Posts filed under ‘Hunger’

It is the Little Things….

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I haven’t been here for a while. I should perhaps apologise but can only say that I lost my words for a while. Hard to lose your words, you know you should be writing but the letters will only float about in your head, they won’t come together to make anything coherent. Feeling like that I thought it best to be quiet, I write enough nonsense to know when to leave well alone.

But now it is the New Year, all hail 2013. I am feeling better, more refreshed and ready for what is out there. Have you made your resolutions? I have done the usual healthy eating promise to myself. You know the one don’t you? Eat less, move more is the mantra:) I have my low-fat dinner prepared and am enjoying the new exercise regime. When you get to my age walking isn’t enough, you need to get a bit more vigour into your life and so it’s me and Davina. I don’t plug on here but promise that the new Davina workout is good and I am enjoying it even if my stomach muscles are off sobbing in the corner.

Beyond that, what do I want from 2013? World Peace? Unfortunately, I think chances of that are slim. While we have people who know they are right and everyone else is wrong then compromise will never be part of the picture. Watching the news about my own country proves that to be so. (I am considering a blog about what we are going through at the minute but it will take time and effort so will be one you have to wait for, at least for now).

So, should we have an end to hunger? Please Sir, let them have more? Another one on my big list. Alas, again I think we aren’t going to solve this one in 2013. And again, doesn’t it come down to mankind? Politics, power, greed drives so much pain in this world and my feeling is that curing this will cure hunger, disease and poverty. Pity the big pharmaceuticals can’t make a pill to cure that.

What then are we left with? We are left looking at ourselves in the mirror. Take a long hard look folks. Are you happy with what you see? I’ll wager we all struggle with that long hard look, I know I do. How do we make ourselves feel better? I think it is simple. Do something that isn’t for you. Do something to make someone else smile or their life just a little better. I have read reviews of the new book by Lucy Mangan and how she worked through 2012 by doing one good deed a day. Lovely idea and a great book so why don’t we all take a leaf from Lucy’s book. Stick a pound in a collection box, visit an elderly neighbour, volunteer. These can all be done with only a little of your time or money. Perhaps that is what we should all aim for this 2013. Do the little things and hopefully they will start to impact the big…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading,

Lesley

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January 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

When I Don’t Want to Write……

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I love blogging, I have been at this malarky for almost two years and have loved every minute. Well, perhaps not every minute. There are times when I struggle. Sometimes I lack inspiration. I know successful writers say you should put words down even when you aren’t in ‘that place’ but when I do I am always disappointed and trash the result. The other time I struggle is when I find the topic upsetting.

I read yesterday’s news about the latest Save the Children report on the risk that 500 million children could suffer from the long-term effects of malnutrition. Yes, this is a headline-grabbing figure meant to hit you between the eyes. Do people look at a figure like that and think no, that can’t be? I wonder. Would it be better that the figure was four hundred and ninety-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine? Facetious perhaps but whatever figure is out there the story remains sadly the same.

We have a global recession, fact. We are seeing the impacts of this recession. Food and fuel prices rising and for most salaries not keeping pace with these increases. We see stories every day of families struggling in the developed world. It may be easy to dismiss stories of the previously affluent now struggling due to redundancy but isn’t it a sense of scale and expectation? You start to struggle when bills go up and you don’t have the income you had before. You must adjust and that adjustment is painful.

However, the sense of scale takes on a whole new level when you struggled before the recession hit. Poverty has levels of desperation. There can be enough food and shelter but nothing spare to give life joy. Hard but at least you survive? Then there is not quite enough, where to have enough food means some other necessity will be sacrificed; perhaps heat or shade. And then?  Then you get to the level where no matter what you do there isn’t enough to eat and what you have will not provide the nutrition to maintain good health. Beyond that lies starvation, not something any of us want to dwell on.

I have written before of my love of words. There are words that make me smile. Thrive is one of those words. Children should thrive. Those two words put together give me that mental image of toddlers taking their first steps with chubby baby cheeks and half a dozen white teeth showing as they smile. I know that sounds like a Hallmark card but that is the image in my head, baby curls and all.

There are words that I don’t like. Malnutrition is one. When you look up the definition of mal you get this – a combining form meaning “bad,” “wrongful,” “ill,” occurring originally in loanwords from French. Combine mal with nutrition and you get bad or ill-nourished. The effects of malnutrition are well-documented. Stunted growth and development leading to long-term poor health. An inability to fight disease thus shortening life expectancy, sometimes dramatically. Even when malnourished children reach adulthood they are more likely to live in poverty and so their children will suffer this same fate.

Lastly, we should not forget the ‘here and now’ effect of malnutrition. That is hunger. Not enough food and not enough nourishment from the food you have means that you never feel well. You exist with an ache that never goes away, it is there when you wake and is the last thing you feel before sleep. I have always believed that children need joy to thrive, that joy must be hard to come by when you exist with that ache……..

I close, as always, with this:-
  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

February 17, 2012 at 12:28 am Leave a comment

Ask the Obvious Question?

A little reminder of why I do this. The premise is simple. You donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

I had, as is my wont, a wander through the news pages today. I found this – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15904408, NASA has launched the most ‘capable’ machine ever built to land on Mars. Read the full text, it is a great story and evidence again of man’s committment to exploration and science.

