30 Hour Famine: Go Hungry to Help Disabled Kids

A staple of YCIS Beijing’s Upper Secondary School service-based activity is the annual 30 Hour Famine, an opportunity for students to raise money for a worthwhile cause in accordance with their CAS requirements as well as personally experience the challenges that millions of people face on a day-to-day basis. Year 13 student and head event organizer Lily Sandifer-Stech spoke on the purpose of the event and what she learned through the planning process.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Lily Sandifer-Stech. I’m in Year 13 and I’ve been a student at YCIS Beijing for two years.

Please introduce the 30 Hour Famine event. What is the purpose the event?

The 30-hour famine asks students to volunteer not eat for 30 hours as well as get sponsorships for this feat to raise money for the organization World Vision. We started at 8:20 in the morning on a Friday and ended at 2:20 the following day.


We work with a specific branch of World Vision that gives money to disabled people. We had a presenter visit us who talked about the importance of the disabled children they help receiving therapy before they’re 6 years old to build up necessary strength. The money we raise goes to giving children a safe environment to receive this therapy.

Describe some of the activities that students participated in during the event. What was the most memorable?

The famine team organized various activities throughout the day. We wanted to focus on bonding and team building activities to strengthen the bond between Year 12 and Year 13 students. We played games like Two Truths and a Lie and Eight Picture Scavenger Hunt, games that encouraged people to get to know one another. For each activity, we had people change groups to make sure they met new people. The most memorable activity was Glow in the Dark Hide and Go Seek and World Hunger Jeopardy. We carried on the Hide and Seek from last year, which people liked the most and were most involved in, but World Hunger Jeopardy was also important because it helped to educate everyone about the issues in a fun fashion.

Explain the planning process prior to the event.

We started planning about two months ago. One crucial part was getting teachers to volunteer to help supervise the famine. We ran into some difficulties because it was very difficult finding a date due orientations and PD, but in the end we found all the teachers we needed. We focused on planning team-building activities for the event itself.


How did you ensure the success of the event?

Planning was definitely a big part of it. We had a schedule of what we would do when, when we would start each activity, etc. Due to the numbers of students changing at the last minute, we had to adapt on the fly, but we thanks to our planning we were able to avoid any issues.

What do you hope your classmates learned from this event?

I hope that they were able to empathize more with people who are starving on a daily basis. 30 hours is nothing compared to what many people are going through daily!

I also hope one take away was that the world isn’t actually as bad as it seems in the media. When playing World Jeopardy, a lot of the statistics and answers were lower than expected. It shows that we as a world are progressing and are making progress in the fight against hunger.

Finally, I hope that they were able to form closer bonds with their classmates in different year levels. Hopefully from this activity we’ll form closer relationships be able to do more activities together in the future.

What did you learn from the process of planning and executing this event?

I learned that being flexible is important. We had to adapt our plans according to late-adjusted student numbers, including modifying the team building activities to fit the number of people we had. We also had some technical malfunctions with the glow sticks so we had to grab glow in the dark tape at the last minute instead. Thankfully, these issues didn’t influence the success of the event!

How did YCIS Beijing teachers support you during the planning and execution of this event?

Lots of teachers volunteered to help us during the event. They were very generous with their time; some of them stayed longer than their shift required which was really great. Ms. Gupta, our IBDP Coordinator, was especially helpful. She was very involved with planning, helping to guide us, to recruit teachers, etc. She also helped to call a student’s father to help cater food for the event, which was great as we were able to donate even more money to the cause thanks to a generous discount.

What advice do you have for next year’s organizer?

I’d advise them to push the students to reach out to more people to get more sponsorships as I think there’s a lot of potential to raise even more money. Also, during the famine, to keep pushing people to participate in the activities and keep everyone as energetic and engaged as possible.

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