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123,000 Kiwis taking a stand against poverty this weekend

123,000 Kiwis taking a stand against poverty this weekend: 40 Hour Famine

Swimming non-stop for 40 hours, squeezing into a room with 40 other people for the weekend, going without food and sleeping without a roof over their heads are just a few of the challenges Kiwis are taking on to raise funds for this year’s World Vision 40 Hour Famine.
New Zealand’s 40 Hour Famine kicks off tonight – the official 40 Hour Famine runs from 8pm Friday 22 May to12pm Sunday 24 May.

Swimming non-stop for 40 hours, squeezing into a room with 40 other people for the weekend, going without food and sleeping without a roof over their heads are just a few of the challenges Kiwis are taking on to raise funds for this year’s World Vision 40 Hour Famine.

More than 123,000 New Zealanders have signed on for the 2015 40 Hour Famine including 740 school groups across the country.

The funds raised from this year’s appeal will go to children and their families in Bangladesh – a country where 8 million children are malnourished and 1 in 17 Bangladeshi kids won’t make it to their fifth birthday.

Nearly half of all families in Bangladesh are classified as ‘extremely poor’ with an average income of less than NZD$3 per day and the challenges brought on by poverty are exacerbated by the country’s susceptibility to cyclones and floods.

“This year we have called on New Zealanders to ‘Take a Stand’ – to give voice to the voiceless, and hope for young people struggling against immense odds,” says World Vision CEO Chris Clarke. “It is great to see how many young people have stepped up to that challenge.”

New Zealanders who haven’t opted in for their own 40 Hour Famine challenge can visit www.famine.org.nz to sponsor participants.

Funds from last year’s 40 Hour Famine have been used to change the lives of Malawi children and their families, improving their nutrition and health.

In 2013 only 31% of families had food year-round but with funds from the 40 Hour Famine that has now risen to 57%.

The year-round food supply has been achieved by using 40 Hour Famine funds to support 380 farmers to grow maize, soybeans and sweet potato and 495 farmers to manage livestock through the distribution of 1800 chickens and 120 goats.

Schools across the country are taking a stand with a range of 40 Hour Famine challenges from ‘box city’ sleepovers to speed dating, craft stalls and camps, sports “survivor” events and special auctions.

A number of Kiwi celebrities have also taken up the 40 Hour Famine challenge and are hoping to pull in the greatest fundraising pool for the cause. Team Red is made up of YouTube sensation Jamie Curry and New Zealand actress, writer and blogger Kimberly Crossman. Team Blue is fronted by Shortland Street actresses Grace Palmer and Lucy Elliott.

Two celebrity teams who took on the challenge last year have returned for more: Team Yellow with The Edge’s Marty Hehewerth and Steph Monks, and Team Green, with Eve Palmer, Michael Lee and Adam Percival from The 4.30 Show.

World Vision is reminding participants that after all the hard work – and fun – of the 40 Hour Famine challenges, it is really important to collect and submit the funds raised so they can be put to work changing lives in Bangladesh.

To make it easier – and boost fundraising totals by up to nine times – participants are being encouraged to set up their 40 Hour Famine online fundraising profile at www.famine.org.nz and then share their fundraising profile link so supporters can donate online.

Famine facts
+ $2 will buy 50 nutrient sachets to help severely malnourished kids gain weight
+ $10 will help a family start their own veggie garden to provide nutritious food
+ $40 will start severely malnourished families on a 12 day nutrition programme

Why does Bangladesh need our help?
+ 1 in 17 Bangladeshi kids won’t make it to their fifth birthday – malnutrition accounts for 35% of these deaths
+ 8 million children are malnourished in Bangladesh
+ 44% of families in Bangladesh are classified as ‘extremely poor’
+ the average Bangladeshi income is less than NZD$3 per day


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