Walk Of Shame

Last night while you were sleeping, 5000 children died of hunger, in the world.

Same number died the night before that and the night before that. In fact in a year 6.5 million children die of hunger on earth. Hunger is the biggest killer of humans and it kills more people than AIDS, Malaria and TB combined.

Also while you had dinner last night, 1 billion people on our planet went hungry.

So is their shortage of food in the world that is afflicting so many people? NO.

In fact quite the opposite is true. For the first time in history of mankind we have food surplus. We have excess to the extent that each year, worldwide, we trash 1.3 Billion tons of food.

Also 300 million people in the world are now officially obese and 1 B (same as undernourished) are overweight.

So if the world has enough food to be able to prevent every single death that happens on this planet from hunger then why are people starving and dying?

This is because hunger is not about shortage of food as it is commonly understood. It is about the rampant Injustice.

The world food system we have, is not broken. It has been designed to be unjust.

If this is not true, guess why are we not able to check this epidemic of hunger which is silently killing so many for so long. Why are govts not able to create effective policies to prevent it? Why is media not talking and raising awareness about this on a sustained basis? On the capability side, don’t we have the smarts or resources to do it? So if inspite of everything we have so much starvation happening around us, one will be led to conclude that we live in a deliberately unjust world which punishes poor for a crime they did not commit.

However the highest honor on this boulevard of shame is reserved for India.

1/3 of worlds hungry, or its largest chunk, live in India. 200 million( 20 cr) Indians are hungry or starving tonight and that is 1 out of every 6th Indian and almost 2500 children died last night having starved. In all, 2.5 million (25 lac) Indians die each year of starvation.

Malnutrition is another huge issue with 1 out of 4 child in India not getting proper micro nutrients. 30% of newborn are of low birth weight, 56% of married women are anaemic and 79% of children age 6-35 months are anaemic as well.

836 million people in India (83.6 cr out of 126 cr or 66% of population) live under a dollar a day income so they are not going to step out of hunger cycle anytime soon unless effective intervention is taken up.

By an estimate it will take 12-14 Billion dollars a year to end India’s hunger and the deaths thereof.  That should not be a big deal given resources at Indian govt’s disposal. We spend  US $40B/year on defense each year. That could be easily cut to support the dying. However rest assured it is not going to happen any time soon.

So given a lack of policy, intent and priority on part of govts world over and in India, is there anything that you can do to save lives and feed malnourished children. Here are 3 concrete micro actions that you can easily undertake at an individual level:

1) Donate Food: As you party, go to a restaurant or dial in food, do not let the leftovers go waste.  Ensure that you get them to somebody who might be sleeping hungry tonight.  If you want to celebrate an occasion, instead of hosting a feast, donate the entire meal to a food bank. They will get it to needy. Here is a food bank, led by Sam Pitroda who is trying to eliminate hunger from India by 2020 : http://www.indiafoodbanking.org/foodbanks . Here is how you can contribute as individuals: http://www.indiafoodbanking.org/get-involved/contributors/individuals . You can look for similar such institutions in your vicinity.

2) Donate Money: Choose a charity/food bank who is genuine and cares to feed the hungry. You can make a commitment to donate one days pay per year to them. In case if you donate this to Akshaya Patra http://www.akshayapatra.org/why-we-need-your-support , this should ensure mid day meal for  4-5 children for an year otherwise you can pick one of your choice.

3) Spread Awareness: This is an issue which needs widespread awareness as mass media will not cover it. More awareness would mean more involvement and hence faster action. A child to be born in 2018 might just live on because you decided to be active today. So you can talk about it, look for information online around hunger and share it with your friends and relatives (if you want you can share this post as well to start). In days of social media activism and sharing a viral chain is not that difficult to make.

Remember, people we have tasked with to serve our community and society are busy serving themselves. We will have to get involved as also tell them…………

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