Sometimes my socio-political philosophy changes. It depends on cultural climate, youthful revolutions, and even technological advancements — most of which have influence on my opinion. The one issue that’s been pretty grounded, remaining solidified in my spiritual foundation, is the indescribable issue with world hunger. I try not to be a pessimist, always looking for the glass half full, but I do wonder why, in 2014, children and families are still suffering and sadly losing their lives to starvation.
I’ve written several times here on Flanboyant Eats about the struggles my own family went through in Havana, long before I was born, and to a lesser extent when I was a baby. My parent’s malnutrition-ed life wholeheartedly shaped my consciousness on hunger and how crucial food equality is to a healthy nation. Not just in the Caribbean, but globally, especially where it’s worse than anything anyone in Cuba could imagine.
On a call last week with the World Food Program USA (conveniently headquartered just miles from me), I learned of the hands-on work the WFP is doing in Africa and other parts this school year. Our conversation was led by Fatuma, the Program’s senior program assistant for the distribution of food in several territories, namely in Kenya. For nearly a decade, she’s shared with those of us in the West, the vital role basic nutrition and food play in developing children, ultimately affecting their education.
We all know food fuels our body. Without it, we really have no where to grow.
Taking calls from Kenya, she recounted her personal story of being poor in Somalia, and but not for the WFP’s Meal a Day program, she wouldn’t have been able to excel and clutch a professional degree. That underscored the correlation between food and education. Without it, we simply can’t excel. In a suppressive environment where girls weren’t even allowed to go to school, Fatima was blessed with the life-changing opportunity to sit in a classroom and find her voice.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” –
Through their Feed a Dream Back to School Campaign
, the WFP USA, with our help, wants to raise enough to bring 300,000 school meals to children in Kenya, Niger, and Honduras. A simple meal makes a world of a difference in their performance. And as unbelievable it may be to us, $1.50 will allow a young soul to eat for entire week. $50 will give them school meals for a an entire year. That’s literally the cost of my weekly groceries.
If we consider these following facts, it’s easy to give up a week of our lunch (theoretically in a brown bag) to help these little spirits feel physically full, but also emotionally and mentally:
Less than half of school-age children in Nairobi, Kenya are in formal
schools, due to poverty, safety and girls being unfairly excluded from
Kenya has one of the largest and most successful school meals programs.
Four years ago, WFP and the Kenyan government expanded school meals
to include the innovative home-grown school meals program that brings
crops raised by Kenyan farmers to provide meals for Kenyan students.
In Honduras, WFP focuses on the areas with the greatest needs and hardest to reach in
there, working with the government to reach 86% of all primary
schools with WFP focusing on reaching the areas with the greatest need.
”Women are the foundation of every society and girls grow into women and need to be supported. Nothing can move forward in the world without women, mothers, and girls.”-Fatuma Mohamed
Many students in Honduras get school meals through the home-grown
school feeding program, with 93% of the ingredients coming from local
farmers and businesses, feeding minds and growing the local economy.
2.5 million Nigeriens are unable to meet basic food needs even under
WFP provided meals for more than 165,000 children during the 2012-2013
school year and is working to scale up coverage to reach 80% of children.
How can you and I help children, especially young girls get the required nutrition to help them elevate their minds and become productive citizen in their own societies and perhaps even ours? The World Food Program USA has activated another moving and effective initiative which will give these needy children meals this school year. The Lunch Money Challenge
works. For every lunch you give up, a child will eat for one full week. If you pack your lunch this entire week and donate what you would have spent eating out, a child will be fed the entire year.
There’s power in numbers. Even the smallest amount.
Fatuma is a testament. A working wife and mother of three, the WFP’s Meal a Day program is what saved her life and her childrens’, too. Let’s help save other young girls’ lives..and all the kids whose future we have a responsibility to shape.
“Today, an estimated 66 million children in developing countries attend primary school hungry, with 23 million of them in Africa alone.”
This post is part of a campaign with The Mission List and the World Food Program USA. Images courtesy of WFP USA. All opinions and experiences are always my very own.
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