Understanding Hunger

By Bhikkhu Bodhi

More than
5 million kids
die annually from
hunger, malnutrition, and hunger-related illnesses.
That means a child is dying every 5 seconds.

The Number One Killer

What is the number one killer in the world today? Is it HIV/AIDS? War? Tuberculosis or malaria? No, the number one killer is hunger and malnutrition.

Hunger takes 25,000 lives each day. That amounts to close to 10 million lives every year; this means a Holocaust and a half annually. Almost 60% of these lives are children: a yearly toll of over 5 million kids; 13,500 children each day; a child every five seconds. And so little is needed to stop this killer in its tracks.

Why Is Hunger Still So Widespread?

About 900 million people around the world suffer from hunger. This means almost one-sixth of the world’s population faces hunger everyday, more than all the people in the U.S., Canada, and the European Union combined.

Yet, ironically, hunger does not exist because we lack food or the resources to grow food. Natural disasters, drought, war, land degradation, and poor farming practices play a role, but the most potent factor of all behind hunger is endemic poverty. When people are poor, they can’t purchase the foods they need; or if they can buy food, they can’t get enough healthy food, food rich in health-sustaining nutrients.

Poverty sets in motion a vicious cycle. Poverty breeds hunger, which leads to illness, unemployment, and early death. And when a parent dies prematurely, the family sinks into deeper poverty and into more insistent hunger.

Yet in today’s world, poverty and hunger are not inevitable. They persist, not because we lack the technologies or expertise, but because we lack the collective will, the imagination, and the compassionate intent to bring poverty to an end.

To put an end to poverty and global hunger would take just a small fraction of what we spend on military operations and weapons of destruction. The abolition of global poverty would eliminate glaring economic disparities and thereby make us all safer. It would usher in an era of joy the likes of which we can scarcely imagine. It would bring inexpressible joy as we recognize our real status as brothers and sisters with the same origins, facing a common destiny on the same planet.

Our Projects

BGR projects are designed to provide direct food aid to people afflicted by hunger and malnutrition, to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture, to support the education of girls and women, and to give women an opportunity to start right livelihood projects to support their families. »


Bangladesh

MARKETS FOR WOMEN
Uplift extremely poor indigenous households in five villages in one of the poorest regions. » 


Bangladesh

EDUCATING CHILDREN
Educate 1,250 children in the Chittagong Hill Tract, a poor region in Bangladesh affected by conflict. » 


Bangladesh

FOOD SUPPORT FOR ORPHANS
Provide food supplies for 54 orphans at The Orphan's Home in the rural Cittagong Hills region. » 


Bangladesh

EDUCATING ETHNIC MINORITIES
Provide food support for 106 ethnic Buddhist minority girls at Yashodara Girl's School in Cittagong Hill Tracts. » 


Cambodia

GIRLS ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Support life-transforming Girls Access To Education program ensuring that girls stay in school. » 


Cambodia

ESCAPE THE SEX TRADE
Provide non-formal education, vocational training, and life skills to sex workers and their children. » 


Cambodia

SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION
Expanding an ecologically sensitive method of agriculture that increases rice yields. » 


Cameroon

FOOD FOR POOR CHILDREN
Provide food support for children attending community primary school. » 


China

JOB TRAINING FOR WOMEN
Partner with Shambala Foundation to provide first job experience training to young women. » 


Cote d'Ivoire

ENHANCED FOOD PRODUCTION
Improve food production in the Meki-Ziway area of the Central Rift Valley. » 


Ethiopia

CROP INTENSIFICATION
Promote environmental friendly, economically feasible, and climate-smart agronomic practices among small-scale farmer. » 


Haiti

PROVIDE AFTERSCHOOL MEALS
Provide daily meals two or more daily meals for school children in Jacmel, Haiti. » 


Haiti

ENHANCED RICE PRODUCTION
Provide training in System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to benefit 425 famers in the Artibonite Valley. » 


Haiti

MEALS AND SCHOOLING
Support the establishment of a women's vocational training and community center in Nagpur. » 


Haiti & Jamaica

TREES THAT FEED PEOPLE
Distribute 400 breadfruit trees (200 for each country). Each tree can produce half a ton of fruit a year. » 


India

A YOUTH HOSTEL FOR GIRLS AND WOMEN
Educate girls from India's poorest regions and provide loans and business training. » 


India

FOOD SECURITY FOR WOMEN
Provide enhanced food security for women farmers in Uttarakhand, one of India's poorestt states. » 


Sri Lanka

EDUCATION FOR POOR GIRLS
Provide education and vocational training for girls from poor families who have not yet completed high school. » 


Vietnam

MEALS IN HOSPITALS
Provide thousands of free meals to hospital patients in remote villages off the Mekong Delta region. » 


Vietnam

SCHOLARSIHPS FOR POOR CHILDREN
Provide nearly 500 sttudents with scholarships to elementary and middle schools in Cam Duong and Tam Binh Districts. » 


Vietnam

SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION
Expand and improve the quality of Rice Intensification among village farmers in the Thai Nguyen province. » 


Detroit, MI

KEEP GROWING DETROIT
Support more than 1500 gardens to produce 150 tons of produce for low- income families. » 


New York, NY

FEEDING YOUTH STARVED FOR MEANING
Transform homeless impoverished youth to employed persons playing leadership roles in society. » 


New York, NY

URBAN COMMUNITY FOOD PROJECT
Create sustainable food system for insecure communities while educating and employing at-risk youth. » 


Santa Clara County, CA

CULTIVATING ORGANIC GARDENS
Reduce food insecurity among low income residents by teaching organic gardening skills. »