On World Hunger Day, there are renewed calls for Christians around the globe to work towards breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty.
The UN World Food Programme's Executive Director, David Beasley, says that as well as dealing with the covid 19 pandemic, the world is also on the brink of a hunger pandemic. As well as Coronavirus, he says factors such as climate change and economic turbulence are affecting millions of people on the cusp of food insecurity because of price hikes or breaks in the food supply chain.
According to The Hunger Project, 690 million people worldwide are living in chronic hunger, while 130 million more may be pushed into chronic hunger by the covid-19 pandemic. The charity also says that 60 per cent of the world's hungry are women. It is calling for the world to come together with a shared goal of realising healthy, fulfilling lives of self-reliance and dignity for all people.
The charity Compassion UK is using World Hunger Day to highlight the needs of people of all ages who are caught in extreme poverty. It's encouraging Christians to sponsor and support children to help them and their families escape a life of poverty.
Jane'alam Sheikh grew up in a slum community in India and he told Premier he remembers what it was like to have no food:
"My sister and I would go to bed having had only water to drink. There was an aching in your stomach. And not knowing where your next meal was coming from and feeling scared. I can only imagine what it must be like for a father or mother not being able to feed your child."
But Jane'alam says his life changed when he was sponsored by a Christian couple:
"The magnitude of the problem is overwhelming, but change is possible. I know that because it happened to me. When I was four years old, people from the local church came to my community and told us they wanted to help. Facilitated through the work of Compassion UK, they not only met my physical needs but provided me with an education. I remember my parents' excitement, suddenly the future held hope that change was possible."
Jane'alam became the first child in his family to go to school and he now runs a charity, Pursuit International, which helps children and young people living in residential care in India become independent and self-sufficient adults.
He told Premier that thousands of children have now been sponsored in his region through Compassion UK, helping young people and their families escape from the cycle of poverty.
And as Gwyn Williams from the charity, Feed the Hungry says:
"God looks to us. This need is our responsibility, and it doesn't have to be hard. So, as things open up and 'ease down' begins, make a decision to step out, to choose to love and care for those others don't see. "