Source: Save The Children
Gabriella Waaijman at a distribution of hygiene kits in Türkiye. Gudmund de Stordeur Baudinet/Save the Children.
Right now the world is an incredibly dangerous and frightening place for children. The conflict in Occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, the earthquakes in Afghanistan, the violence in Sudan, widespread global flooding, and the continued impacts of the climate crisis and ongoing conflicts in so many countries are creating extreme levels of food insecurity. And it is children who are suffering.
As Humanitarian Director of Save the Children International, I’ve seen what hunger does to children. How it eats away at their childhoods. How it drains their energy and silences play. How it consumes their curiosity and crushes learning. How it grinds down their joy and turns their dreams to dust.
My work takes me to places where I have seen thousands upon thousands of people on the move because the land they live on no longer provides. Where I’ve heard the horror stories of parents in conflict zones losing their children one by one because they have no food or water. Where I’ve seen children in such pain from malnutrition that they can barely move let alone smile.
But hunger isn’t just eating away at childhoods in places ravaged by crisis. As the cost of living spirals upwards, children in all communities are not getting the food they need to play and learn. In classrooms in your own neighbourhood, there could be children who are watching their futures disappear before their eyes.
This is a truly global catastrophe. Right now, hunger is eating away at the childhoods of 1 in 5 children across the world. It is heart-breaking that millions of children still go to bed hungry every night.
This is a challenge that knows no borders, no boundaries, and no limits. This crisis strikes at the very core of our shared humanity. It is the most profound example of a world that chooses to prioritise differently. That chooses not to prioritise children.
We live in a time of remarkable technological advancement, where information travels across the globe in an instant and resources are abundant. Yet, hunger persists. We can change the trajectory of an asteroid, but we struggle to ensure that every child on our planet has access to enough nutrition.
Imagine a world where no child goes to bed hungry and where every child can live up to their full potential.
How many more dreams would be achieved? How many more brilliant minds would contribute to progress for all? How much more laughter would there be? How much more energy, optimism, belief and happiness?
I’ve seen what’s possible when people choose to put children first. How children on the very brink can survive, recover and then thrive – thanks to the expertise of Save the Children and the kindness of people like you.
We equip children and families with the tools to fight hunger. Our medical teams treat children with severe malnutrition, using antibiotics and therapeutic milk. We give malnourished children high-energy peanut paste packed with all the vitamins, minerals and calories they need to survive and recover.
We train local health workers to diagnose, prevent and treat malnutrition in their communities. And we give parents the cash they need to buy nutritious food for their children.
We can really make a difference – but we can’t do it without your support. Your choice matters. Your choice can help stop hunger taking everything from children. A small donation can save a child’s life. It doesn’t have to be much if everyone donates a little bit.
Hunger is personal to me. I have seen what it looks like. I know what it does.
That’s why I’m asking you today to give what you can. You can help children fight for their childhoods and feed their futures.
Gabriella Waaijman, Save the Children’s Humanitarian Director.