Nayland College students Neele Micholka and Laura Eyles, both 16, participated in the weekend’s 40 Hour Famine. Photo: Kate Russell.

Nelson youth find new ways to conquer famine


Every time 16-year-old Laura Eyles reached for her phone over the weekend, she had to remind herself of those less fortunate than her.

The Nayland College student underwent a two-day detox from social media for the World Vision 40 Hour Famine.

More than 1,000 Nelson students took part in the country’s largest youth fundraising event, which ran from Friday night until Sunday.

Students can either take on a challenge or give something up for 40 hours – like food, warm blankets, speaking or technology, all to provide life-saving aid for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.

This was the third time Laura had participated in the event and says she chose something that would be hard for her to go without.

“I had to uninstall apps like Instagram off my phone, but I still found myself always reaching for my phone to message people.”

Fellow student Neele Micholka went without her laptop and television for her very first famine.

“It wasn’t too hard, I just kept busy with other things,” she says.

Both are yet to do a final count of how much money they raised but say they hope they can make a difference.

Nayland College teacher and organiser Ihaka Griffin-Matthews says around 30 students took part and they also had a mufti day to raise funds.

The money will help provide nutritious food, clean water, foster care and household items for South Sudanese refugees from the moment they cross the border.

Since the event started in 1975, it has raised more than $80 million and helped thousands of children living in poverty in more than 40 countries.