World Vision 2019

Millions of children and families have been displaced by conflict, natural disasters, economic crises and social upheaval. We are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record, with 70.8 million people forced to leave their homes, among them 25.9 million refugees. Half of these refugees are under the age of 18. More than 4 million refugee children go without schooling and thousands are separated from their families.

World Vision responds to the needs of refugees across the globe, with funds raised through the 40 Hour Backpack Challenge supporting displaced people through things like emergency relief, food, education and child health care. Our students at Northside have made a stand of solidarity with refugees by participating in Mission Week and the 40 Hour Famine Backpack Challenge to raise awareness and funds for World Vision.

Each year level in the Middle School participated in a simulation, run by the Senior SChool students. Year 7 students experienced the hopelessness of poverty and child labour. Year 8 students walked in the shoes of a refugee and experienced the feelings of danger, uncertainty and unfairness. Year 9 students realised that there is no easy solution when they had to make decisions about refugees as governments.

The Northside Prayer Vigil provided an opportunity to share a meal and then pray together through four prayer stations. We felt the power of the Holy Spirit as we prayed for Australia, our college, our world and each other. Students were impacted by a story of how refugee children were separated from their parents and had to survive alone.

During our combined Chapel, we heard a powerful story from Zana Bowen, from World Vision, who shared about a young South Sudanese girl called Edna who had to flee her home after witnessing horrific crimes, lost her parents, and now lives in a refugee camp. Zana illustrated how the money raised from the 40 Hour Backpack Challenge makes a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable children by building child safe spaces for children to experience a childhood.

Mission Week culminated in the Backpack Challenge Walk for Water, run by an awesome team of Year 9 girls. More than 100 Middle School students headed to Teralba Park for the last period on Friday to flee their homes and attempt to cross the border into Bagistan, facing many challenges along the way. Only 4 families were able to succeed, allowing students to appreciate the difficulties faced by displaced people.

Northside Christian College has been raising funds for World Vision for over 14 years, with more than $350 000 raised. This year, we have 154 students who have registered for the 40 Hour Famine Backpack Challenge. They lived out of a backpack for 40 hours - their food, clothes, bedding and a special item. Each of these students stood for solidarity with refugees and now need to raise money through online and/or cash donations. We are aiming to reach a target of $20 000

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, head to 40hourfamine.com.au, then search for a student whom you would like to support. Every contribution makes a difference in the lives of the poor and vulnerable in our world.

Mrs Joan Malan