In several previous articles, we have shared about the devastating effects that chronic hunger and food insecurity have on students regularly attending school. The teachers of impoverished students can attest that a student's ability to focus and retain information is severely diminished when his or her body is pained with hunger pangs.
Thanks to your generous participation in IDES' Harvest of Talents (HOT) program, thousands of students, orphaned children, widows, and families receive nutritious food in the name of Jesus over long-periods of time (usually 12-months). For many of the students that are recipients of the HOT program food, their meal at school may be the only meal they have each day. Having the guarantee of a nutritious meal each day at school allows a student to spend less time thinking about where his or her next meal may come from, and spend more time thinking about his or her studies.
This phenomenon is beautifully illustrated in a letter that we recently received from one of our faithful mission partners in Myanmar that hosts a school for needy children.
Drought has oppressed the Turkana people of Northwest Kenya for the past four years. It has left the oldest and youngest most vulnerable to malnutrition and death. The written reports we have received along with pictures of cracked earth and livestock carcasses have been heart wrenching.
Thanks to your generosity, IDES is working with several mission partners to provide life-saving food in the Turkana region (and other areas affected by famine). But the distribution of emergency food rations only relieves famine for a period of time.
With your help we can provide a longer-term solution to drought and famine in the Turkana region. IDES has partnered with trusted CMF missionaries on several projects. They have developed an alternative form of hunger relief by creating irrigated farms.
A well is dug and solar power is used to run the pumps, enabling villages to irrigate enough land to sustain life for at least 10 families. The food produced on the farms has brought down cases of malnutrition to nearly zero in these villages. Selling any excess crops provides much needed income for the farmers. Our mission partners estimate that the impact of each irrigated farm extends to as many as 200 people.
Due to the overwhelming success of the existing sites, our mission partners want to establish twenty more irrigated farms in 2018. The cost per farm is $15,000. They have submitted a formal proposal to IDES and we would like to finance at least ten farms. However, we cannot accomplish that goal without your help!
Your gift for this project will make an enormous difference for the Turkana people physically and spiritually. Our mission partners use this outreach to teach better farming methods, promote community health education (CHE), and most importantly, proclaim the Word of God.
Please prayerfully consider a gift that will bring this life-saving, and life-changing blessing to even more families and villages. You can make hope possible by selecting an amount and submitting your information at the following link:
"Timoun grangou pa tande ou.”
In Haitian Creole, this phrases means, “A hungry child cannot hear what you are saying." IDES' partners in Haiti know this to be true first hand. Children who are fortunate enough to be able to attend school often must attend without knowing if they will eat anything that day. As hunger pangs growl in their tummies, it becomes increasingly difficult to pay attention to the teacher. The students' hunger leads to a chronic inability to focus, and subsequently, to learn.
"They are grateful to be there but their bodies are weak and tired from not getting the nutrition that they need," one principal in Haiti lamented. Thankfully, this does not have to be the end of these students' story.
At the end of the summer, political divisions deepened in the Bengal region of India.
Tensions rose as a fundamental political faction began campaigning to prevent and remove the teaching of another, less indigenous language in public schools. What started as a political divide quickly devolved into personal attacks and vicious nationalism. The tensions climaxed with a region-wide general strike in the midst of violent clashes between opposing sides. Bengali government forces moved in to contain the clashing, effectively shutting down the regional marketplaces and halting the local economy.
This left thousands of tea-farming families without a way to buy, sell, and trade their goods leading to a hunger crisis of severe proportions. The strike officially lasted 104 days, leaving many people in the grips of starvation. It remains true that not all disasters are natural -- many are man-caused.