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Oxfam Aids Hunger Awareness

On Thursday November 13, 2008, Oxfam once again held a successful event bringing awareness to the massive global hunger situation.

Oxfam held their annual Oxfam Community Aid Abroad Hunger Banquet to bring awareness about the 1.2 billion people in the world living in poverty and the 800 million people who suffer from chronic hunger globally. And the fact 3.6 seconds a person (24,000 people a day), usually a child, dies from hunger and other preventable causes.

As students and community members arrived they were required to reach into a paper bag to draw a number. If they received a three they were members of the upper class, with a two they were the middle class, and with the one they were members of the lower class at sheer poverty level. The upper class were able to sit at the table with nice chairs, while the middle class only got a chair lined in a semi-circle around the floor where the lower class that made up the majority of those there sat. Members of Oxfam stood in turn sharing information about hunger and poverty. As they told about this hunger, they began to include scenarios where the students found themselves moving to different positions because of a change in the economy and the aid of outside people. Six people from the poverty level were asked to stand. They represented a group of people in Mozambique, a country devastated by war. These people were given aid by Oxfam in the form of cows and help with building wells, and because of this help they were able to move up to the middle class. In the middle class, six more people were asked to stand. They represented people from Bam, Iran. They had experienced a devastating earthquake so they were to take the seats of those that left the lower class, showing only a small amount of changes when it comes to income in the world.

Then came the time to eat where the upper classes were served a gourmet meal with pure, clean water. Then came the middles classes chance to eat so they lined up and served themselves a meager meal of rice and beans, but at least they had clean water to consume. Then the last and most plentiful of people, the lower class were asked to come up and eat. They were served only rice and their water was “dirty” (tea leaves were sprinkled throughout it).

The meal was taken in with only a small amount of chatter. Then the MC took the chance to walk among the attendants and ask them what they thought about the event and how they felt about the situation they were handed. Many replied that they were ashamed that they were sitting there right in front of the lower class and they couldn’t share their food, and grateful that they weren’t in that situation. Most shamed faced was the upper class where many of them said they were grateful with faces red with embarrassment. The group was informed that almost all of us, in America, were sitting at the upper class table. The discussion continued to the “What can we do?” stage where Oxfam members discussed their alternative gifts program where you can buy a cow for a family in the name of who you want to give the gift to, and how just taking a little bit less food and not wasting what you get can be a huge help. They ended by saying thank you and encouraging everyone to promote solutions that empower the poor to take control of their lives.

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