I have been working with poverty and poverty alleviation for almost 30 years. Many of my colleagues have rcently returned from Chad, Niger, Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq and talk to me with a mixture of sadness and anger at the poverty they see. I regularly see it here in pockets in Indonesia.
After some time in India in the early 1980's, I was apalled with the poverty I saw. As an individual and working for a humanitarian organisation you can only do so much. What changed me greatly was a hard hitting book called "How the Other Half Dies
The Real Reasons for World Hunger " by Susan George
Hunger is not a scourge but a scandal. This is the premise of Susan George's classic study of world hunger. Contrary to popular opinion, malnutrition and starvation are not the result of over-population, of poor climate or lack of cultivatable land. The reason why hunger exists on such a vast scale is because world food supplies are controlled by the rich and powerful for the wealthy consumer. The multinational agribusiness corporations, Western governments with their food 'aid' policies and supposedly neutral multilateral development organizations share responsibility for the fate of the undeveloped countries. Working with local elites, protected by the powerful West, the United States paves the way and is gradually imposing its control over the whole planet. How the Other Half Dies was written after the World Food Conference in 1974.
I would like to introduce you to how people spend money on food and it really is a question of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. I joined the Red Cross when I was 22 when I felt so angry at my own Government's policy in Vietnam. I was there when Vietnam reunified as a country. That was a pleasure to see. So let's look at what people buy/eat on a weekly basis in different parts of the world. And what can we do as individuals ?
Look At The Food They Bought For One Week And The Number Of Persons In The Family
The Melander family of Bargteheide - 2 adults, 2 teenagers
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
The Revis family of North Carolina - 2 adults, 2 teenagers
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
The Ukita family of Kodaira City - 2 adults, 2 teenagers
Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25
The Manzo family of Sicily - 2 adults, 3 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
The Casales family of Cuernavaca - 2 adults, 3 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna - 4 adults, 1 teenager
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27
The Ahmed family of Cairo - 7 adults, 5 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
The Ayme family of Tingo - 4 adults, 5 teenagers
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village - 7 adults, 6 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp - 3 adults, 3 kids
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
What can we do about ? Would be interested in your feedback.