Have you ever sat through a class that’s right before lunch, staring at the second hand on the clock, imagining you're crunching on chips? Watching that clock becomes far more important than French or algebra.

For too many kids in the world, their first meal of the day is dinner. Lunchtime doesn’t mean relief from chronic hunger, and that hunger drastically impacts the way children learn.

It turns out hunger doesn’t just affect how we learn or pay attention in school – it also affects how well our brain works or develops. A healthy brain uses 20% of the body’s energy, and energy comes from food. That means that hunger starves the brain.

Image: Graphic: Alana Espineli

Children who are malnourished fall behind in school because they can’t concentrate or they often miss classes to help the family put food on the table.

Is it really surprising that it is difficult to learn (an essential part of ending poverty) when your body needs all the energy it can get just to get to school?

With proper nourishment, children are able to learn and grow, sometimes even going on to become teachers themselves.

With your help, families are equipped to grow healthier, more abundant crops and livestock to feed her family and generate income.

Unfortunately, that's not always enough. When families and communities need more immediate assistance to get started or withstand life's setbacks, World Vision ensures there are safety nets in place, like school feeding programs, emergency food supplies when there's a disaster, and special assistance for vulnerable groups, such as the sick, elderly, orphaned, pregnant/lactating mothers and young children.

Image: Photo: Joe Were, Graphic: Alana Espineli

In a HungerFree world, children are able to grow and learn the way they should. 

A HungerFree world means everyone gets enough food for both today and tomorrow. It means families can become self-sufficient through the skills, education, and productive assets.

A HungerFree world means they can be hungerfree for a lifetime.

That world doesn’t have to wait. This is our time to make it happen, our time to boldly embody change. Will you join the voices calling for better?

Image: Photo: Maxwell Moser, Graphic: Alana Espineli

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of each of the partners of Global Citizen. 


Defeat Poverty

The Long-Term Effects Of Hunger On Learning And Education

By Callie Stevens