Sustainable development on Planet earth in a decade!

Anoushka Jadhav

Sustainability as stated by Collins dictionary -the ability to be maintained at a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damage. It has three principal pillars: economic, environmental and social. The three foundations are referred to informally as humans, earth and income.

Quite often people believe that development is a process of getting things done, whereas what we learnt is that it is a process of doing things selflessly especially in LDC’s (Least developed countries).We recognize that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, agreed by all nations in 2015, are indivisible — a deeply interconnected network of issues.

(Goal 1) Poverty “a curse of the society” is a state or situation in which an individual or community lacks the financial and necessary resources for a minimal standard of living. 

Poverty contributes indirectly to hunger (Goal 2), as there are no resources or money to provide for food. Furthermore, hunger does not lead to good physical or mental health and well-being(Goal 3), rather it leads to chronic disease, depression, lung and heart disease, so on. Therefore, consequently for the less fortunate it causes a chain of suffering and hardship.

In a world where we produce enough food to satisfy everybody 821 million people-one in nine-go to sleep every night on an empty stomach. Even more-one in three-suffer from malnutrition in some way. One of the great problems of our time is the eradication of hunger and malnutrition. Not only does the effects of inadequate food cause suffering and poor health, they also delay development in many other areas such as education and jobs. 

Goal 2 – Zero Hunger – aims to end hunger, achieve food stability, improve nutrition and encourage sustainable agriculture which is the World Food Program focus.

So, what can we as individuals do to reduce hunger?

There are ways that individuals can make a difference in the short term:

“One person can help feed many hungry mouths:

Donate money-to charitable organizations

Support food banks- Contribute to these food banks.

If you can’t afford to make donations yourself, a few clicks will instruct others to donate money on your behalf.

Reduce food waste. As per the paradox -the world is ready to take off to land on Mars but we are still struggling to bargain for a few pennies with the poor farmers who toiled day and night to provide food for us which was quite evident during COVID-19.

Statistics in Singapore – Food waste has risen 40 per cent over the past 10 years, from 568,000 tonnes disposed of by households and the food industry in 2008 to around 809,800 tonnes in 2017. This made up 23 per cent of total waste disposed of in Singapore in 2017, with only 16 per cent recycled.

Source:https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/nea-to-launch-campaign-to-reduce-food-waste-next-week

Population increase, population aging, and decline, as well as migration and urbanization, impact nearly all development priorities. They affect consumption, development, jobs, distribution of income, poverty, and social security, including pensions; they also make our efforts to ensure universal access to health, education, housing, sanitation, water, food more difficult.

The time for change is now!

We have to go side by side to end poverty and hunger to live safe lives. Taking care of all the life in the ocean and land, clean energy and water they go hand in hand. The responsibility to end hunger does not solely sit with international organizations, government bodies but individuals like you and me can make a difference to own the pressing need of feeding the hunger.

HELPING HANDS

JAIDEV BALAJI

Udavum Karangal is one of the very few organisations in India to care for homeless, mentally ill people. In a country, where mental health has been largely overlooked for ages, the progress the organisation has made in treating and rehabilitating its rescued patients is highly inspiring, in the least. Udavum Karangal traces its history back to 1983, when a severely malnourished baby boy, found abandoned outside a movie theatre was handed over to Vidyakar, the founder of the organization. There has been no looking back for the organisation ever since. Transcending human barriers of caste, creed, religion and in this case mental disability, the organisation is home to 2,000 people from varied backgrounds, staying true to its name ‘hands that reach out to humanity’.

The happy demeanour of each woman at UdavumKarangal hides a tragic story, each one more brutal than the other. Not so surprisingly, the children of the rescued women have also come to live with Vidyakar, along with the abandoned kids. Each of these children has unique names, which are in some way related to their stories of rescue. And interestingly all of their names end with ‘Vidyakar’. “There is a lot of social stigma attached to orphans or kids without fathers. I did not want my children to face that kind of discrimination which I went through and hence the decision. These children and adults are the rejected invisible fragments of our society. At the end of the day, caring for them requires no complex science or a government rule. It all comes down to one thing – kindness. And kindness can be provided at free of cost “, concludes Vidyakar.

It was in the morning that a stranger called to inform Vidyakar that a bag had been found inside a dustbin near a drain in Anna Nagar, Chennai. It was not just any bag, though — it was a bag with a baby inside. Such calls come quite often to Udavum Karangal. So, without wasting any time, Vidyakar rushed to the spot on his scooter but in vain. He gave some more landmarks so that Vidyakar wouldn’t miss the bag. Vidyakar went back to the same spot and this time, he could find the bag. It was closed. When he opened it, he found a newbornbaby gasping for breath and frothing. The umbilical cord of the baby was not tied and there were ants all over its body, feeding on its tender skin. He rushed the baby to a nearby hospital, and in two days’ time, the baby was ready to go back home; home for the baby was UdavumKarangal, as it was for countless other abandoned babies.

