30 Hour Famine 2022: #ChildrenoftheMultiverse
More than 150 youth in Singapore marked the start of their mid-year school holidays by fasting from food for 30 hours and completing educational experiential challenges that took them into the multiverse of vulnerable children bearing the brunt of global crises – conflict, climate change, and COVID-19 – at the first ever hybrid edition of 30 Hour Famine, which was held by World Vision Singapore from 27 to 29 May 2022.
Themed “Children of the Multiverse”, the 30 Hour Famine introduced youth in Singapore to the parallel realities of vulnerable children and youth living in slums, conflict zones, and areas stricken by climate disasters. In addition to fasting from food for 30 hours, other challenges that participants completed include having only $2.50 to spend in a day, eating a meal in the dark, and getting by without electrical power for 12 hours a day. Participants also heard a first-hand account from World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe Region, who spoke during a virtual campfire about the needs of children and families displaced by the Ukraine crisis.
From left to right: Ms. Lilian Chung, National Director of World Vision Singapore; Ms. Felicia Chin, World Vision Singapore Ambassador; Ms. Michelle Cheo, Deputy Chairperson of World Vision Singapore’s Advisory Council; Mr. Edward Chia, MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC; Mr. Tony Soh, Deputy CEO of National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre; Mr. Ong Kah Kuang, Executive Director of Youth Corps Singapore; and Mr. Tony Lai, member of World Vision Singapore’s Advisory Council, at the final assembly of the advocacy spoon art installation during the closing ceremony of the 30 Hour Famine 2022.
Participants of the 30 Hour Famine also made an impact on the lives of over 150 urban poor children in Cebu, the Philippines. For every participant who completed the 30 Hour Famine, a matching corporate donation was made by a generous partner to World Vision's Urban Nutrition Hub programme, which supports malnourished children aged 0-5 and their caregivers in Mandaue City. This programme consists of 12 sessions of feeding, nutrition education, and regular child health monitoring for children whose immediate health is in danger because of malnutrition.
“The 30 Hour Famine allows youth to appreciate the struggles of over 20 million children worldwide facing the ongoing hunger crisis. Through this hybrid experiential learning journey, World Vision Singapore seeks to encourage volunteerism among youth, enhance their literacy in regional issues, and demonstrate how values such as empathy, compassion, and social justice can be put into practice. We hope to see more youth take action and join us in service projects that impact children in communities World Vision supports after this event,” commented Ms. Lilian Chung, National Director of World Vision Singapore.
The final hour of the 30 Hour Famine on 29 May 2022 culminated in an advocacy art installation assembled with spoons from all youth participants. The installation symbolised the key takeaway message of this event: Every crisis is a hunger crisis for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children, but together as global citizens, we can build a better world for children. The art installation and an accompanying exhibition on the global hunger crisis went on display at library@harbourfront from 30 May to 26 June 2022.
Mr. Edward Chia, MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and Guest of Honour at the 30 Hour Famine closing celebration, said, “I am heartened that the 30 Hour Famine is just one event among a broad range of global citizenship and Service-Learning programmes offered by World Vision Singapore to nurture youth in Singapore to be compassionate global citizens. There is much that youth can contribute to build a safer world for children. Youth are encouraged to step up, innovate and activate change for a more sustainable world, where children can reach their full potential.”
Exhibition at library@harbourfront.
Hear what some of our young participants had to say about 30 Hour Famine 2022!
“The 30 Hour Famine was a sensing of the life of those experiencing poverty. Those living in urban poverty have to go about to earn money under the hot sun with a hungry stomach, worrying about whether they will even get to eat. There is also no light from sundown to sunrise. It was definitely an eye opener and a very personal experience of their lives,” said Yolindrea Chow, Secondary 4 student from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School.
“The activities were definitely on the fun and interesting side, and they posed a challenge to me, because they were all very novel. Being able to experience the extent to which children have to struggle to collect water and cardboard for their families made me appreciate what I have more, and empathise better with children in less privileged areas of the world,” said Zhuo Tian Yi from Jurong Pioneer Junior College.
“The constant calculation of how much you can spend adds some worry or stress to the mind. Living in a digitalised world where sadly I am addicted to my phone, trying to live without electricity is inconvenient as well,” commented Keerthi Muthaiya Kalyani, Secondary 4 student from Methodist Girls’ School.
“A daily allowance of $2.50 is not nearly enough to fill someone’s stomach, let alone take care of other essential needs. The discomfort of wearing the same clothes for the whole day, and having to continue wearing them for the rest of the 30 Hour Famine will only get harder. But it is worth it as I can now emphathise with children in slums who do not have clothes to change into or the water to wash them. Children living in conflict is an extremely volatile world for children and every day they would be living in fear and worry. This is not an environment a child should live in, it would stunt their emotional development. Overall, I have been enlightened on how difficult it is for these children to deal with such issues at such a young age. It makes me extremely sad to think that so many children around the world have to go through this daily, but I hope that by doing this challenge, I can make a contribution by raising awareness of their life situation,” reflected Lim Jin Xin, Secondary 3 student from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School.
Have a look at what our participants got up to during the experiential challenges!