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Over 130,000 Kiwis to go without this weekend

Over 130,000 Kiwis to go without this weekend

This weekend one of New Zealand’s most well-loved fundraising events, World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine, is celebrating the big 40. More than 130,000 Kiwis will go without for the 40th time since the event started in 1975.

“The 40 Hour Famine is a rite of passage in New Zealand. Most Kiwis have taken part and for many children it’s their first experience of a world outside their own,” says World Vision CEO Chris Clarke.

In four decades more than 2.5 million Kiwis have participated in what is arguably New Zealand’s most successful and iconic fundraising drives. Through their generosity, $72 million has been raised for World Vision’s emergency and sustainable development work around the world.

“There are children alive today who owe their life to young New Zealanders and the money they raised. That’s a pretty powerful legacy.”

The first 40 Hour Famine was first organised in 1975 by school teacher Trevor McKinlay. He had no paid staff and had to shift homes so that he could get a working phone line. “How do you start a nationwide campaign without a phone in your home? This was 1975 there were no mobile phones.”

Now participants can choose to give up screen time for 40 hours or not use their mobile phone for the duration of the Famine. The numbers of participants has grown to over 1000 schools, 100 churches and 130,000 students.

Mr McKinlay says the sentiment behind the fundraising drive remains the same “I always thought, and still do, that decent human beings should always share what they have with those less fortunate.”

This year money raised will go to Malawi in Southern Africa which is in the midst of a severe food crisis brought on by extreme weather conditions. In a country where 75 per cent of the population survive on less than $1.51 a day, one in eight children don’t make it to their 5th birthday.

The funds will be used to address issues of food insecurity and nutrition, as well as long-term sustainable agriculture projects and community health initiatives.

To acknowledge the 40th Famine Trevor McKinlay will be joined by TV Host Paul Henry to flick the switch turning the Sky Tower orange on Friday evening. It’s one of 13 iconic landmarks around the country that are lighting up in orange in support of World Vision.

Paul Henry reflected on his experiences with World Vision over the years, saying “I have seen World Vision change lives… I have seen comparatively tiny amounts of money spent so well that they permanently transform situations and open the minds of those in desperate situations to otherwise unimaginable possibilities.”

This Famine weekend, World Vision CEO Chris Clarke encourages all New Zealanders to reflect on 40 years of giving and what that means.

“We can see giving to the 40 Hour Famine as an act of charity but I think it’s more than that, it’s an act of justice. It’s an acknowledgement that we are incredibly blessed in New Zealand to enjoy a quality of life that remains unattainable for many countries, including Malawi. “

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