I’m sure we all agree that every child should be raised with love and respect. They should all have access to education and be able to dream and follow their dreams. And they have the right to be happy. So, try to imagine the heartbreak parents and children feel when not only are their dreams dashed, but their lives are threatened because they don’t even have access to life’s basic necessities.
Everyone deserves food, water, shelter and clothing. But the hard truth is that many are without life’s essentials. And things are only getting worse because of the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rising food prices and devastated livelihoods means that millions more children are only one step away from starvation. In fact, a recent World Vision report warns that pandemic-related malnutrition could kill 250 children per day by the end of 2022.
Action is urgently needed to prevent a humanitarian hunger crisis that continues to grow. As I write this, I realize there is a different, more serious tone to this piece. But I feel in my heart this is an undeniably urgent matter. Globally, countries are facing many threats at once — conflict, political unrest, COVID-19, economic instability, climate change. All of these issues combined create hunger hotspots in some of the toughest places for children to live. These factors are pushing back decades of global development, creating poverty cycles that have a stronghold on people’s dreams for a better life.
Famine has no place in the 21st century; it is inexcusable because it is entirely preventable. I do believe Canadians need to pay attention to food crises every-where. Here in our country, the earliest signs of food shortage would likely initiate plans and programs to provide for our people, but that does not happen elsewhere in the world. In fragile regions, governments, societies and economies are often in turmoil. People are already spending much of their income on food. This growing food crisis also fuels conflict and vice versa. Even the best-laid national plans can too easily be destroyed by drought or gunfire.
If the world stands by and does too little too late, children and their families will be forced to make dangerous choices that will have terrible and lasting consequences.
HOW TO HELP
World Vision is an experienced global food leader that is able to meet emergency hunger and nutritional needs on a large scale. For more than 30 years, World Vision and the World Food Programme have partnered around a shared vision for a hunger-free world, distributing more food than any other organization.
“World Vision is on the ground responding to the impacts of COVID-19, with the largest emergency response in its 70-year history,” says Lindsay Gladding, the Fragile & Humanitarian Response Director for World Vision Canada. “With food alone, we reached more than 12 million people last year, but the needs are growing every day. We can and are ready to do more,” she says.
World Vision is an organization I trust to back up their words with actions. With a long emergency-response history, they have the experience and expertise to address food and nutritional needs in the toughest and most vulnerable places. In 2020, World Vision responded to the hunger crisis in 29 countries in partnership with the World Food Programme through direct food assistance and cash transfers, which help preserve the dignity of choice for people experiencing the most difficult times of their lives.
By providing assistance, World Vision helps to save lives, improve health and education and empower vulnerable communities to become self-reliant — now and in the future. Find out more about the growing hunger crisis and how you can help end extreme poverty at worldvision.ca/endhunger.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF WORLD VISION