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How hunger eats childhood

16 November 2023, Impact of Our Work

When a child can’t eat, hunger eats away at their world   

As conflict, climate shocks, economic instability, and the cost of living continue to spiral around the world, children are not getting the food they need to grow, play and learn.

Hunger robs children of the essential joys of childhood, depriving them of the energy to play and learn, the desire to dream, and ultimately their ability to survive. 

Gabriella Waaijman, Humanitarian Director for Save the Children International declares that we are witnessing a truly global catastrophe, explaining that, “right now, hunger is eating away at the childhoods of 1 in 5 children across the world. It is heart-breaking that millions of children still go to bed hungry every night.” 

Below we take a look at the ways hunger is attacking childhoods around the world today. And how with just a little support, we can help children fight back against hunger, restoring their energy, their laughter and their joy of learning. 

Hunger drains energy and silences play

Hunger drains energy and silences play

As hunger takes its toll on little bodies, children fall silent, laughter and games cease. Far from running and skipping, they can barely stand. 

But we know that cash support for a family can empower them with dignity to buy the nutritional food and medicines they need to restore their children’s energy, and give them back their childhood.  
Hunger consumes curiosity and crushes learning

Hunger consumes curiosity and crushes learning

An empty stomach makes it hard to concentrate in class. Big dreams of becoming a doctor shrink to a simple wish for a bowl of food. And forced displacement due to conflict or climate shocks can mean there’s no classroom to attend. 

That’s where a Child Friendly Space can give a child a sense of safety and the chance to play, learn, and be a child again with the dream of a better future.  
Hunger threatens lives and destroys futures

Hunger threatens lives and destroys futures

Hunger weakens a child’s immune system making them more susceptible to sickness and disease – putting their life at risk. 

But if we can get a child to a malnutrition clinic they can be treated with life-saving therapeutic milk and nutrient rich peanut paste. This can bring a child back from the brink, helping them regain their strength and take back their childhood.  

How you can help children fight for their childhoods

You can help by supporting our work to prevent and treat hunger and malnutrition all over the world. You can help keep more children healthy, lift families out of poverty. Together we can stop hunger taking everything from children. 

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood