Poverty doesn’t discriminate, nor does its fighters.

Last week I posted about The Trussell Trust, calling out their undeniably powerful efforts to feed those in the UK who are not so fortunate and it got me thinking about the nature of the charity. The Trussell Trust are a Christian charity but do not discriminate those of other religions. How inspiring it is not to see such a divide, which almost certainly would be there just a few decades ago. Given that Christianity is the main faith of the UK, it almost makes sense for The Trussell Trust to be so far reaching and effective in fighting hunger in the UK.

This week, I learnt about another charitable organisation. One that has similar values in tackling not just hunger, but also homelessness and those affected by alcohol and substance abuse. However, this charity isn’t a Christian charity – it is Sikh and it’s called Nishkam SWAT.

Based in West London, Nishkam SWAT has been around in the UK since 2008 and were initially involved in a massive homelessness project, feeding and supporting hundreds of people they found to be sleeping rough. Since then, they have run a number of projects and continue to do so, such as their Elderly Care project, regularly spending time with the Elderly community, particularly those who have no loved ones to care for them, or their Healthcare project, buying a fully functional ambulance through fundraising, allowing them to give basic medical needs to the homeless. There are many more of these inspiring projects which you can learn about on their site, and there are some also planned for 2020 – a chance for you to get involved! They also rely solely on the work of volunteers to carry out their projects, with support from numerous partners and sponsors.

Impact of Nishkam SWAT’s work. Source: Nishkam SWAT

Now, I don’t like focusing on the detrimental impacts religious divides as this isn’t what FutureSphere is truly about, but it’s important to note that these divides do very much still exist. Why I am so inspired and excited by Nishkam SWAT is that they are Sikh charity who throw any perceptions of religious divide to the wolves – and how important is that in the 21st century? Very.

Sikhism itself teaches, amongst many other things, that one should be selfless and help anyone who needs it, irrelevant of their race, religion or creed and if you were to go to a Gurudwara, the place of worship for Sikhs, you would be well fed and given a space to be you in a spiritual home, regardless of your beliefs – with no expectation of paying them back. Beyond that, those who volunteer at Nishkam SWAT, are also of many different faiths and beliefs showing a true defiance of religious divide. With respect to sustainable development, the charity is a pioneer on multiple fronts, including the challenging of social and religious divide simply through their existence, but also through their primary function…

…to unite and transform financially disadvantaged communities by focusing on projects which make a difference to people’s lives in the short term and improve their prospects in the long term.

Nishkam SWAT

Some may say that you shouldn’t call them out for just being a Sikh charity, and I’d agree, but I’m calling them out for being a Sikh charity that has persistently, without hesitation, looked to help disadvantaged communities and importantly, establish themselves as a fighter for the unfortunate, no matter who they are or what tribulations may arise for themselves or for those they help. Their impactful work ties in directly with SDG 1 No Poverty and SDG 2 Zero Hunger and I also believe that we can attribute SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities, for their charitable work independent of discrimination as an ethnic minority. Massive amounts of gratitude and respect to Nishkam SWAT for all the work that they do, contributing to a better state of humanity!

Links:

Nishkam SWAT Website

Are you feeling hangry?

Who actually gets to be hangry? Being hangry is a fairly new phrase and quite aptly describes the feeling you get when you are both hungry and angry – hangry. If you do find yourself feeling hangry, you would typically tuck into a juicy burger, a spicy pizza or whatever tickles your fancy. This phrase, though, is usually said by those who have access to such relief of this anger instilling hunger. Those who don’t have access to hanger relief so readily, which is over 21% in the UK (yep, that’s right – 14.3 million of 66.4 million people), often endure feelings far worse than anger as their hunger develops.

Source: The Daily Beast

The UK is considered a first world country but when over one 5th of your population is in poverty, it is difficult to think of it as such. It does, however, reflect a daunting image of the global hunger crisis and the unprecedented scale of poverty on our planet today.

Primary reasons for referral to food banks in the Trussell Trust network in April to September 2019.
Source: The Trusselll Trust

Finding ways to tackle hunger are riddled with economic risks. “How can I afford to feed the poor when I can’t even afford a car?” Ah, what privilege does to our perspective! Those who tackle hunger independent of the apparent economic risks, certainly in the opinion of future generations, are heroes.

Source: Facebook

One such class of hero is The Trussell Trust. The British Christian charity has set up a network of foodbanks around the country and they continue to provide emergency food and support for those who need it most, campaigning to ultimately end the need for foodbanks in the UK. This campaign to end the need for foodbanks stems from the 5 week wait time for universal credit in the UK, which means there’s a 5 week period during which a person may not be able to provide for themselves – 5 weeks!

