Scores of 14-year-olds at the GC School of Careers in Nicosia went without food for 30 hours as part of an event to raise funds and awareness for the Girl Rising global campaign, to help educate some of the 66 million girls who are out of school globally.
The 30 Hour Famine began at 7am on Thursday and ended on Friday at around 1pm lunchtime. Participants were allowed to have breakfast in the morning, but from then on only water, juice and a small bowl of rice.
Students are sponsored by their friends and family for not eating for 30 hours. The 30 participating students aged between 14 and 15 stayed at school overnight.
“A valuable part of our education is becoming global citizens, aware of the world around us and that there are others in this world less fortunate than us,” Linda Mousoulides, coordinator of the Geography Department, who supervised the famine, told The Cyprus Weekly.
“So when the geography students at the GC School watched the film “Girl Rising” brought to us by the charitable organisation World Vision, they felt that they should also not stay silent but help girls in similar circumstances as the ones that we had seen in the film.”
“There is a great sense of spirit and teamwork and the hours will go by a lot quicker than if they were doing this alone,” added Linda.
Girl Rising is a global campaign for girls’ education powered by a groundbreaking film and the women, girls, men, and boys that stand behind it.
It aims to remove barriers such as early marriage, gender-based violence, domestic slavery and sex trafficking to achieve a better life for girls, but also a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.
The film is about 9 girls who were brought up as slaves and it tells their stories.
“The fact that 66 million girls worldwide are denied an education because they are victims of human trafficking and rape or just denied an education because their culture does not allow it, was an eye opener for students.”
As part of the activities during the famine, the students had a diary documenting their experience which they updated with their thoughts and feelings about going 30 hours without food.
Kalia Panayiotidou, 14, said she wanted to take part after watching the film at school. “We wanted to show, in our own way, our support towards girls in developing countries who don’t have the opportunity to become educated or don’t have the luxuries that we do.”
Savvas Stavrinos, also 14, said that he wanted to take part to help raise funds to support girls’ education and for the building of schools.
“I don’t mind not having eaten today, because it does not really matter how long I’ve stayed without food but I’m happy to help in some way as this is a really good cause.”
The students had raised about €900 until yesterday afternoon. The event was also sponsored by PHC Franchised Restaurants (Pizza Hut), Charalambides Christis and Lanitis.