Ration Challenge 2020

This September, I have been eating the same rations as a refugee for one week. Just a small amount of rice, lentils, chickpeas, beans, fish and oil. That’s it – no red meat, no coffee and no alcohol!

The money I raise will help bring emergency food, hygiene kits and life-saving support to the people that need it most.  

The Ration Challenge is not a definitive guide to life as a refugee, but instead a chance to share powerful insights that prompt us to think differently.


Eating rations is just one small part of life as a refugee.

Taking the Ration Challenge won’t give us any understanding of what it feels like to lose our home, our livelihood, or our loved ones. It won’t teach us about being rejected, the trauma of war, or living with an uncertain future.

It will give us a meaningful chance to see things from someone else’s perspective.

Since the Ration Challenge began six years ago, more than 80,000 people around the world have signed up to take the challenge.  

Together, we have raised more than £8 million to support people living in conflict and disaster-affected communities.

It’s an extraordinary achievement, but there is still so much to be done. And that’s why I am so glad I have decided to join in this year. I’d love your support – will you sponsor me? Let’s show we really are #inthistogether.

https://www.rationchallenge.org.uk/craig-hennessey .


I skipped breakfast and lunch as I had a headache most of the afternoon, This obviously had nothing to do with the delicious Hungarian wine I was drinking on the evening before the challenge was due to start.

As I had only raised £89 before the challenge had started it, left me without any salt or seasoning to add to my food.

So my first and only meal of Day 1:

Plain rice, chickpeas and flatbreads.

DAY 2:

The mornings "congee" wasn't so pleasant, but will hopefully get me through the day.

Congee or conjee is a type of rice porridge or gruel made of largely disintegrated rice after prolonged cooking in water.

I have to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me in the @concernworldwideuk #rationchallengeuk2020

I was delighted to learn that I had earned enough sponsorship to add salt to my meal last night.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of seasoning your food, correctly.

-Lentil & chickpea dhal, rice and flatbreads

DAY 3:

Falafel with leftover lentil dhal, rice and flatbread.

This weeks menu plan is somewhat different. I can only use the rations within my Concern Worldwide UK ration challenge pack.

The menu is not so exciting, but the point is to try to understand the contrast between the life we live and those living in refugee camps on rations.

The situation is unjust and it gives a fresh perspective on how lucky we are to have what we have.

DAY 4:

Sardine and paprika fishcakes with.....

You guessed it... rice.

It did not disappoint, wether that’s just because I was so hungry or it was actually nice, I cannot decide.

No person should live in poverty, fear or oppression. We may all be born into different families, in different corners of the world but in reality, we are all the same. We are all just people trying to live our lives as best we can.

DAY 5:

Lentil and bean burger with paprika rice.

" For all the caffeinelovers out there, the withdrawals might be starting to set in as the Ration Challenge continues…but fear not, you’re not alone - we’ve bean there too! "

The withdrawal from addiction feels the same as when I gave up smoking.


I am now looking forward to a coffee as a treat rather than a necessity. With that in mind I have ordered some sustainable, single origin Brazilian coffee from Darkhouse Roastery, Great Coffee from the heart of the Cumbrian Lake District.

This video from Concern Worldwide highlights the average length of time spent eating rations.

DAY 6:

chickpea tagliatelle with “beanballs” and a lentil and bean juice sauce.

I only have one day left of the Ration Challenge UK 2020. This week has been tough, however it’s been an eye-opening experience as I realise just how long many refugees have had to face this as their daily reality.

I am fortunate that I can go back to eating "normally". I will be making some serious changes to my diet going forward

knowing that every donation I get goes towards providing refugees with food, medicine and education makes it all worth it. You can support me here:


DAY 7:

Falafel, kidney bean and lentil sauce. Rice.

Thanks very much to my generous family, friends and colleagues for supporting me. Every pound helps to provide emergency food, hygiene kits and support. If you haven't sponsored yet you still can. The page will be open for donations until Christmas.

The minimum donation is £2.00, less than the cost of a coffee


Do you feel you have more understanding of how hard it must be to survive every day on refugee rations? Do you feel differently about food, compared to when you started? Do you feel you have even more empathy with refugees?

The average time spent in a refugee camp globally is now 17 years, this really puts my seven days in to perspective

Will you sponsor me so we can make a difference to people’s lives?


The page will be open for donations until Christmas.

The minimum donation is £2.00, less than the cost of a coffee

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