Malnutrition in the Philippines grows in huge numbers every year. To date, would you believe that there are 7 million children who suffer from hunger and malnutrition? It’s quite alarming and has become a public health problem that we all need to get involved in and help out even in our own small ways, not just big companies and organizations.
A forum on malnutrition was launched last January 18th at Green Sun in Makati City dubbed as #HangryAboutHunger. This advocacy of Nestle Philippines and United for Healthier Kids was off to a great start in terms of stressing out the meaning of hunger and malnutrition. Guests were treated to a buffet of not your ordinary food served in hotels or restaurants but to a plate of tasteless “lugaw” or rice porridge, “nilagang saba” or boiled Saba/banana and “ginataang malagkit na bigas at mais” or rice and corn cooked in coconut. For us who are used to better, tastier and sumptuous dishes, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like what was served to us.
The main concept was for the guests to experience how it was to eat the above food every single day. For us to place ourselves in the shoes of poor children who have nothing to eat but these meals. I thought at the time that even these kind of meals will be special treats for the hungry kids because, in reality, most of them have nothing to eat at all.
One of the guest speakers was Senator Grace Poe. She said that “A generation of Filipino children are already hindered from reaching their full potential if they are hungry and deprived of the nutrition they need to learn in school and stay active.”
This is so true because how can a child concentrate on his/her education when his/her tummy is rumbling because it’s hungry. The child’s brain will not be able to focus on the lesson at hand because all he can think about is food.
Senator Poe passed 2 Senate Bills to address our country’s alarming child malnutrition rate. A great move indeed, this act is one of her ways of helping out the current crisis.
The United For Healthier Kids or U4HK portal, a repository website designed to inspire and move young Filipinos to share, donate or volunteer in addressing malnutrition was also launched that night. It includes a malnutrition heat map where the severity of the problem is shown. You will be able to see which region has the most significant malnutrition problem along with the activities that are being done to fight it. There is a page where you can sign up as a volunteer, plans to implement in the next couple of months, where people can donate and share.
Nestle Philippines Senior VP for Communication, Marketing and Innovation Mr. Paolo Mercado said that, “We hope to make it easier for the Filipino youth to not only learn more about the problem of malnutrition, but to also inspire them to take action by sharing information, donation money or volunteering their time to activities that provide direct interventions to malnourished Filipino children.”
I’m happy to know that there are also celebrities who support this cause such as Gerald Anderson, Kim Chiu and Gretchen Ho. They were also put to the challenge of eating those daily food staples of poor children like Cedrick, Dexter and Vanessa.
This is a great advocacy, my dear readers, and I hope you will also share this post so that others will be informed. We all need your help in disseminating this information that such group exists so that more will volunteer and help.
To know more about United for Healthier Kids, you may visit www.u4hk.ph/hangryabouthunger and their Facebook page – www.facebook.com/u4hkPH.