Our vision:
To end hunger and poverty in the UK.

Our mission:
Bringing communities together to end hunger and poverty in the UK by providing compassionate, practical help with dignity whilst challenging injustice.

The Trussell Trust
Source: The Trussell Trust

Tying in directly with SDG 2 Zero Hunger, The Trussell Trust epitomises the large scale action needed to tangibly help drive the hunger crisis. A huge thank you to The Trussell Trust for all the lives that they impact with their work. It’s easy to forget the support that exists for those who are not as lucky as most – here’s to calling them out!

Links:

The Trussell Trust

Tackling African malnutrion with not just more food – but with better food.

Sanku Fortification – Introduction

Malnutrition is yet another inconceivably big problem on our planet today, affecting over 2 billion people – that’s over a quarter of the global population! In countries, like many African countries, where malnutrition is so widespread, governments have stepped in to address this issue with National Fortification Standards which, through central processing plants, add the vital nutrients to staple foods, predominantly maize flour – a staple diet of many African countries. These additional nutrients make the same food healthier for those who eat it every day.

However, those living in rural areas, which is the majority, often don’t receive the centrally processed flour and are left eating flour lacking the nutrients that we all need to stay healthy and happy. Sanku is a not-for-profit organisation that has developed a technology, a Dosifier, that can be easily used in rural communities to add vital nutrients to the flour, by precisely measuring out and adding the amounts needed to the flour during the continuous milling cycle that is carried out in such farms. The technology can be easily added to existing milling plants in rural farming communities. Having partnered with scientists at Standford University, Sanku has effectively reached over 2 million people with their technology producing fortified flour!

This solution has made it possible for those living in rural and less developed communities to have access to affordable, healthy food reducing their chances of falling into the vicious hands of malnourishment. Having partnered with Vodafone, Sanku’s Dosifiers are now also smart technologies, enabling cellular management of the small scale fortification tools. Sanku also partners with Ashoka, Mulago, Give Well and many more, all of whom support and help drive the ever-increasingly important mission.

Tying in directly with SDG 2 Zero Hunger, Sanku’s sustainable technology continues to grow its reach beyond the 5 countries it is implemented in so far (Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, and Mozambique), with a target of reaching 100 million people by 2025! A huge thank you for all the team at Sanku for looking at a government-run solution to endemic malnourishment and turning this into a far more accessible, affordable and effective solution, increasing the reach of fortified flour to those who need it most. Learn more about this awesome initiative and opportunities to donate on Sanku’s website, linked below!

Links:

Sanku Website
Sanku Website

Action Against Hunger.

Action Against Hunger Logo.
Photo Credit: http://www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk

Action Against Hunger is a 40 year old charity, spanning across 47 countries, focusing their efforts towards helping malnourished children. Their work falls under SDG 2 Zero Hunger and it is inspiring that they have been working towards achieving this goal way long before the actual SDG (or even MDG) was defined, or even thought of!

SDG 2 Photo Credit: un.org

Over 260,000 children have received life-saving nutrition with over £11 million raised by the action orientated NGO over the past 10 years! Raising this type of money is no easy feat, by any measure, and expectedly, Action Against Hunger have employed some innovative ideas. One such idea was their Love Food campaign, which simply empowered customers to donate £1 from their bill towards the cause and with over 400 restaurants involved there’s no doubt this worked like a charm. One of their upcoming events, in Spring 2020, will be a 100km trek in Jordan, with the aim to raise funds, but just as importantly, to raise awareness of the “growing hunger crisis that has gone largely unnoticed in the world’s media” (Reference – Linked article).

Please read the referenced article for more information on Action Against Hunger and also have a browse of their website for more information on all the good work that they do, in pursuit of ZeroHunger. Some highlights from their website is their regularly updated blog and also their Charter, formed of the following principles:

  1. INDEPENDENCE
  2. NEUTRALITY
  3. NON-DISCRIMINATION
  4. FREE AND DIRECT ACCESS TO PEOPLE IN NEED
  5. PROFESSIONALISM

Massive thanks to ActionAgainstHunger for their passionate and resilient drive to achieve what seems to be against all odds! This post is raising awareness of the inspiring work that Action Against Hunger has done over the past few decades and the work they continue to do to meet their ambitious, yet necessary targets, primarily likened to UN’s SDG 2, Zero Hunger.

Links:

Action Against Hunger Website
https://www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk/

Referenced News Article – How British Foodanthropy is shining a spotlight on the world’s growing hunger crisis
https://www.independent.co.uk/happylist/how-british-foodanthropy-is-shining-a-spotlight-on-the-world-s-growing-hunger-crisis-a9058746.html