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Operation Refugee launches for 2020

Christian World Service has launched Operation Refugee 2020 with a challenge for Christians here to raise funds for refugees during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Taonga News  |  15 Jun 2020  |

Christian World Service is calling on Aotearoa New Zealand Christians to rise to the 2020 Operation Refugee challenge to raise funds for people seeking refuge in Jordan and Lebanon. 

“Operation Refugee is a great fundraising challenge for you,” said CWS Operation Refugee organiser Eric Park today, as he encouraged Anglicans to come on board to help raise funds for refugees between June and November 2020.

“Make it reflect your commitment to people who urgently need food, education and healthcare.” he said. 

“How about turning this into a personal challenge, or even better, inviting others to be part of a team to stay on track with you?”

Operation Refugee runs between June 1 to November 30, giving Aotearoa New Zealanders the chance to make a personal contribution to one of the world’s biggest humanitarian issues – that still continues at a time when people on the move are even more at risk due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

This fundraising challenge gathers much-needed funds for the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR), a programme of the Middle East Council of Churches which provides medical care, education for all ages and emergency food rations for people from Syria, Iraq and Palestine who are seeking safety in Jordan and Lebanon.

DSPR offers many educational opportunities to children living in refugee camps, including everything from music groups for refugee students in Lebanon, to the full Syrian syllabus in Arabic for high school students (who would otherwise have to learn in French, the medium of instruction in Lebanon). Thanks to DSPR, students who attend these courses are some of the only Syrians in Lebanon that can still sit their final exams.

Funds sent to DSPR go a long way – with much of the work done by volunteers – yet this work has been life-saving for so many.

In 2020, CWS has expanded Operation Refugee to give fundraisers a range of different ideas for how to gather funds for the cause, while still reflecting on an aspect of the refugee experience. The first fundraising area focuses on food, while the second relies on walking.

‘Food for Life’

NZ-based fundraisers can choose to live on the contents of the CWS Operation Refugee Food Box, (or $32 for five days or a two-day option for students). If you are amongst the first 40 people to raise $87 – the cost of an emergency food parcel for a family for a fortnight – you can request a Food Box from CWS.

Another food fundraiser comes from Operation Refugee chef Grant Allen, who suggests organising a Pop-up Banquet for a group, big or small.

“After so much time in our ‘bubbles’ this year, this could be a fun way to do get together and at the same time do something to show our concern for others.” he said.

‘Walk the Talk’ challenge

The ‘Walk the talk’ challenge emphasises the long journeys that many people have to make when they leave their homes seeking safety. Fundraisers can set their own walking goal for sponsors to support or can organise a larger sponsored walk.

One example of a walking challenge happened last year in Christchurch when the Christian, Presbyterian and Methodist ‘Eastern Churches Together’ group walked the length of their parish to raise funds for DSPR.

If you can get a team together in time, you could easily start your own challenge in time for Refugee Week, which runs from June 16-20 – finishing on World Refugee Day.

To set up your CWS online fundraising page, go to Operation Refugee

To learn more about any aspect of the Operation Refugee challenges, you can contact organiser Eric Park at