Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TheTVObserver: Hunger And Hope

As a member of BloggersUnite, I had a lot of time to think about what TheTVObserver’s focus will be when it comes to the Unite For Hunger And Hope cause. The concern was how to contribute effectively by posting an entry which allows my readers to think and hopefully act towards the end of world hunger.

I could list statistics until you decide to skip to StarSpread, OnTheProgram, or something else on TheTVObserver. Despite their critical importance, I think they have been mentioned so much that you end up feeling overwhelmed. However one of the stats indicated that on average, a person dies every second as a result of hunger - 4,000 every hour - 100,000 each day - 36 million each year. The idea that by the time you finish reading this post around 60 to 120 people would have died, is beyond overwhelming. You end up feeling like there is just nothing you can do. Hence the HOPE in Unite for Hunger And Hope.

Since this event is about HOPE. I choose to believe in the HOPE that we can help our fellow human beings; the HOPE that collectively we can raise awareness; the HOPE that our ability to help each other may contribute towards the end of this epidemic; and the HOPE that our efforts will ensure that we live in a world which will not allow people to die from HUNGER.

My inspiration came from thinking about a buddy of mine who introduced me to Not On Our Watch, a humanitarian organization founded by actors George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt.

Right now, more than 500 million people are living in "absolute poverty" and more than 15 million children die of hunger every year. These statistics are accurate but you can easily distance yourself from them. Think of it this way, how many people do YOU know, who may have a hard time finding money to buy food?........ WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HELP? If you can’t help your neighbor, friend, or a local stranger, why is it easier to donate $5 or $100 towards an international organization, as opposed to helping those around you?

For some of you, those questions may just be too much to deal with. Here is my position. There is always someone hungry. Always! After all, we are not crocodiles; we can’t go without food for a year. Unfortunately, we live in a world which is very selfish, and it encourages giving as a PR stunt or a way to look cultured.

As inspired by Not On Our Watch, I believe that men can do more to help women. What is clear is the fact that women are the pioneers of ensuring that those who are hungry get some food. I am yet to see a woman who can easily dismiss a hungry child or family! Men can easily block that reality out, and we would often ask, where is the husband or father? If he is there, we ask, why doesn’t he get a job? Hence I believe that men can empower women to feed those who are hungry. Also the male ego and pride can be harnessed to help other men. Perhaps the next Million Man Match can organized to raise money and most importantly resources for hungry men and families in first world and third world countries. As these men embrace "what it is to be heads of the households", a million households may be saved.

I do not believe in giving to charity or the concept of charity in a whole. I think it encourages dependency and does not help people, but it damages them further. Not unless the charity enables people to find their own way. That does not mean charities are not helpful to the millions of people around the world, who only receive help from such charities, as opposed to their own communities or government. But when are we going to have less numbers instead of the continued growth in the number of charities and people needing them? Every year the stats for hunger keep growing, they don’t decline!

I believe in helping people to get themselves completely out of their situation. In this case, giving food to a family for a month is great but what happens when it runs out? Rather you give them food for three months, whilst you help one of the parents get a job. After three months, she/he or the family will be able to look after themselves. When you help people find their own way, you build their self esteem, preserve their dignity and they feel more driven to do more to help themselves and they are most likely to help others.

But what remains, is the painful fact that millions of kids and families are hungry (As you read this post, some have died from starvation and some have been hungry for days.)

I think people in third world countries, who do not have the ability to help each other need international donations to help them. I think these charities should help more of those communities to help themselves. When you give to charity investigate first, to ensure that your money is being used responsibly. Also try and donate your time and effort to the areas your charity does work. In this case you get to see first hand how your donations are being used and it may encourage you to do more to help.

The dark side of hunger is starvation, where you see kids and adults on the verge of death due to hunger. Most of you, me included, have not seen a starving person up close. But we have been in contact with someone hungry, even if they did not say anything or we did not notice. The situation is made even more complicated when you learn that a starving person cannot just eat to get better. It is practically a medical condition, which leads to a painful death and only medical solutions can help turn the starving kid or adult, around.

Starvation is a severe reduction in vitamin, nutrient, and energy intake, and is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation (in excess of 1–2 months) causes permanent organ damage. Individuals experiencing starvation lose substantial fat (adipose) and muscle mass as the body breaks down these tissues for energy.

In 2008, Not On Our Watch’s George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub and civil rights lawyer David Pressman donated $500,000 to the United Nations World Food Program in Darfur, following warnings that cash shortages could ground its humanitarian flights.
Without immediate additional funding, humanitarian aid in the region will be crippled. We are proud to help ensure the survival of this lifesaving program and strongly encourage others to do the same. We are proud to help ensure the survival of this lifesaving program and strongly encourage others to do the same. Protection of these victims should not fall solely in the hands of charitable organizations. Governments have a responsibility to help those who cannot defend themselves,” Clooney was quoted as saying in a statement.

Asking for help from your neighbors is very hard. In third world countries that option is not even availble. Some people end up going to dumpsters to find something to eat. As we edge the world to save energy, we should also edge the world to give the food they don’t eat, to organizations which can held local families and kids who are starving and hungry. We always cook more than enough, we buy more than enough, we order more than enough and we always throw away food. DON’T
According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the gravest single threat to the world's public health. The organization estimates that one-third of the population is underfed and another third is starving.

Even in the United States, 46 percent of African-American children and 49 percent of Latino children are considered chronically hungry.

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By TheTVObserver

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WhiteSockGirl said...

I think these charities should help more of those communities to help themselves.The self empowerment component has already been introduced into the programs of bona fide projects (we don't call ourselves 'charities' anymore.. PC and all that). It is for that reason you would find that most projects in southern Africa, do focus on Bio Diversity and Culture, as to educate the communities on how they can survive making use of what nature is providing.

But in my opinion, too much responsibility are being placed on children. The fact is that our communities have been changed with the face of HIV/Aids, and we have millions of children who have to care for themselves. And we have yet to find a suitable way to deal with these children.

One program would tell you that we need to support the child to support him/herself, ie, case teach the child to abandon his/her childhood, grow up instantly and care for yourself. Cause that is our reality right now, children have to fend for themselves.

Me, I am struggling with that. For me, a child must still have the privilege to be a child regardless of his/her economical status. Thus, this teaching a child to fish instead of giving the child a fish to eat, that does not sit well with me.

TheTVObserver said...

I agree WhiteSockGirl, the idea of having to teach a child to a grow up (no matter their young age), in order to deal with their terrible situation. Is way too much to handle.

I think when it comes to kids, the projects or programs must help these kids have a short at being kids. How they could help them is to get them an education and develop a system that helps them without encouraging dependency.

We cannot change how charities or sorry, projects, operate by turning towards child abuse. Donating our $5 or $100 USD towards a system which is designed to ABUSE CHILDREN. NO!

I am sure most "programs" who are busy feeding the world the idea that "we should teach these children to look after themselves" do not even think that they are child abusers. They should save the kids and develop a system which builds them up and gives them a chance to be children, without forcing them to be grown-ups.

Already they have a lot to deal with after loosing their parents to
Starvation, hunger, HIV/AIDS, war, etc.