June 2009 eNewsletter: Harnessing the Creativity and Power of Youth

Harnessing the Creativity and Power of Youth

Dear Friends,

More than 1.5 billion of the world's people are between the ages of 10 and 25, and the majority of them live in the developing world. More than half of these young people live in poverty. We have the largest generation of adolescents in world history. And, as the world financial crisis deepens and extends poverty in the developing world, young people are finding it ever more difficult to enter the workforce or get involved in some form of sustainable livelihood.

The Hunger Project (THP) believes in harnessing the creativity, energy and power of these young women and men. Youth leaders are already overcoming enormous obstacles to better their communities and their world. In Mexico, for example, I met a young woman, not yet 20, who was married at age 15 and had three children, but was working as a THP animator and interpreting at all our meetings. Youth in the developed world are stepping up as the next generation of THP investors and advocates. Below, I share with you some inspiring stories of actions taken by young people throughout the world.

I urge all of you to reach out to the young people in your lives. Share with them your commitment to ending hunger and poverty in the world and the stories you have read below. Let them know that they have an important contribution to make and invite them to take action and invest in THP and a better future for all of humanity.

Best wishes,

Jill Lester
President and CEO

Youth Ending Hunger in Bangladesh

THP-Bangladesh mobilizes students across the country under the banner, Youth Ending Hunger (YEH) to unleash their leadership and creative thinking, as well as to develop a sense of social responsibility. Thousands of students are members of this forum. In late May, YEH held a day-long workshop, "National Budget and Thoughts of Youths," in partnership with the UN Millennium Campaign. Participants included students from throughout Bangladesh, the Minister for Youth and Sports, two members of parliament, the noted economist Prof. Anisur Rahman, and several UNDP officials. The recommendations of the workshop will be sent to relevant government ministries and departments.

Youth Clubs in Uganda

THP animators and schools in Mbale Epicenter forged a strong partnership to form "youth health clubs" that address issues of hygiene, sanitation and HIV/AIDS. THP used film showings as one of the methods for information dissemination to our young partners, since people learn faster with visual aids.

Turning Pennies Into Grants

Three student "roundtables" in New York City schools have invested a total of US$1,100 in THP. These primary school students participate in Penny Harvest, an innovative program that instills in young people the idea that they can make the world a better place through their philanthropy. Children collect pennies and turn those pennies into grants for community organizations. These New York City children decided to support our work because they were inspired by our approach and success in helping women, men, girls and boys create healthy futures, free from hunger and full of opportunity.

THP Board Member Reaches Out to Youth

THP Global Board Member and former Vice President of Uganda, H.E. Dr. Speciosa Wandira, toured Australia in May to speak about African women, leadership and THP. Her trip included a visit to Lauriston Girls' School in Melbourne, where the girls have invested in THP's work for the last four years, raising funds from cross-country athletic events. Speciosa urged the girls never to give up on their education. She encouraged them to follow their dreams, be fearless in expressing their emotions, and remember their sisters in Africa, who are strengthened and empowered by friends across national borders.

During her trip, Speciosa also spoke to a group of 200 high school girls at the Ascham School and a Night Cap Panel with a group of youth leaders at the Future Summit 2009 in Melbourne.

THP Interns Contribute Time and Talent

Volunteer interns, from high school students to doctoral candidates, contribute immense talent, time, energy and enthusiasm to the work of THP. Our interns have been working to develop partnerships with like-minded organizations, document our programs, contribute to our social media strategy, create content for our public websites, assist in fundraising research, and more. Not only do we benefit from the amazing dedication of these students, we are also building quite a strong base of young THP alumni. Former interns frequently keep in touch and volunteer to help with our annual fundraising event in New York, from as far away as Germany!

Making a Difference

Coming from a community where female literacy is very low, elected woman leader Dalimba Majhi, age 26, gives special emphasis to girl child education. When she came to know that many girls were dropping out of school after grade III, she went door to door urging parents to let their girl children complete their primary school education. Her campaign paid off, and five girls, who had earlier dropped out of school, are now in grade VI.

Learn more about Dalimba.

Meet more of our partners.

Quote of the Month

"I want people out there to know that even children can give back."

Jazmin Hawes
5th grade student
P.S. 1 - Manhattan Penny Harvest Roundtable