30 Nov, 2020
10 : 00
World hunger affects at least 690 million people according to a new report by the United Nations. To build awareness of this scourge, senior students at YCIS Beijing organised another participation driven “30 Hour Famine”. This annual activity serves both to express solidarity with millions around the world who regularly go without food as well as to help build character, an integral part of our secondary education programmes.
Becoming Part of The No-Food ChainHeld on a winter’s weekend on our campus as Beijing welcomed its first snow, students and teachers organised learning activities while holding a fast to raise awareness about world hunger. Food deprivation is not an issue that confronts our students but, for Mr Jonathan Mellen, Secondary Co-ordinator, it is crucial that they engage with serious issues that affect the global population.
This was echoed by Zhenwei Zhao (Y12) who felt it was a good way to put students in the shoes of those suffering from starvation. “We are growing up in a very warm and comfortable environment,” he said, pointing to the privilege he and his classmates enjoy, far removed from hunger or any deprivation in their day-to-day lives.
Explaining why she finally decided to participate in this activity that has been a feature of the YCIS Beijing CAS programme for over five years, Suri Son said she realised it was important to “create an enjoyable but meaningful event to help raise awareness of this global issue.”
The first 10 hours of the fast were the most challenging for Zhenwei. Yet, according to him, those hours gave him a better understanding of what a person experiences when denied food for a prolonged period.
The effects of hunger cause an expanding ripple that impacts each family’s ability to thrive, said Emily Zhong. “If people are hungry, how will they get education? How will they get a job?” she asked, touching upon a vicious cycle of despair.
And then, The Hunger GamesTo keep our students occupied during the fast, student leaders, Suri, Yeonji, Emmie, Eujin and Elly organised team-building activities that were held in the gym and buildings C and D.
Scavenger hunts, board games and TV shows ensured students had ample distraction to keep their mind off the growing hunger pangs as the clock ticked through 30 long hours.
After a sleepover on campus the boys and girls reconvened and Mr Mellen strummed a guitar for a lively musical chairs finale. Then, after some fun in the snow, came the pizzas along with a host of other steaming dishes.
As to how she could help in the battle to end world hunger, Alice Zhou offered a simple yet powerful solution, “Don’t waste food”. This, she said, should be combined with raising awareness and donations.
We look forward to more CAS based activities that will contribute to a better world.