Dannevirke's Totara College is once again taking up the challenge to take part in World Vision's 40 Hour Famine and at the same time maintain its record.

For the last six years the school has held the record for raising the most money per capita amongst all New Zealand schools. Last year the 36 students who took part raised $5000.

The 40 Hour Famine has become something of a tradition within the college and over the last 10 years has raised $35,000 for World Vision.

Organising this year's 40 Hour Famine is student leader Malachi Dean who is assisted by Charlie Scotson and Logan Styrdom.

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This year's 40 Hour Famine starts on Friday and ends on Sunday. About 30 students will be taking on the challenge or give up something like food, warm blankets, speaking or technology.

Totara College students will split into junior and senior groups. During the 20 or 40 hours that students are involved there will be plenty to keep them occupied with games of spotlight, board games and movies.

For the seniors Malachi said it's more of the same but on a larger scale.
Senior class teacher Steve Anderson said last year the senior students were involved in an activity that replicated what it was like to be a refugee being pursued by hostile forces. The activity involved students being driven out of town and having to make their way back to the school before being caught.

Steve said for the students it was a very grounding experience.
An afternoon of activities held at the school recently also gave students an insight into what it was like to live like a refugee. One of the activities was to transport buckets of water over a certain distance.

For several weeks before the famine is held students are issued with books that they enter pledges of sponsorship that they have gathered. To take part junior students need to raise $100 in pledges and seniors $120.

Malachi and Charlie check the pledge books each week to see how much money they have raised in pledges and if they meet the criteria the students are rewarded by being able to wear mufti to school for a day.

Steve said he is always amazed at how much they children give, in both monetary terms and the amount of effort they put into it.

This year's event is to raise money for more than 800,000 South Sudanese refugees who have left the conflict in their home land to seek refuge in Uganda.

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Kiwi actor Julian Dennison is backing the 40 Hour Famine in his new role as Famine Ambassador. Julian has recently returned from a trip to Uganda with World Vision where he met young refugees, many of a similar age to him, and found out what kind of impact fleeing war-torn South Sudan has had on them; and how Kiwi kids can help.

"So many of the South Sudanese refugees I met fled their homes without their parents – and some with no family at all. They all have so much responsibility, at such a young age, and are having to adjust to a new reality – yet despite the hardships they have and are facing I was met with big smiles and so much hope for their futures.

"I feel so privileged to have this platform as the 2019 40 Hour Famine Ambassador because I know that each and every single Kiwi involved will help to create change for the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda."

Money raised in the 2019 40 Hour Famine will help provide essentials for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda from the moment they cross the border, including food, clean water, foster care, household items, peace clubs for young people and more.