THEY had met the challenge of a 30-hour self-imposed fast, drawing inspiration from the plight of millions of hungry mouths and empty bellies. Braving sporadic outbursts of drizzle, about 6,000 people congregated for a two-day sojourn at the Hong Kong Stadium to raise funds for the needy in the Third World. Students, many of them in their early teens, made up the second largest group of participants. The 30-hour famine has raised $10 million in donations so far, with organisers World Vision and Commercial Radio targeting a figure of $20 million. In conjunction with the United Nation's proclamation of 1994 as the International Year of the Family, the theme of this year's event was ''Disaster and the Family''. To keep the participants in high spirits through the fast, the organisers arranged video clips, sing-along sessions and group discussions. The event culminated in a finale concert that gave star-gazers a chance to catch nine local Canto-pop idols in action such as Aaron Kwok Fu-shing, Sally Yeh Chen-ven and Andy Lau Tak-wah. ''In addition to the 6,000 campers, we also had more than 500 helpers and World Vision friends,'' said Miss Peggy Tu, communications manager for World Vision. ''The idea behind Famine 30 is to mobilise other groups to join us.'' Legislator Christine Loh Kung-wai also gave her whole-hearted support to the cause. She delivered a news brief, along with fellow Legco members James To Kun-sun and Lily Poon that marked the start of the second day's activities. ''It's for a good cause and it takes us beyond Hong Kong, to parts of Africa and China,'' she said. Ms Loh also held group discussions on various current topics with over 90 teenage campers. One of the focuses of the camp was the sharing session, chaired by the World Vision ambassadors who visited disaster areas in Ansokia and Kenya, last April. ''I've never treasured my life so deeply,'' said Dr Ip Yan-ming, who was a member of the team that made the trip. ''The desert areas like Ngurgit, Warjir are really no place for human beings to be. I felt so depressed after looking at all the faces of gloom.'' World Vision has initiated food distribution programmes, water relief and other amenities to drought-ridden states. Such projects, though worthy, still leave a lot to be desired. ''I wonder if we're prolonging their agony, sometimes. It's like having only two hands that must reach out to 10 drowning people,'' said an emotional Dr Ip. He can, however, salvage some hope from relief efforts that have transformed the Ansokian Valley over the last 10 years from a malaria-ridden slump, to one of the most productive villages in Africa. The centre of attraction of the Famine 30 camp was surely the campers. Youngest camper, Tong Tsz-wun, nine, said: ''I wanted to experience how the poor felt. It's great. I'll get my friends to come along next year.''