Our Communications Intern, Tahina Aktar, shares her personal thoughts of World Hunger Day and what we can do to help millions of impoverished people around the world.
Freshly baked blueberry and lemon muffins — the warm citrus fragrance filling our nose. Perfectly poached eggs — the yolks oozing. Bread toasted to perfection — the butter melting. Milk and two sugars — the tea bag resting. Conversation and laughter. The family are seated. And that’s just breakfast.
Since childhood we’ve been taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Schools even ran breakfast clubs, but did we ever go? How many of us actually ate breakfast as a child? Morning routine was all about painfully parting from our duvets, throwing on the school uniform, grabbing an apple and running out of the front door. As soon as the first public bin was in sight, the uneaten apple would go straight in and left to rot.
By lunchtime, the rumbling of our bellies would cause our conscious to project the neglected apple, making us feel guilty. But the guilt would only last about five seconds, before walking through to the canteen and deciding between fish and chips or lasagne. We knew fish and chips would be on the menu again on Friday (lucky us ey?), and so lasagne it was! Devouring our food with tomato sauce staining our white shirts, we would keep an eye out for the dinner ladies, careful not to get caught while disposing our greens under the table.
A few hours later, and it would be time to eat again. But not before being blasted to a myriad of food adverts. Be it stir fry sauce, low-fat chocolate or the latest fast food meal deal, our mouths would water as we watched TV while waiting for dinner to be made.
Then it’s time for the TV to be switched off and dinner to be plated. We’re seated at the dinner table, inhaling fresh coriander wilting against the chicken curry. If you grew up with siblings, then you know all about the intense debates over who would get the drumstick piece, or hovering your finger over the pot calling dibs on your favourite piece of chicken. In the end, you weren’t fussed about the piece of chicken you got, mum’s cooking worked like magic! So delicious and satisfying, you wished it wouldn’t end.
That was just breakfast, lunch and dinner. What about the countless midnight feasts? All those picnics in the park? Snacks in between meals? The summer BBQs and countless birthdays?
But picture this, after you turned your back on the apple, a starving young boy pokes his head into the bin, his eyes widening at the sight of the juicy apple lying on top of empty crisp packets and deflated juice cartons. Holding the apple in his hand, he divides it in his head: six pieces for him and his brother. A piece each for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You can’t help it. The guilt takes over and you ponder about the fridge downstairs filled to the brim. You think about all the time you eat because you want to not because you need to. A 10-second walk is all it takes to get to the fridge. It’s as easy as that for you and me. The hardest part is the 10 minutes it takes deciding what to eat.
But what about the 795 million people who go to sleep hungry every night? 795 million people who don’t have the luxury of walking to their fridges to select a snack or choosing between fish and chips or lasagne for lunch. We need to collectively acknowledge and raise awareness for World Hunger Day in order to acknowledge the millions of people suffering around the world. Extreme poverty, war and conflict have resulted in the world’s poor in a vulnerable position suffering from extreme hunger, starvation and undernourishment. Lack of sufficient nutrition is noted to have caused the deaths of 3.1 million children with one in six children being said to have been underweight or malnourished.
Show your support for World Hunger Day 2016 by spreading the word amongst your friends and family. Why not hold a fundraiser with peers or colleagues? You could even donate towards food and health programmes run by your favourite charities. With Ramadan around the corner, Al-Khair Foundation is currently running a Food programme in which they are supplying family food packs to the disadvanatged. You can make sure that your brothers and sisters around the world do not have to continue fasting even after the sun sets, by donating £50 to Al-Khair Foundation to feed a family for the whole month of Ramadan.