I am in awe of the brains that drive these scientific initiatives. Knowing our brains are mere neurons sparking small electrochemical signals I am astounded that we have such variety in the Arts and Sciences. I envy all great brains that bring beauty and new discoveries day after day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the talent to move or astound? I always wanted to possess artistic talent but alas have none. I literally struggle to draw a straight line using a ruler. I am told I have some talent with words but I just witter away on here and hope to make people think. This is not false modesty, I have read too many great words from others, I know my place:)

Back to the NASA Rover, aptly named Curiosity. Launched today, they hope it lands safely next August. If it does, it will roam Mars sending images and collecting samples from the planet’s surface. Hopefully it will allow the scientists who monitor the output to determine if the Red Planet can or could have supported life in any form. Mind-boggling eh? It is stirring stuff.

However, (you must have known it was coming), this one mission is costing $2.5 billion. Two and a half billion dollars. Whoa Nelly. That is a lot of cash. All that money and brainpower. I wonder. If that funding and those brains were put into ending poverty and cruelty to children how much difference could it make? They say that it would take $30 billion a year to start the agricultural programs to end world hunger. The costs for the Curiosity module wouldn’t cover a month but does that mean we shouldn’t consider it?

I add another link for you. This is a link to an article on the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s website. The article is a few years old but the figures still have the power to shock me as I know the sitation hasn’t changed that much. Please read – http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000853/index.html

Once you have read this then answer me one question. Which do you prefer?

This?

Courtesy of BBC website

Or this?

Perhaps we can have both; I would like to think so…..

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

November 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

Where Does the Money Go?

You know why I do this. If you don’t please read the About Lesley Page….

As the purpose of this blog is to (gently?) coerce any readers into donating to a childrens charity I thought I would do a little research on how your donations can be spent. I have focused on three of the big hitters, Unicef, Save the Children and Oxfam. I am, like everyone, conscious of the cost-cutting measures being introduced by global Governments. These make it harder for people to look beyond their own family. I understand this; those who rely on us still need our love and financial support. However, even if it is pennies and cents shouldn’t we be looking to help a few others?

I was also interested in the value-for-money element from the charities. They are all open about their accounts and how they try to use funding for best effect. We have all heard the stories of organisations (I will not call them charities) whose ‘overheads’ mean that only a small percentage of monies raised will go to a good cause. When we give away our hard-earned income we expect it to have the biggest impact possible. Therefore, a quick summary below how my big three for today will allocate your money. Please note that this is done as best I can from internet research on the charities and my apologies to them if any details aren’t completely accurate:-

Unicef – Does anyone assume Unicef get funds from the UN? They don’t you know. All their funds come from their own fundraising efforts, be they donations, working with corporations or the sales of their cards and gifts. They raised over £60 million in 2009, a significant amount. About 22% of this will go to raising more money, spending to accumulate for future years. In total about 76% of the income raised will go to their causes. This means 4% goes to keeping the organisation going, I think this shows tight financial management considering their size and the scope of the work they do.

Oxfam – From my research the total raised by Oxfam in the last year was over £300 million. A huge amount of money but there is a huge amount of good that needs to be done. This money comes from individual and organisational donations plus some Government funding. They will use 7% of the funds to generate more income, 10% on running costs and governance with 83% spent directly on emergency, development and campaigning efforts. A lot of money but a lot of projects, I do like their option to donate to specific projects with a targeted amount to be raised.

Save the Children – In 2010 Save the Children UK had fundraising totals of just over £290 million. This came from a variety of sources, individual and corporate donations, business partnerships, Government funding for example. Future fundraising and investments uses 7% of the monies raised, retail and governance/property uses 4 % and 89% is spent on charitable activities, including 41% on one area, hunger.

Looking at the figures above I see 3 major organisations trying to do good and trying to do that good in a financially responsible manner. They use revenue to generate more revenue and keep overheads to a percentage minimum. They are open with their financial reporting but use their websites to focus on their main aims. I add some extracts from their mission statements below. I think they are worth stating, worth the little time it will take you to read them:-

Unicef – UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children’s rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress.

Oxfam– Oxfam International is an international group of independent non-governmental organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world. The Oxfams work together internationally to achieve greater impact by their collective efforts. Oxfam believes that Poverty and powerlessness are avoidable and can be eliminated by human action and political will. Basic human needs and rights can be met. These include the rights to a sustainable livelihood, and the rights and capacities to participate in societies and make positive changes to people’s lives. Inequalities can be significantly reduced both between rich and poor nations and within nations.Peace and substantial arms reduction are essential conditions for development.

Save the Children – Our vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Our mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

You may read the words above and think they are high-fallutin? Perhaps you think them over-worthy or too optimistic? Then please read some of the other facts I was able to pick up from the websites, here are facts to be aware of:-

  • 22,000 children under 5 die every day. Every day.
  • One child dies every 3 seconds largely from preventable diseases that could be combated by the availability of basic health care.
  • A billion people go to bed hungry every day
  • Worldwide in 2009, there were an estimated 16.6 million children who had lost one or both parents to AIDS
  • Thousands of the world’s poorest people are losing their homes and livelihoods as a result of a new wave of land deals, including 22,500 people in Uganda who lost their homes because of a timber company.

I could add many more words, many more horrible facts to this blog but I hope these will be enough to make you think and even act?

I close with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm 2 comments


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