Two million children die from the effects of malnutrition every year. That’s four children a minute of every day. Hard to comprehend isn’t it?
In wake of the upcoming G8 summit in Ireland, IF held an event in Hyde Park last Saturday (8 June) where 45,000 campaigners, passionate to end world hunger, gathered as a united front to demonstrate to G8 leaders just how important this issue is. My mum devotes a lot of her time to charity work and always knows when the next ‘big event’ is coming up, so needless to say she was quick to register for the ‘Big IF’. I decided to tag along and I’m very glad I did.
Starting around midday, Hyde Park quickly filled up with smiling faces, browsing the various stalls offering everything from fairtrade goods to volunteers dressed in corn on the cob costumes and singing uplifting songs… Very odd! Some of the crowd had made a lot of effort to get into the spirit of things by stitching and painting the word ‘IF’ on their clothing and with the sun shining, the atmosphere was great. Hosts Myleene Klass and Gethin Jones took to the stage at 3.30pm and announced an exciting line up which I was unaware of.
The first speaker was Danny Boyle; a man who inspired many young creative’s with the Olympic Opening Ceremony which he directed. He motivated many of the crowd with his speech here too, stating the horrifying facts associated with global hunger. From one powerful name to another… Bill Gates was next to take to the stage. I was pleasantly surprised to see him here. For some reason, I felt like he would have ‘bigger fish to fry’ but what could be more important than being one of the most influential figures in the world and showing your support to end world hunger. “Tell leaders that a world where 2 million children a year die of hunger is unacceptable” Mr Gates said, at which the crowd roared.
As the afternoon went on, various videos were shown on the two huge screens as famous figures like David Beckham and Miranda Hart showed their support. Each speaker emphasised the importance of tweeting David Cameron with the word ‘IF’ to show him just how many people want him to buck up his ideas. It wasn’t just celebrities who made an impact here. Two young adults, Frank and Mwajuma, who were victims of extreme hunger in Tanzania, moved me the most with their words as their raw determination to change this problem shone through.
Although a name I didn’t recognise, campaigner Angelique Kidjo raised the level of passion within the crowd with her own enthusiasm and dedication. “I will fight for every child for the rest of my life” she pledged and imagine how many lives could be saved if we all do the same. Certainly the most amusing part of the day was when former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams followed his speech by introducing Beardyman. Just imagine your grandad trying to sound ‘hip’ by introducing such an act… Hilarious!
Before hopping on the tube back home, we crossed the Serpentine River to plant one of the 250,000 flowers in Hyde Park, with each petal representing one child who dies from hunger every year; a beautiful tribute, but one that can be so easily stopped if we all take a stand.
Please visit this website for more detail on the IF campaign – http://enoughfoodif.org/home