The concept of happiness changes with each person. For a young child, happiness is the time he or she gets to play, learn and enjoy with friends. However, today, millions of children across the world miss out the opportunity to happiness. How children enjoy childhood when issues like hunger, poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition follow them since birth?
Of course, we do have enough food to feed the entire world. But still 795 million people (one in nine people) in the world are hungry and nearly 400 million children live in extreme poverty. But have you ever tried to find out the reasons behind this occurrence? Here are some reasons as pointed out by the World Food Programme (WFP), the largest humanitarian agency in the world fighting hunger.
Once fallen into the trap of poverty, according to the agency, it is tough to come out of it. The aftereffect is that people become weak and less capable of earning enough income to support their family.
Think how worse the situation will be when it is added with an unstable market. The fluctuating prices and high costs of food items, no doubt, can make lives of poor miserable and force them to either sacrifice food or to get satisfied with a cheaper and less-nutritious option, which is the start of malnutrition.
Like the unstable market, natural calamities also play a huge role in hunger. Floods, storms and drought can cause crop failures, losses of livestock and massive destruction of crops. Climate change and deforestation also pose threat to farmlands. Apart from these natural reasons, hunger and malnutrition can be sometimes a man-made phenomenon like war and riots.
Similarly, lack of important agricultural infrastructure, has an indirect connection with hunger and poverty. Lack of proper roads can increase the transportation cost, absence of enough warehouses can make it difficult to store the food and lack of proper irrigation facilities can lead to shortage in water supplies. All these together, can affect distribution and cost of food items.
Though these issues can be solved, it is a shame to reveal that we waste about one third of 1.3 billion tons of food produced in the world.
The most concerning part comes when hunger strikes children. Childhood is one of the most important stages of growth in life and ousting hunger at this period is very crucial for remaining healthy later in life.
The good news is that there is a chance for hope. The World Food Programme (WFP) and millions of other non-profit organisations across the world have already started their fight against hunger. Interestingly, the World Food Programme has already provided food security to 80 million people in 75 countries and the day when we free the 400 million children from hunger and say proudly that ‘child hunger ends here’ is not far from reality.
Akshaya Patra is not-for-profit organization working for the development of underprivileged children to eliminate hunger and illiteracy. The NGO in India is serving mid-day meal to 1.4 million children across 10 states of India.