Fishing for a Solution to Hunger in South Sudan
Fish Farm In South Sudan, fish are helping communities make themselves hunger-free.
In the past, the only way for communities in South Sudan to have access to fish, a good source of nutrition and income, was to purchase them from Uganda at high import prices.
However, when World Vision programmes brought fish ponds to these communities, fish no longer had to be imported – they merely had to be caught from the ponds now located within the communities, ready to be consumed for sustainable nourishment and sold for sustainable income.
The approach is more scientific than anything the South Sudanese communities had done before. The species raised – Tilapia – grows rapidly and can be easily cared for by youth or other trained community members. And now they can generate income that impacts their whole life, not just their hunger.
It takes the concept of teaching a man to fish to a whole new level.
The fish ponds are teaching people how to grow fish. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to grow fish, and he eats for a lifetime.
This is one way World Vision is fighting for a #HungerFree world.
Cast your line into the movement today.
MEET WASHINGTON: THE ASPIRING DANCING ELECTRICIAN
The cloud of dust that swirls around Washington’s feet when he dances is a lot like the cloud of likability that seems to follow him around. His shy smile and infectious giggle could win anyone over.
The young dancer who dreams of becoming an electrician has an attitude that’s deceptively optimistic.
A Kenyan boy born to a mother struggling to provide for her children, Washington’s young life has been marked by poverty. His story is the story of many other young people in Kenya, where around 10-15 million people suffer from chronic food insecurity and some 7.5 million people live in extreme poverty.
Moving a sheet pinned to a string that serves as his front door, he shows the home his mother made for him and his siblings, optimistically describing what he calls their “poor life situation” as “not very good.” They ate one, maybe two meals a day.
The dancing optimist caught a break when World Vision sponsorship gave him and his siblings a chance to go to school. He decided he wanted to become an electrician in order to give back to his family, especially his mother, who worked so diligently to provide for her children during Washington’s young life.
Washington is a young man full of potential, like so many other Kenyan youth, who simply haven’t had the opportunity to excel.
HungerFree is the movement that can provide those opportunities.
HungerFree aims to unlock the full potential of young people to break the cycle of poverty and free their communities from hunger once and for all in Kenya and South Sudan.
It works through World Vision programmes that provide food assistance in the short term and put assets directly into young people’s hands to empower them to develop sustainable income & food security for themselves and their families over the long term. HungerFree is a holistic approach that simultaneously addresses a youth unemployment crisis that’s left 17.1 per cent of young people unemployed in Kenya alone – just by allowing young people to put their skills and talents to use.
The HungerFree movement is the spark that could ignite Washington’s future – maybe even as the first dancing electrician Kenya has ever known.
Finding Happiness During Uncertainty
In 2007 back when I was 16 years old, I was going through a difficult time. It was my third year in high school which meant three years of bullying, feeling lonely, being depressed and battling social anxiety. I saw no end in sight and believed my end was near.
On sunny day in Victoria in mid-August the realization hit me, I’m going on a humanitarian trip to Mexico tomorrow, what do I do. For any healthy human being the answer is easy, just go. But for me everything was but easy. During this time no knew I was going through what I was going through. I had battled depression for years and I hadn’t told a soul. I was more afraid of people than I was of dying, but my worst fear was having people find out that I was sick.
The thing about depression is that no one can prove to anyone that they are 100% depressed. You can’t find depression on an x-ray, on a scantron and all you can do is hope that people believe what you tell them. During this day I was faced with the most difficult decision of my life, 1. go on the humanitarian trip but face your fears or 2. Not go and tell your parents that you’re sick after having them spend $1200 on the humanitarian trip.
I choose option number 1. I would rather die than choose option 2. I thought if I had told my parents, my friends or teachers that everyone would assume that I was a freak, sooner or later I would end up in the hospital. During the first 2 days on our way to Mexico, I struggled with every aspect of life such as talking to the people on my trip, how to deal with homesickness and hiding what I was going through when being surrounded by people 24/7.
Even after struggling for a couple of days, I had many bright spots. I made a lot of friends. I became open and started to act like myself for the first time in at least 4 years and more importantly I learned how to trust and love those around me.
When we got to the house we called home, we had travelled for 3 days, cross two boarders and went six hours south of San Diego to a small community called Vicente Guerrero. During the next week in Vicente Guerrero, we spent an hour of time putting together a soccer camp for kids, we visited an orphanage and more importantly we built two houses for two of the most incredible families I have ever met. Why were these two families so incredible? It is because they showed 30 Canadians ranging from the ages of 16-24 how to communicate, how to love each other and how to take nothing for granted.
We are surrounded by poverty, but nothing prepares yourself for the moment where you are stuck in the middle of nowhere in a developing country surrounded by poverty.
On the last day we were there, I knew I had a decision to make. Who would I want to be after we leave in Mexico? Would I want to be the same depressed, bullied guy who was incredibly socially awkward or would I want to become the person I’ve always wanted to be.
The most important thing poverty has taught me is that no matter who you are there will always be someone who has more then you and someone who has less than you. But no matter what, only you can decide how happy you are. In times of uncertainty choosing being happy is no an easy choice. We must demand it. During that last day I choose uncertainty because I knew it would make me happy. Later that night I faced my worst fears and being surrounded by everyone on the trip I told them what I had gone through. I told them my story. It was that week, that my life had no only changed but it changed everyone’s lives that I come in contact with. Since then, I’ve shared my story; in front of high schools, newspapers and even on TV. I used to hate uncertainty and now I’ve leant to love it. It comes with the job when working as a Youth and Student leader. Embrace uncertainty, learn to love it. In order to become someone you always wanted to be, you must do the things you’ve never done.
Fun Fact: The organization I went to Mexico with is with Live Different (which is the same organization which is running the World Vision trip to The DR and Thailand). Also I ended up doing 10 trips in 6 summers while building 11 houses. You can join us on one of these amazing trips that changed my life right here.
Give Love, Bring Hope and Create Change.
Love. Hope. Change.
What would the world look like if we fully embraced one another as family? What if we took the very first step and really opened our eyes to see the invisible faces we overlook every single day; the faces of the poor, the broken, the hurting, the oppressed, the sick, the exploited, and the marginalized? What if we not only saw them as people, but what if we took compassion on them as our brothers and sisters?
What if we knew them by name, and knew their story? What if we identified with them as children within the same family, who love one another, look out for each other, and sacrifice our own interests for the best interest of others in our family?
It didn’t take long for me to realize why we experience this overwhelming disconnect in the way we live in both our local and global community with one another. We live in a broken world. We are all broken people. And because of this, our understanding of family has been broken. We so often seem to struggle to love those closest to us, the ones in our own family. It’s no wonder we struggle to extend that same love to our brothers and sisters all over the world who suffer under the crushing weight of injustice.
I have started on a journey of asking a lot of big questions. Why does our familial relation to another human being make such a drastic difference in the way we care for them? In the way we love each other, and spend ourselves on another’s behalf? Why do we relate more closely with those we identify on the same family tree with?
We as a Youth and Student Engagement team seek to see young people pour their lives out on behalf of others, specifically the most vulnerable and marginalized. We are a small part of a body of people seeking to bring justice to injustice. We advocate and take action on behalf of our brothers and sisters. We do this because we see them, and we love them as members of our own family.
Join the fight, connect with us below.