Why does hunger matter? An absurd question perhaps. Of course no one should be hungry. The right to proper nutrition is a basic human right. And yet millions of people suffer from malnutrition every day.
Let’s be honest, this truth is uncomfortable to acknowledge. So why should we pay attention?
In his powerful foreward to the latest issue of Hunger Matters, an annual journal on malnutrition produced by ACF International, Archbishop Desmond Tutu gets to the heart of why we should all care about malnutrition: because it exists.
Below is a selection of Archbishop Tutu’s comments that put hunger in perspective.
On the injustice of inevitability
“Never before has the world had such abundant resources of money, knowledge and food. And yet hunger continues to ravage the lives of millions of people. The great injustice is that the youngest children, the most vulnerable and innocent of all human beings, continue to go hungry through no fault of their own, simply because they do not have access to vital nutrients, where and when they are needed.
“Acute malnutrition can become so normal that entire communities simply learn to accept it, believing it to be inevitable. The acceptance of child acute malnutrition as a fact of life is one of the most shocking realities of the condition; especially when it is truly possible to make access to adequate nutrition the rule and not the exception.”
On being a parent
“The parents [of malnourished children] have only the best intentions for them and do the best they can. However they are forced to watch as their children grow weak from hunger and become malnourished – surely there is no greater pain for a parent than that.”
What does hunger feel like?
“We all know a little about feeling hungry. We all feel pangs of hunger at some point or another, sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes less often. But too many children in this world live with hunger constantly, and endure it until their bodies become so malnourished that their lives are put at risk.”
Compassion + action
Action Against Hunger demonstrates that compassion is central to humanitarian action. They are taking determined and decisive action to end one of the major injustices of all times: being denied access to good nutrition. I welcome this opportunity to express my support and urge you to do the same.”
Access the full Hunger Matters publication here