Blacktown woman Beth Fenton-Jones taking the Ration Challenge for Refugee Week

Rice, flour, lentils, chick peas, kidney beans, vegetable oil and a tin of sardines.

South Sudanese refugee Kotnyin Thon, and Beth Fenton-Jones with her Ration Challenge supplies. Kotnyin, 15, will share her story at Blacktown RSL on June 20. Picture: Harrison Vesey

South Sudanese refugee Kotnyin Thon, and Beth Fenton-Jones with her Ration Challenge supplies. Kotnyin, 15, will share her story at Blacktown RSL on June 20. Picture: Harrison Vesey

It’s not much to look at – in fact it comes in a package smaller than a shoe box – but that’s all Beth Fenton-Jones will be eating next week.

The Blacktown resident is taking the Ration Challenge, eating the same food that a Syrian asylum seeker would get in a refugee camp in Jordan.

It’s a tough ask but, in her words, a week is nothing compared to the months, years or even decades that many refugees live on similar rations.

This afternoon Ms Fenton-Jones, 32, met with Rooty Hill teenager Kotnyin Thon.

Kotnyin, 15, is a South Sudanese refugee who arrived in Australia in March. She was born in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, where she spent the first 15 years of her life with about 60,000 other people displaced by war and famine.

Kotnyin’s family arrived at the camp in 1992, and she was born 10 years later. Each month the family received a ration of maize, some of which they traded for money to buy other vegetables and clothing.

The teenager said she was “really happy” to be living in Australia.

“On the plane I asked my brother where we are, he said ‘this is Sydney’,” she said.

“I said, ‘wow, Sydney’s really good’.

“They took us to our house, then I saw a lot of food and I was happy.”

Through Sydwest Multicultural Services, Kotnyin has used a computer and been swimming for the first time. She enjoys maths and wants to become a nurse.

Her favourite food is chicken and chips.

That’s one of the luxuries Ms Fenton-Jones will be giving up throughout Refugee Week, from June 18-24.

She said she was inspired to take the challenge after working as a welfare officer for a year at Curtin Detention Centre in Derby, Western Australia.

“Working in the camp, I understood and saw the amazing feats people go through to get here,” she said.

“Food and safety is something we take for granted.”

Ms Fenton-Jones said she wanted to be a voice for change by doing something practical.

So far she has raised more than $1200 for Act for Peace, which goes toward providing food to refugees around the world.

To find out more, donate or sign up for the challenge online at https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au.

Kotnyin will share more of her moving story during a Refugee Week event at Blacktown RSL from 10am next Tuesday, June 20.