One thing that struck Vidyakar then was the clothes used to drape the baby, and even the bag used. From the look of it, it was clear that he was not from a poor family but it’s unfortunate to abandon a child! Vidyakarnamed him Abhishek Vidyakar. Even after thirty years, the name reminds him of their connection. Abhishek means a blessing. In no time, Vidyakar noticed that Abhishek was an exceptionally brilliant and creative child – “a special child”.

When he was ten, Abhishek learnt that Papa Vidyakarhad picked him out of a dustbin. Till then, he was happy playing with the other kids at the orphanage. Only when he was sent to a private school that he realised he was different from the other kids. He saw parents dropping children off at school and mothers coming in the afternoon with lunch and feeding their children lovingly. At the same time, he came in a van from the orphanage, never had anybody feeding him lunch. While his friends narrated stories of their parents, he had no such stories. It was the resultant sadness and dejection that triggered his desire to search for his roots.

“I started searching through Papa’s files and found, completely by chance, my file with a photo of me as a baby in a travel bag. It was not sorrow or anger that I felt when I saw the picture. I felt blessed that I had a Papa who gave me shelter and took care of me. He brought me up like his own son. What more can I ask for? My parents might have abandoned me in a dustbin. But Papa picked me up from there and gave me life. So instead of shattering me, the truth behind my origins made me feel calm and peaceful. I don’t even think of my biological parents. Why should I think of those people who never bothered about me? I think of my Papa and nobody else.”

Like any other child in similar circumstances, he was flooded with questions to which he had no answers. “Sometimes I used to think, why is it that I don’t have a family when all the other children in school have. Then I told myself that Papa was my father, mother, and my family. But I haven’t told any of my friends in school or college that I am an orphan. I fear that they will then abandon me just as my parents did.”

One question that Vidyakar faces from many kids is, “why did you pick me up out of the garbage? You should have let me die there. I tell them that life is precious. Whenever a child asks such questions, I sit them down and talk to them so that they don’t become angry and vengeful. Many start hating women because they hold only their mothers responsible for abandoning them. It is an emotional process for all abandoned children. If they go through that and come out of it successfully, they will be successful in life too. Otherwise, they shy away from building relationships.”

Today, Abhishek is a successful I.A.S officer who believes – When life gives you hundred reasons to drown; you show one way to live it to the fullest with kindness, empathy towards the destitutes and by nurturing the earnest feeling of giving back to the society in a positive way. It would have never occurred to them that their life stories mattered. Recognizing at a heart-to heart level the stories of survivors of injustice is a prerequisite to forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and peaceful coexistence as is enabling those forced to flee to feel heard, regain their dignity and influence in the course of their lives. Sometimes sharing one’s feelings can have the power to open heart, build bridges of understanding and transform viewer’s empathy into inspired action like ‘Helping hands’.

Hunger Warriors in action

On the occasion of Chinese New Year, Team Hunger Warriors had a heart wrenching experience on the fields, to look beyond and reach beyond the hungry souls in the scorching heat but the satisfaction we incurred when we satiated their hunger is beyond words….

We wish God gives us more strength to reach every possible soul….

CNY food donation drive

Qatar Airways: An inspiration to all

Huge amounts of food and drink served on planes end up getting thrown away, but Qatar Airways’ in-flight catering arm has said it plans to donate as much as 300kg of surplus food and beverages every day to “good causes” in its home country Qatar.Qatar Aircraft Catering Company (QACC) is collaborating with Qatari food bank Hifz Al Naema to redistribute the items such as whole fruits, cereals, yoghurt, chocolates and soft drinks.

Established in 2008 as the first food bank in the country, Hifz Al Naema began with collecting surplus food from festivals, weddings and hotels and has since expanded to collecting and distributing surplus clothing, furniture, electronic devices and other appliances.

“At QACC, we are continuously looking at ways to reduce waste and ensure an optimal food and beverage service to all our clients. This partnership ensures any unserved meals or unopened items will be redistributed to support those in need in our local community and reduce wastage at landfills,” said QACC senior vice president, Michael Winner,

QACC prepares an average of 175,000 meals and 60 international cuisines per day in its kitchen and bakery from Hamad International Airport, according to Qatar Airways.

Since its establishment in 2008, Hifz Al Naema has distributed more three million meals to people in need. Hifz Al Naema partners and collaborates with organisations and institutions across Qatar including hotels, private events, and restaurants.