Project 2 – Safeer Aziz
24000 per Day….
24,000 people die as a consequence of chronic, persistent hunger each and every day. Three out of four of them are children younger than five years. Around 1 billion people are unable to obtain enough food to meet their daily requirements, i.e. 1 out 6 people on earth goes to sleep hungry. The Indian subcontinent has nearly half of the world’s hungry people. This is not the kind of hunger that makes headlines, as in a famine or a natural disaster, but a silent holocaust that continues day after day, month after month.
So what Causes Hunger?
It is not a shortage of food, too many people or too many lazy people. Our current food production could feed 7 billion people – compared to the 6 billion people who live on the Earth. The technological advances in the fields of fertilisation and mechanisation have lead to food production growing at an annual rate of 2.8%, whereas population is growing at an annual rate of 2.0%. However, it is evident from the number of deaths and suffering that hunger still persists.
Then what’s the problem?
The food is there for citizens to buy, but they simply don’t have or earn enough to buy it.
And the money we have is going elsewhere
• To satisfy the world’s sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13 billion – and that is the amount of money, the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.
• For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years. And 50 of those were fired day before yesterday into Afghanistan, one of the poorest nations in the world.
• According to a study conducted in 1997, about 96 billion pounds of food, i.e. more than a quarter of edible food available for human consumption in the United States, was wasted.
• Fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, grain products, and sugar accounted for two-thirds of the losses. 16 billion pounds of milk and 14 billion pounds of grain products are also included in this.
• The real story is that these lost resources could have fed 49 million people.
There are other socio-economic problems like international debt and money drain, which can be solved at government levels only.
Today, ending hunger is not primarily a technical or a production issue; it is a human issue. Hunger persists because we, as human beings, have failed to organise our societies in ways that assure every person the chance to live a healthy and productive life.
In today’s world, where so many wake up in poverty and go to sleep hungry, each of us must ask:
“How can I help?”
1) The first and foremost thing we can do is not to waste food while others do not have enough to eat.
• So much good food is usually wasted at dinner parties and social occasions. Next time we have a dinner party, encourage guests in a discreet and polite manner not to waste food.
The food can be served buffet style so people take only as much as they want. Then donate the rest of the untouched food to a shelter for the needy.
2) We can help the people in need by keeping aside a fixed percentage of our savings, even if it is 1%, 2% to help the people in need. We have to do this consistently. It’s not difficult. I know people who give 50% of their salary towards charity.
• We can set up a charity box in the family or organisation in a systematic manner. We have to convince each person in the family or organisation to put a portion of their allowance or salary in this box. Once a month, hold a meeting to decide exactly where the money will go, whether it’s to a needy family, the homeless shelter in the city or poor relative’s abroad.
3) To learn more about this plight, we have to look into our society.
• We have to be in regular social contact with community members.
There are a number of people who, due to their sense of self-respect, cannot and will not ask from others, even if they are in need. The only way such individuals can be taken care of is if community members keep a watchful eye and note how they are really doing.
• Have we ever thought that most of our friends and social contacts are from the same economic class. Friendship must never be based on the size of a house or bank account.
By socialising with the poor, we’ll develop sensitivity to their needs and learn to relate to them with respect, not in an arrogant manner.
• Visit a homeless shelter as a family to understand their plight.
We become so used to just opening up the fridge when we’re hungry, we forget there are countless millions who don’t have this luxury.
• Give up the rich, heavy food we have for dinner for just one day out of the month.
Make a very, very simple meal. This will give everyone a real life example of what it feels like to live with much less for a day. Remind everyone that for many people, such a meal is not an unpleasant reality that happens once a month. It’s a way of life.
4) The most important thing we can do is supporting the fight against hunger.
• Encourage, recognise, and reward our children, subordinates and other individuals for volunteer service to the community.
• Use the latest technology, use email, Internet etc, to broadcast information and educate the masses about the problem. Such information broadens the awareness of such problems, and helps persuade people to support the cause.
• The problem cannot be solved without the support of people like us.
A Chinese poet wrote:
If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed
If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree
If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people
By sowing a seed once, you will harvest once
By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold
By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold
Ladies and Gentlemen, lets all work together and try to make this world a better place for us and for the coming generations.