For months, every time Rachel Hansen went to open her fridge, she was reminded of the sheer scale of the current global hunger crisis. She’d stuck on the fridge a map showing the countries that have been hit by the crisis, and it was hard not to notice it.
Around the same time, as part of her own spiritual practice, she had been asking God to “break my heart for what breaks his”, she explains.
It all crystallised into the conviction that she needed to do something. Rachel, who is based in southeast Queensland, has poured that conviction into organising Fashion for Famine, a local clothes swap to raise funds for Tearfund’s work in food security.
The hunger crisis is the worst the world has seen in more than a century.
Fifty million people are on the brink of famine, and without immediate food and care, almost eight million children under five are at risk of death from malnutrition. Tearfund’s partners are working in the countries hardest hit by the crisis including Afghanistan, Yemen, Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.
“For me the huge numbers, the urgency that I felt in hearing about the impending crisis, were a trigger,” Rachel says.
“It was also the gross inequality that I could see between what I have and what others don’t have. How many times did I see that map when I opened the fridge? Food is such an incredibly basic but essential thing.”
Tearfund’s Christian partners are responding to such situations of poverty and injustice in 22 countries. We support their work in health, education, agriculture, clean water, humanitarian assistance and income generation. We support advocacy for change in the systems and structures that make it harder for people to overcome poverty. By purchasing from our Useful Gifts range you can be a partner in this work too.
Many of our partners have a focus on climate-resilient agriculture, food and livelihoods projects to enhance food security in poverty-affected countries – and this is making a lasting impact. In Mozambique, where poverty rates are among the highest in the world, our partner RCHS has been providing farmers with tools and improved seeds, as well as training in a method of farming called conservation agriculture which leads to improved soil and better yields. As a result, farmers are able to produce more food for their families while also generating an income by selling their surplus produce.
“For a long time, I cultivated just for myself and my family to eat,” says Candida, a farmer involved in the program. “With training and monitoring in agriculture, I can produce and leave a lot of production in my own field that I can sell so I have the money to do other things at home.”
Another farmer, Joana, says: “With what I learned, I am now able to buy crockery for my house, my children eat well every day and I do business with the produce from my field of production.”
‘Pray and listen …’
Rachel says that when thinking about something as immense as global hunger, what has helped her is creating the space and time for God to work through her.
“Giving myself time actually to absorb what I was hearing and reading has been key,” she says. “It’s way too easy just to give something a moment of your time and then move on unchanged in your own feelings and thoughts.
“When I feel overwhelmed with both famine and event organising I remind myself that this is God’s work and I’m just helping. He is far more loving, powerful and awesome than I can ever be and I can trust Him with all things.”
For other people who would like to take action but aren’t sure what to do, she suggests: “Ask God to break your heart, sit with and learn more about famine and hunger crisis, pray and listen to God’s prompting. Action doesn’t have to be something huge, but allowing yourself to feel and then respond in love is key and invaluable in helping to generate heart as well as head change.”
Thanks to supporters like Rachel and the faithful work of Tearfund’s partners like RCHS, change is happening. You can be part of this change too by purchasing from Tearfund’s Useful Gifts Catalogue.