Rotorua students will be among thousands who are planning to give up comforts in order to help raise money for those in need.

This year World Vision's 40 Hour Famine will see more than 4000 Bay of Plenty students from about 15 schools take on a challenge, or give something up – like food, warm blankets, speaking or technology.

And it is all to provide life-saving aid for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.

The event is spread across 40 hours from today to Sunday, and about 90,000 New Zealand youth are expected to take part and raise vital funds for the more than 800,000 South Sudanese who have fled conflict with hope of finding refuge in Uganda.

Rotorua students getting involved include groups from Western Heights High School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata and Kaharoa School.

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Western Heights High School drama teacher Bronwen Ropiha says the school had about 40 or 50 students involved in the 40 Hour Famine last year.

"They did individual actions such as giving up food for 40 hours, others gave up devices, others tied themselves to each other, two groups had bake sales at the Night Market and the Farmers Market, and another group held a bake sale at school.

"At Western Heights High School we encourage students to be involved in all sorts of community activities from fundraising for Love Soup to Amnesty International.

"The 40 Hour Famine is a regular, yearly action that students are happy to be involved in."

Bronwen says the school regularly raises about $1000 and she is hoping that once again about 40 to 50 students will take part this year.

"Students are very keen to help people and our community."

This year, Kiwi actor Julian Dennison is championing the 40 Hour Famine in his new role as famine ambassador.

Julian recently returned from a trip to Uganda with World Vision where he met with young refugees - many of who were of a similar age - and found out what kind of impact fleeing war-torn South Sudan has had on them, and how Kiwi kids can help.

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"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."

World Vision New Zealand national director Grant Bayldon says it has been inspiring having Julian onboard and he is looking forward to seeing what challenges everyone takes up or things they give up to raise money.

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 nutritious food, clean water, foster care, household items, peace clubs for young people and more.

Since it started in 1975 the New Zealand 40 Hour Famine has raised more than $80m and brought hope to thousands of children living in poverty in more than 40 countries.