Last year an amazing group of parent bloggers and I came together to support the trip that Sian went on to Niger, launching the #ShareNiger campaign to raise awareness of the plight of families struggling against drought and hunger. We now sponsor 11 beautiful children between us from Tera and the letters that come back to us are wonderful.
While Sian’s trip had much hope in it, gardening projects and education that was seeking to put in place a future for a whole country, the effect of seeing the reality of entire families living on just one packet of baby food was devastating. There is no doubt that unless we see and feel and connect with the impossible nature of life lived like that, we cannot hope to make changes. Reporting horror brings change, without a doubt. But reporting success and hope, that matters too; we are a savvy world these days and we need to see that giving away our hard earned money makes a difference.
Anyone who was a child of the 80’s will remember the horrific images of starving people from Ethiopia; in many way the country became such a touchstone for despair and then the determination to change things that it became typecast as an ‘African Nation In Need’. The truth in the 21st century is very different. This week WorldVision is taking 3 bloggers out there to see what 30 years of sustained investment has achieved in a country that most adults in this country still have a mental picture of as desperate, hopeless, despair. Slummy Single Mummy, Food Stories and Hunter Gather Cook out there as part of the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign – with the hashtag #FoodFrontline – it’s a campaign designed to show how Ethiopia has changed, cultivating crops and land, starting businesses, educating children and developing a population supporting infrastructure. What started off as feeding the starving has turned into a country able to care for itself again.
Why Bloggers Again? Why Parent Bloggers? Why Food Bloggers?
Global Hunger has to end; we can end it, one bowl of grain, one change, one family at a time. We have the money, we even have the food, we just have to make it happen. In weeks when our own western food chain has been thrown into bleak disarray, it is only too evident that we need to understand better how the world feeds itself and see what lessons can be learned from places in the world which have had to start afresh. And why mums? The fascinating thing about so many countries like Ethiopia and Niger is how many of the people driving change are women and mothers, women driven by gritty determination to see their children thrive. Gardening, earning, building businesses.. . they have their children at the heart of what they do.
The photo above is Ayalu, my Ethiopian mum partner for this campaign. We have many similarities between us. We are similar in age (she steals the youth march on me by a couple of years and significantly better arm muscles) and we both have a large family but Ayalu also took in her orphaned niece after her mother became deeply depressed and committed suicide. She has a passion to see all her children well educated and her older, now married children give her great joy by doing well. They are a close knit, supportive family but Ayalu admits that bringing up a large number of children in difficult circumstances has been very tough; like me, her advice to young mums is to be established and secure first. Easy to say after the event!
What can you do to help?
Use your voice. Blog, tweet and share these stories with your friends, family and followers on social media. Make sure to use the hashtag #FoodFrontline and tweet us at @WorldVisionUK to let us know.
Email your MP and ask them to act on global hunger today. With the UK government soon to announce this year’s budget, we must urge leaders to prioritise ending the global food crisis.
With someone like Ayalu behind her, there is every chance for Chaltu, especially if Ethiopia can continue to thrive. Food, love, aspirations. We are so similar, we mothers, across the world. If we get behind the women in the world who are determined to better their chances, via sponsorship and by asking our government to work to end Global Hunger, we can be part of bringing all those things to them and while we do so, we can learn some lessons for ourselves and our cultures too.
One in eight people still go to bed hungry each night. That is too – much too – many.