Completely transformed lives
No money or food. Hunger and fear. Then World Vision supporters brought new life
A life of plenty for every child is possible - yet every day more children go hungry.
Conflict and climate change are fuelling the global hunger crisis, which is impacting millions of children, like Sunday and Ei.
But there is enough food in the world to feed every child. And now World Vision is saying enough to child hunger.
We’re already working with the most vulnerable children, like Sunday, but now we’re scaling up our work and we’d love you to join us - because together we really can make a difference to end child hunger.
Sunday's story of extreme hunger
The hunger crisis in Kenya has left four-year-old Sunday battling for his life. He is too weak to run or play and doesn’t have the energy to speak. His brother Blue is helping him fight for his life.
When their mother died a few months ago they were left in the care of their young aunt, who has other children. Rising costs means food is unaffordable, and any income she used to receive from weaving is now nonexistent, since no one has cash to buy anything.
Blue is nine. He tends to the few goats they have left, after most of the herd died, and searches for wild berries to eat. When his brother needs to go somewhere, he carries him, because he is too weak to walk. Both boys have malnutrition, but Sunday’s health is declining quickly. He needs urgent medical attention.
What is malnutrition?
The definition of malnutrition refers to when a person is deficient or even has an excess of nutritious food. That’s why being malnourished can come in multiple forms, such as being underweight or overweight.
Mobile health clinics
Two kilometres away, World Vision has set up one of 40 mobile health clinics to respond to the malnutrition crisis hitting this area. This simple intervention is the difference between life and death for hundreds, if not thousands, of children like Sunday who are experiencing the symptoms of malnutrition. For families who are battling the fatigue and weakness that hunger brings, the distance to get to the hospital (sometimes up to 30km) is just too far. World Vision’s first line of defence is to bring services to the communities, aiming to relieve families from the effects of food insecurity.
Recovering from malnutrition
When their aunt and Blue brought Sunday to the clinic, he was weighed and his arm circumference was measured. His armband flashed red, indicating Severe Acute Malnutrition, the most dangerous form of malnutrition. World Vision enrolled him in the therapeutic feeding programme that would save his life, which included providing sachets of protein-rich RUTF (Ready to Use Therapeutic Food).
Each week, World Vision staff closely track Sunday’s recovery, along with the increasing number of children like him. Sunday makes progress. His armband is now between red and yellow, meaning he is moderately malnourished, which is enough to free him from the grip of death.
“This means that Sunday can, and probably will survive,” says Brian, the head nutritionist. “Being moderately malnourished is by no means a success, but it means that Sunday is no longer at deaths’ door and we can focus on getting him healthy.”
Sunday is well enough to return to school. Although too frail to walk there, Blue carries him seven kilometres each way. At school, he will enjoy being a child, learning and playing – but most importantly, getting a meal from a World Vision partner organisation.
A reliable daily meal will be what enables Sunday to move from just surviving to the possibility of thriving. It means resilience and long-term impact.
Ei’s story of food insecurity
Over in Myanmar and life is looking up for Ei.
She is 13 and these days is well-fed and goes to school. But when she was younger, life was hard. Her family struggled to survive due to food insecurity.
Her mother often couldn't prepare a meal until her father returned from work. On good days, he would earn enough money for a single meal. But on other days, they would go without lunch until the evening. In those instances, her mother had to borrow money just to feed the family.
What is food insecurity?
Food insecurity refers to times when a person is unable to access enough nutritious foods, often because of low-income or poverty.
The most severe form of food insecurity is famine, defined by the United Nations as “a situation in which a substantial proportion of the population of a country or region are unable to access adequate food, resulting in widespread acute malnutrition and loss of life by starvation and disease.”
Daw Aye, Ei's mother, used to be a street vendor selling rice and curry but challenging times meant it had to close.
Then, when Ei was just six, her father died.
Her mother was unable to find enough money for the funeral and necessary paperwork.
Their financial situation worsened. Her mother borrowed from loan sharks and others just to survive.
Thanks to training and food provision, life turned around
Thankfully, soon after, Ei's mother began working closely with World Vision. In 2017, both Daw Aye and Ei joined the Savings for Transformation (S4T) programme.
Training through S4T proved instrumental in improving their financial management skills - Daw Aye even shared her newfound savings practices with her friends. And the training truly has been life transforming.
Daw Aye says, "Before S4T, life was incredibly difficult. I couldn't provide my daughter with pocket money. But now, I have improved my financial management skills and learned how to allocate funds for food, healthcare, and my daughter's education. In case of urgent financial needs, I can obtain low-interest loans through S4T."
Ei, too, received training in S4T, life skills, and child protection from World Vision Myanmar. She set aside money from her new pocket money and developed a habit of saving – and was even able to buy her own bicycle.
In 2019, Ei's family received food supplies such as oil, rice, and other basic necessities, which met their immediate food needs and also meant they could save money. With the surplus funds, they were able to rebuild their house, which had been damaged by Cyclone Nargis.
Daw Aye’s new business now flourished. With investment from S4T, she ventured into selling clothes and kitchen commodities. Additionally, she received soap production training from World Vision's vocational programme. This new-found success means she can provide for their daily needs and buy educational materials for Ei.
Being food secure feels like a blessing
Ei is happy with her life now but doesn’t forget what it’s like for others. She says,
"I feel deeply saddened by the number of children around me who are unable to attend school while struggling to secure their daily meals. For them, going to school is like a golden ticket. Unfortunately, their parents are unable to provide them with food on a daily basis. Even having a meal each day is considered a stroke of luck for them."
She adds, "I aspire to become a doctor so that I can help impoverished children and families, particularly those struggling with daily food."
Every child deserves enough food
World Vision supports families like Sunday and Ei, in many countries, helping them reduce their food insecurity and providing support in other areas. This is achieved through training, provision of food, child protection and other projects, such as clean water and sanitation.
But, despite the global number of children dying from hunger declining every decade since the 1980s, it’s now back on the rise. Children are bearing the brunt of an unequal food system disrupted by conflicts and climate change. Enough of the right food and nutrition is still not reaching the children who need it.
This is just not good enough. Life in all its fullness for children depends on nutritious and sufficient food.
We believe there is enough in this world for every child - no matter where they live or the crises they face - to have the nourishing food they need to thrive.
When you partner with World Vision your effort is added to many others – which means that together we are bringing about greater change. We really are making a long-lasting difference to children’s futures, like Ei’s.
Join us today to say enough to child hunger and help save a child like Sunday.