When food is more than a meal
Food brings people together. No matter where you were born, you probably have a favourite childhood meal, scents and flavours that bring back memories and nostalgia. Unfortunately, many vulnerable children and families living in dangerous places don’t always have access to nutritious food.
12-year-old Raju (pictured above) lives in one of the largest Rohingya refugee camps in the world. Families here receive food support, thankfully. World Vision, in partnership with the World Food Programme and USAID-EFSP is helping these families to feed their children. Through the Fresh Food Voucher programme and other support, they can buy nutritious staple foods, including dried fish, potato, pumpkin, onions, and spinach.
But then they have to find a way to cook it. Raju used to spend hours collecting firewood with her younger sisters, Hafsa, eight, and Shahida, five:
“With two of my sisters, I used to go collecting firewood for cooking meals for my family. Sometimes, we would get injured falling down the hill.”
Without firewood, the family can’t cook and there won’t be any meals to eat. But collecting firewood alone puts children, like Raju, at risk of injury and abuse, and stops them from taking part in classes and activities.
On top of this, the sudden growth in demand for firewood is causing a growing environmental crisis. According to a recent report, the Rohingya refugees consume 2,200 metric tons of firewood every day for cooking fuel. They remove 700 metric tons of wood – the equivalent of around four football fields of trees – daily from local forests.