Ensuring their Futures

June 6, 2015

Kirk Noonan, Vice President – Creative Communications, Convoy of Hope

Courtesy: Convoy of Hope

Courtesy: Convoy of Hope

Under his blue shirt, his small chest heaved. He wrung his hands and gulped, not exactly sure what to expect. His teacher said he was nervous and that telling his story was never easy, but he wanted to share it so that people knew all the pain he’d endured, the challenges he’d overcome and the victory he’d experienced.

Yes, he said, there had been countless days without food. Yes, his father had abandoned the family. Yes, his mother soon followed suit, saying she was too brokenhearted to carry on as the head of household. Yes, he had been kicked out of numerous schools once they learned he could not pay the fees. Yes, he had spent countless days scavenging for food on an empty stomach. And yes, his parents’ decisions to leave had hurt him badly.

“The saddest day of my life was the day I found out my father left us,” he said, as his voice cracked, and a stream of tears betrayed his seemingly unconquerable spirit. “I thought my father had just traveled somewhere for work, but he left us. I felt so much sorrow in my heart … ”

He paused, unable to talk by this point, and wiped his tears with the back of one of his sleeves.

“I didn’t want to live with bitterness,” he managed to say, “so, I went to God and prayed.” He paused again, this time longer than before. “Even today I don’t have any anger toward my father or mother.”

His story is one of more than 147,000 as represented by each child enrolled in our Children’s Feeding Initiative. He and each of the others we feed and care for are why in 2015 we are so intent on ensuring their futures through a dynamic strategy where every child is ensured participation in an innovative and holistic approach to caring for children, their families and even entire communities.

“By providing every child with this strategy, we’re putting a stake in the ground in our fight against poverty and malnutrition,” says Hal Donaldson, co-founder and president of Convoy of Hope. “In doing so, together with our partners, we’re ensuring the futures of hundreds of thousands of people and we’ll help end generational cycles of hunger and poverty.”

Convoy of Hope feeds children regularly in the Philippines, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Haiti. The strategy includes myriad interventions — beyond nutritious meals — focused on reducing malnutrition: hygiene promotion, micronutrient supplementation, clean water, preventing diseases associated with malnutrition, and emotional and spiritual care are just a few. In addition, it also works with parents on child care, income generation, and giving families the training and tools to grow their own nutritious food. The strategy can include training women how to start businesses and giving local farmers the training and tools they need to grow reliable crops.

“Time and time again we’ve seen how focusing not just on children, but also their families and communities, can have a positive impact,” adds Donaldson.