The prevalence of hunger is the painful evidence of global inequity and the harsh reality of poverty. CBM is committed to addressing hunger with projects that range from direct food assistance in times of crisis to longer-term food security – helping families to become confident in their ability to either produce or earn enough money to purchase the amount of food necessary for a healthy and active life.
India has one of the world’s highest rates of child malnutrition. One of the hardest hit areas is Odisha State where many tribal people live, like the Kui, who in the early 1900s, were considered to be even lower than “untouchables” in Indian society at the time. Today they continue to live in marginalized villages with limited access to government services, schools and health care facilities. Illiteracy and malnutrition rates are high. Thanks to a nutrition program supported by CBM, families in remote and neglected villages receive a nutritional supplement to add to their infant’s food for a healthy start in life as well, as seeds and training to plant gardens for fresh fruit and vegetables. They also receive chickens and goats, immunizations and health awareness programs, including the use of bed nets to reduce the high incidence of malaria.
Meet Sunamani and her children. They live all the way over in India. Their village is in the hills, so remote that they do not yet have a road to get to their village. Sunamani has to walk a long way down the hill to get to a road that will take her to a town that has a market to buy food. But what happens if she does not have any money? Let’s hear her story.
“We are all farmers in my village. Some have a small piece of land, but most of us also work in fields owned by other people. It is a struggle to grow enough food, like rice and bananas, to eat. We do not have any other jobs here so it is hard to earn money. Our children help us work in the fields. This is how life has been for generations.
It makes me sad to see my children not have enough to eat. Many times we go a whole day, and sometimes more, without a meal. This happens when our crops fail. The weather has become so unpredictable. I worry about my baby who is often sick. I have no money to go to the closest hospital. It is in a town far away.
I was happy when our church started a nutrition project in our village. I liked learning about how to start a kitchen garden. I got some seeds and started to grow fruits and vegetables. My favourites are cucumbers and tomatoes. Some families also received chickens and goats. Best of all, I was given a nutrition mix for my baby. It is a great joy to see my children have healthy food.
I want to help my neighbours so the church gave me more training on health. I like helping other moms to start gardens. I teach them to give their children fruit and vegetables to eat.
They are amazed to see that I am even making some money, growing lots of vegetables to sell at the market. I want to save enough to send my children to school. It is far away. Most people in my village have never gone to school. I hope that one day my daughters will study and become nurses. Then they too can help people to have a healthy life.”