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The Backpack Challenge


22 August 2018

The Backpack Challenge

The Backpack Challenge

Last weekend 18 Scotch students committed to living out of a backpack from 8pm Friday to 12 noon on Sunday to experience the life of a person fleeing civil war. An initiative of Middle School students, Annabel Montes and myself, the challenge involved responding to a series of challenges which would change their circumstances immediately and significantly, requiring them to think on their feet and find safe options for survival.

Some of these challenges included wearing no shoes, walking continuously for 2 hours, creating and wearing a makeshift bandage and giving away your limited supplies to people that are in more need than yourself. All of these challenges came with a description of a real-life situation that refugees and displaced people face.

The 40 Hour Backpack Challenge was an extremely rewarding experience for all involved because it gave us an insight into the life of a refugee fleeing their country. Even though we cannot ever fully understand the challenges refuges face, the challenge has allowed us all to better understand their day to day life. Additionally, it was rewarding because it gave all participants the opportunity to assist in the lives of others and assist with global social change

Some students have shared their experiences below:

‘We did this challenge to step into a refugee’s shoes for a weekend. To complete this experience, we went on a 7km hike from Belair down through Brown Hill creek unfortunately it was raining the night before and hiking/sliding down the hill wasn’t the most entertaining experience. Later that night we tried to start a fire to cook our dinner for the night.  About two hours later we could eat our dinner. We raised our money by sending emails to different people asking them in person and posting on social media about it. For anyone thinking about doing the 40-hour back pack challenge I would definitely recommend it after this being my second year of participating.’ (Sophie & Josh)

‘The most difficult challenge was sleeping outside in the cold on the floor. I overcame this by sleeping under a tree. I slept under a tree Friday night on the floor with only what was in my bag. Saturday night I upgraded to underneath a patio.’ (Imogeone)

Keagan built a shelter in his backyard where he slept the second night of the challenge – in a sleeping bag though (it was chilly). The splint was made in response to the scenario that he had injured his leg after climbing up a slippery, rocky slope. He loved the challenges but fully appreciates that refugees would be far worse off. (Keagan)

While the main focus on this event was awareness raising the students also raised funds to support refugees and displaced children.

To date, over $4,500 dollars has been raised. This is a wonderful achievement for all involved.

We would like to thank everyone that participated as well as everyone who sponsored the students or made a donation. A phenomenal effort from everyone!

Winter Birkett

That's a wrap on Term 4 and 2019! Enjoy the summer break and have a happy and safe Christmas!