famine will be building."

Jay said he was humbled by his overseas experience.

"As a kid who has grown up on the North Shore ... it was different to anything I had ever experienced. [Homes are] basically tiny white tin sheds ... this really hit home that there is a person who needs me to stand with them and do this with them."

World Vision New Zealand chief executive Chris Clarke said the civil war in Syria is the "biggest humanitarian crisis of our time, 4.6 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.6 million are displaced within Syria; half are children."

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