By Fifi Enyi
Raedee Saar is about to taste hunger. This weekend she and other University of Calgary students will participate in World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine, a program where individuals collect pledges from sponsors to go without food for 30 hours.
According to Saar, a member of the Resident Outreach Program and a second-year, General Studies, doing the famine will allow her to educate herself and others about developing nations.
"Sometimes when we’re living in Canada, we almost kind of get a tunnel vision," said Saar. "If I can help myself to understand others and help others understand what people in third-world countries are going through, then maybe more people will help."
This awareness and concern for developing nations is what first started the 30 hour Famine.
"It started in Calgary quite a few years ago," said U of C Chaplain and 30-hour Famine Co-ordinator Kelly Johnson. "We had students who were just aware of some of the crises that were going on in developing nations and said ‘What is there that we can do?’ We came up with the idea of going without food, and now it’s 30 hours."
Though participants do not consume any food for 30 hours, they are allowed to drink water and clear juices.
"Thirty hours is enough to give you a little bit of hunger pains," said Johnson. "It helps you realize that some people can’t go to the fridge or the freezer to stop the hunger."
As chaplain for the last four years, Johnson continues to organize the famine because it impacts students regardless of their year or area of study.
"It’s [not] confined to any one group," said Johnson. "There are people that are realizing that by at least doing something makes a bit of a difference."
Second-year Engineering student Jeremy Allan was motivated to do the famine after travelling to Bangladesh in 1997, where he encountered poverty.
"We totally live in a bubble here–it’s like the North American shell," said Allan. "Over there they don’t have any programs to give food to the homeless like we do here."
Each year, World Vision selects which projects the proceeds will fund. World vision uses 80 per cent of the funds in programs and 20 per cent in support. Some of the programs this year include land mines awareness training and vocational rehabilitation in Cambodia, child-headed households in Rwanda, and Canadian programs, like breakfast programs and employment programs for youth.
These programs and other relevant issues in developing nations will be discussed at the kick-off at noon on Fri., Jan. 28. Participants will gather again on Sat., Jan. 29 for dinner at Max Café.