Edinburgh gym manager takes Ration Challenge to expose plight of Syrian refugees

Natalie is a gym teacher and she is going to live on rations similar to those issued to Syrian refugees to raise awareness of their plight.
Natalie is a gym teacher and she is going to live on rations similar to those issued to Syrian refugees to raise awareness of their plight.
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AN Edinburgh gym manager is surviving on the same amount food as that is in a ration pack for Syrian refugees to raise money and awareness for charity Concern Worldwide this week.

Natalie Gallagher, 38, will live on just one can of red kidney beans, one bag of lentils, one bag of rice, one bag of chickpeas, vegetable oil and a can of sardines for seven days, which is exactly the same as would be provided in a ration pack to Syrian refugees.

She is taking part in the challenge ahead of the national Ration Challenge week which takes place between June 16 and June 23 and raises money for Concern Worldwide, a charity that aids some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Natalie, who manages Anytime Fitness in Edinburgh, said: “I’m looking to do a lot of charity work for various reasons, one in particular is because I am a health club manager and personal trainer and often talk to clients about healthy eating and what is in a ration pack is not a lot of food at all,

“The situation with refugees is a vast problem throughout the world at the moment and feels close to my heart. “There’s really not enough being done for refugees in this country.

“I know it is a controversial topic but I think it is because people are quite ill-informed about the situation.”

Natalie’s normal diet consists of six meals a day which are plant and protein based due to her line of work, but this week she will eat a diet which mainly consists of carbohydrates along with a massive restriction in her calorie intake.

The pack also contains two ‘coupons’ for additional rice and flour which is representative of what is given to the refugees in their pack.

Participants can earn additional food based on how much they raise.

The money which she raises for the charity will be put towards food, medicine and education for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and other vulnerable communities around the world.

Natalie, originally from Llanelli, Wales, added: “It isn’t publicised well how people can offer assistance and aid the refugee crisis.

“Nobody really knows the facts and they don’t know in what way they can help them, but this is a way.

“The challenge enables me to experience some of their hardship, of course it in no way replicates their struggle at all and is certainly nowhere near what they experience, but it allows us to experience just some of it so people will hopefully better understand part of what they go through.”

So far, Natalie has raised £420 but would like to continue to raise as much as possible for the cause.

She added: “The Ration Challenge is to provide support for refugees and the whole motion of the challenge is to show them that we’re with them, not against them.”

The Ration Challenge began in 2014 and this year alone they have raised over £370,000 which is enough to feed 2,411 refugees for a whole year.

Donate at https://my.rationchallenge.org.uk/nataliegallagher