Dilshara (in light blue) and her family’s modest shack – marked by extreme poverty.
October 16 marks World Food Day, a time to reflect on the global struggle against hunger and poverty. This year, the observance carries greater significance, as the scale of the current global hunger and malnutrition crisis is enormous.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted food systems, economies, and livelihoods, resulting in an increase in hunger and food insecurity. Combined with the adverse effects of climate change and ongoing conflicts, vulnerable communities are facing immense challenges in securing basic sustenance. Children, in particular, bear the brunt of this crisis, suffering the consequences of malnutrition and stunted growth.
One child every 60 seconds suffers from severe wasting in 15 countries.1
At least 40 million children are not receiving the bare minimum diverse diet they need to grow and develop in early childhood.2
21 million children are severely food insecure.3
Despite being undernourished, Dilshara (in pink) and her sister, Gihansa are joyful children.
Dilshara, six, and her family are among those struggling against hunger and poverty in Sri Lanka.
Her father, Susantha is the sole breadwinner and facing difficulties in finding consistent work to support his family despite his proficiency in masonry. The construction industry's standstill due to a staggering 300% increase in material costs has exacerbated his challenges.
They live in a small shack divided into sleeping and cooking sections which is lacking of basic amenities. Sometimes, they have to ask relatives for food. The family, too, is lacking access to safe water as they rely on fetching water from a nearby water channel.
Dilshara is already attending school and is in Grade 1, while her sister, Gihansa, should be attending pre-school soon. This makes their mother, Pathmalatha, worried about their family’s ability to continue supporting the girls’ education in the upcoming year due to their financial constraints.
Despite these hardships, Dilshara and Gihansa exhibit remarkable energy, expressiveness, and joy, albeit being undernourished. Dilshara's aspiration to become a doctor or a teacher reflects her determination and hope for a better future.
World Vision's support could improve the family’s household income, provide them with access to clean water, and create a more conducive environment for the girls' education and overall well-being.
Be a beacon of hope for children like Dilshara and her family by contributing to World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine Fund. Our collective work towards a world free from hunger can enable every child the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive. Let us strive to Strike Out Hunger and create a brighter and hunger-free future for all.
1,2,3 UNICEF, 2022.
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In 2022, 84.8% of donations collected were used for programmes that benefit children, families and communities in need.