Second in nation victory

EATING like a refugee has helped students and staff from Birrong Girls High School, raise more than $29,500.

Taking part in the annual Ration Challenge fundraiser, each participant was allocated a box containing red lentils, white rice, tinned sardines, vegetable oil, dried chick peas and tinned kidney beans, as well as food coupons for additional rice and flour. The coupons are like those given to many refugees by the United Nations or other organisations that can be exchanged in local shops for essential staple foods.
The fundraising efforts of 40 Birrong students, 13 staff members and one parent put them in second place nationally in the schools group category, with principal Zena Dabaja raising $4,103.15, teacher Maria Parmaxidis raising $3,640.15, and the prefect body collecting $1,000.
The school’s top four individual student fundraisers were Leila Badra ($2,160.90), Daliya El-Helou ($1,517.61), Yusra Badra ($1,214.52) and Fatima Abbas ($716.74).
Mrs Dabaja, said the most thought provoking element of the experience was the realisation that the absence of variety, choice and fresh fruit and vegetables took a toll on an individual’s mood and sense of wellbeing.
“We are incredibly proud of the commitment, generosity and tenacity of our staff and students, who responded promptly to the opportunity to help refugees and worked hard to collect donations and encourage the ‘rationers’,” she said.