We believe that this generation can end hunger in the world. the United Nations believes it too and that is why goal two of the Sustainable Development Goals is Zero Hunger by 2030. But it’ll be up to Zero Hunger Heroes working in partnership with governments and organizations to make sure that it happens.
At Canadian Feed The Children we meet a lot of Zero Hunger Heroes: children and youth who are taking leadership roles in their communities to make a difference in the fight against hunger. Whether they are raising funds and awareness here at home in Canada, or advocating, coordinating, and leading initiatives in their own communities, all Zero Hunger Heroes are working towards the same goal: to end hunger and malnutrition.
We hope that you will join us this year in rallying behind children and youth leaders who have the power to change the world for the better.
Rebecca: a sponsored child giving back
“Hunger is a problem in my community. As a result of hunger, children fall sick because of poor feeding. They suffer from diseases like kwashiorkor”(a specific form of malnutrition), Rebecca told us when we asked her about the challenges faced by her community in the Bugiri District of Uganda. “We also have sickness in the community, especially malaria, and some people have no safe water for home use. There are few safe water sources like boreholes in the community,” Rebecca added.
At just 12 years old, Rebecca has learned a lot about the health issues in her community and how malnutrition and hunger increases the risk of illness. That’s because Rebecca was elected by her classmates to be the Health Prefect and the Head Girl for her school. In these roles, Rebecca is responsible for teaching and guiding her peers in health and hygiene, and ensuring they follow school rules. She also helps with the school garden that supplements the school food program and is the leader of the school choir.
“Taking up leadership roles is very important because you help others in the community and they live a happy life. It also trains us to be future leaders,” she told us. “I participated because I wanted to earn respect from my classmates and I had a desire to serve my school.”
As Rebecca is a sponsored child, her family has also been receiving much needed support from CFTC’s local partner UCOBAC. This additional support helps to create stronger families and communities, and means that Rebecca can see a bright future for herself. It should come as no surprise that she is working towards becoming a nurse one day. “My life would be wasted if I was not in school. I want to be a nurse. This is a good job [because] patients hunt for you even when you are at home” [nurses are always in demand].
We have no doubt that as a Zero Hunger Hero – and one day, as a nurse – Rebecca will continue to teach and guide her community towards becoming a healthier, happier place for all.
Brayan: food and nutrition advocate
“If I could make one wish to change anything about the world, it would be to promote [the importance] of helping each other, and to let us all be equal so there are no more rich and poor people,” Brayan explained, while relaxing in the Las Lomas Centre in Bolivia where he volunteers his time. Brayan has been busy in his community advocating for the right to healthy and nutritious food for children and youth. At seventeen, he’s already made an impact by participating in a local group of student activists, the Youth Committee for Food Security.
Working with other youth, Brayan raised awareness of the importance of eating fruit and vegetables, and how to create space to have plants in community members’ homes. Brayan has also been elected as the president of the local youth club, the secretary of sports at his school, and took part in a healthy nutrition project, where he researched the causes and effects of hunger in his community.
“Without adequate food, families and children do not [commit] to [school and] studies, and they become sick easily,” he told us.
In Las Lomas, where Brayan and families supported by Canadian Feed The Children supporters like you live, food insecurity is a major challenge. It has become even more severe recently as a result of a year-long drought, which has made accessing and affording fresh produce even more difficult. But Brayan knows that home gardens can help families improve their children’s nutrition and health: “I will continue to raise awareness of how people can cultivate nutritious fruit and vegetables in their home.”
Brayan’s love for building resilient communities has inspired him to become a civil engineer one day. And as he works towards that goal while attending secondary school, he will continue changing children’s lives as a Zero Hunger Hero advocating for healthy food in his own community.