Never Left Behind

The economic crisis has hit us all, but as usual, those with the least have been hit the hardest. While Americans feel the strain in many ways, people in poorer countries are faced with a slew of problems that are drying up their meager livelihoods and leaving them to face starvation.

A recent article about this crisis in Malawi stated that food prices in the area are rising at an alarming rate, even as wages drop. The result is that people who are already struggling for their livelihoods are suddenly left literally fighting for their lives, just to put food on the table.

“We stopped having breakfast because we cannot manage to buy sugar and bread,” said a Malawian man quoted in the IRIN article.

But what’s really worrying these people is that it’s not just commodities like sugar that are becoming unaffordable, the price of maize, the staple food of the country, rose a devastating 37% in just three months and has continued to rise since then.

Photo courtesy of IRIN africa

Apart from just plain starvation, hunger has a lot of other side effects, often very long lasting ones. Hunger tends to keep company with extreme poverty and low education levels, while rising food costs usually come with an increase in other expenses as well. On top of being unable to afford breakfast for his family, the Malawian man quoted above walks seven miles to get to his job everyday–because taking the bus would cost almost half his income. This means that on top of having less to eat, he is also increasing his physical work, and keeping longer hours to make up for the time it takes him to travel.

In The Hunger Games, tributes from District 12 rarely win, simply because they are so weak and unhealthy from being underfed all their lives. Combine this with the fact that they have to work very strenuous jobs in the mines, and you have a situation that is starting to sound very familiar. Except that the Malawian man can’t even take out a tessera to keep his family from starving.

No child should grow up weak and ill because they can’t afford food. No parent should be forced to watch their children starve, or go hungry themselves in order to feed them. It’s easy to get discouraged in the face of a problem this huge and complex, but if we stand together, we can change things for the better. If you haven’t already done it, head over to the Imagine Better page and sign the Grow Pledge. No one should be left behind. Let the world know that hunger is not a game.

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