“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread” – Mahatma Gandhi.
Fortunately, most of us do not have to think about where our meal will come from. Either it will be prepared at home or we can order a sumptuous meal at the click of a button. But, there are many who are not privileged even to get even a square meal per day. And, the number of such people are as high as 815 million, globally. Yes, hunger is an epidemic that has spread across almost all parts of the world. And, with 190.7 million people who suffer from hunger each day, India is home to 1/3rd of world’s hungry population. This is where food providing NGO role in India becomes extremely significant.
Hunger Action Month
The month of September is observed as a Hunger Action Month across many countries. The origin of it dates back to 2008 when Feeding America, a United States-based non-profit hunger relief organisation, felt the need of a nationwide participation to deal with the hunger crisis. Since then, Hunger Action Month is observed annually with the aim to spread awareness and act to end hunger. This month-long campaign is a platform for the entire community to work together and ensure access to food for needy people.
And, the best part is, hunger is a solvable problem!
How hunger affects sustainable development
Food is the basic need for survival for any living being. It provides the required energy to do all activities – physical and cognitive. When the stomach is empty, the only thought that clouds the head and heart is, food! In general, hunger leads to low immunity, deprived health, malnourishment, and delayed growth and development.
Hence, as an intervention several NGOs have taken up food as the core cause of their service, and The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children in India is one among them. Akshaya Patra has been in the service of providing nutritious meals to children since 2000. It implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme across 12 states of the country and strives to eliminate classroom hunger to support education. Akshaya Patra’s cause is in sync with two Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations i.e. Zero Hunger and Quality Education. Classroom hunger leads to:
- Lack of energy
- Lack of concentration
- Low levels of learning
- Low academic performance
- Lack of interest in school activities
Inferencing from the above-mentioned, it becomes evident that hunger poses as a major hurdle in sustainable development and progress of a country and the global community as a whole.
How can Hunger Action Month aid in improving Global Hunger Index
Global Hunger Index is a multidimensional statistical tool to measure the hunger status of countries across the world. The scores on this scale indicates the progress and failures in the fight against hunger globally. Remaining specific to India,
India ranks 100 among 119 countries in Global Hunger Index 2017. It has been categorised under the ‘serious’ range.
But, Hunger Action Month gives an opportunity to improve the hunger scores at a global level and at a national level. As a food-based NGO for children, Akshaya Patra campaigns for Hunger Action Month annually and urges supporters to generously participate in the campaign with the sole intention of creating a sustainable solution for hunger. When children are well-nourished and well-educated, they will grow up to be healthy, skilled, and resourceful citizens. Such citizens not only add prosperity to the family but also to the entire nation. Thus, there is a direct correlation between number of resourceful citizens and hunger index.
As a wrap, it is important to note that hunger is the number one cause of death in the world. This crisis can be dealt effectively only when the entire community actively gets involved to fight against the epidemic called hunger.
This September, donate to end hunger. Your donation will enable Akshaya Patra to feed more children thereby increasing its present reach of 1.76 million children. You have the power to end hunger, use it by supporting school meals of children.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” – Mother Teresa.