October 16 is World Food Day and this year’s theme is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.”
Food security is a complicated issue and can often feel like a discussion for economists or researchers. So, why should we care? What does food security really mean for kids?
In Kenya, Brian Waikwa faced food insecurity every day. At 3 years old, Brian became an orphan.
“We were sleeping hungry,” he says. “It was not good, it was so bad.”
His days and nights were spent worrying about survival. When you’re chronically hungry, it’s almost impossible to think of anything but your empty stomach.
We don’t usually go a day without food. Our refrigerators are full, grocery stores stocked, and restaurants open for business. It’s not hard for most of us to find and afford the food we need. Our food security is high and we don’t live in fear of starvation. But millions of people are in situations like Brian’s, wondering if they’ll eat today.
Brian was brought to an orphanage and began eating nutritionally-fortified food. Knowing that food would be there consistently made all the difference for his growth and education.
“I learn well and dream to become a scientist,” he shares. “To go up in the sky and see all the planets where they would normally be.”
Dr. Joe Symmon (director of Brian’s orphanage) says, “Now the students are thinking about the future because their day-to-day living is already taken care of. Without food security, you cannot plan ahead because you first have to think of how to live.”
If a child’s basic needs are met, it frees him or her to rise above survival thinking. Kids like Brian get the chance to dream of a future. Food security means the security to dream.
Let’s help more kids dream.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Drew Gneiser tells stories and manages the social media at Feed My Starving Children, an international nonprofit in the business of helping volunteers turn hunger into hope with their own two hands.
All photos are courtesy of Feed My Starving Children.