Held annually, the World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine movement sees participants around the world go for 30 hours of fasting while raising funds for the underprivileged. In Malaysia, the movement has helped communities such as the disabled, refugees, as well as the urban and rural poor, empowering them through education, skills training and livelihood projects.
Shedding light on global issues
It always takes one heart to start a movement. In 1947, a young missionary took out $5 from his own pocket and handed it to the headmistress of a Chinese missionary school in China. It was a partial payment to allow a ragged, hungry little girl to stay at the school, where she would be fed and cared for.
In 1950, the young missionary, Dr Bob Pierce founded World Vision in the US.
The organisation was founded in response to the sufferings of post-war Asia.
The organisation works at grassroots levels in countries globally. World Vision’s objective lays in all being, especially the children as they are the best indicator of the social health of a community. When children are fed, sheltered, schooled, protected, valued and loved, a community thrives.
World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine
The 30-Hour Famine movement under the World Vision organisation started in 1971 in Canada. The purpose of the movement was to fight against hunger and poverty. Participants would give up solid food for 30 consecutive hours to raise funds for children in need.
Back when it first started, the youths of Canada fasted and raised funds for the famine that hit Ethiopia. Since then, it became an annual event in 15 countries.
The movement helps shed light on the global issues affecting vulnerable children, families and communities around the world. Through this movement, World Vision hopes that the campaign can instil a sense of justice in the next generation to step up and become a world changer.
The movement was first introduced in Malaysia in 1997. It was a joint-effort between World Vision Malaysia and newspaper corporation Sin Chew Daily. The first year, it was organised to raise funds for the famine situation in North Korea.
In 2019, close to 26,000 Malaysians participated, raising over RM2 million for projects combating hunger and poverty.
Participation is also seen among children below 12, as they participate in the shorter ‘8-Hour Kidz Famine’ programme.
My personal experience participating in the movement
In 2008, the 30-Hour Famine introduced a new Do-It-Yourself (DIY) format.
It was to enable participants from different states in Malaysia to join in.
It was in 2012 when I joined the movement alongside my college mates. It was held on August 4-5 that year. I joined the movement under the theme ‘Hunger No More’ to help raise funds for the organisation.
The movement also opened up a different perspective and having to starve for 30 consecutive hours made me realised how terrible this feeling was. It made me realised how difficult it was when I was hungry and there was no food available for me.
It offers a glimpse of what the children in poverty-stricken nation had to face everyday. And to them, it was not by choice.
During the period, we occupied our times with games and exercises. We would gather around and chat with others. The situation is similar to the children, where they would just play with friends, with an empty stomach.
It was a painful reflection for me that I carried till today.
30-Hour Famine 2020
For this year’s event in Malaysia, the funds will go towards development work in Sabah as well as projects supporting vulnerable children and families in the country.
These projects will hoepfully help communities such as the disabled, refugees, as well as the urban and rural poor, empowering them through education, skills training and livelihood projects.
However, with the current Covid-19 pandemic, World Vision Malaysia revised the format and introduced a ‘Home Edition’ for participants to join from their homes.
Local projects supported by the 30-Hour Famine 2020 are:
- Health & nutrition, education, livelihood and child protection projects in Mukim Tulid and Tatalaan, Sabah (World Vision’s Malaysia Assistance Fund)
- Improving Youth Livelihoods through Vocational Training & Employability (Fugee School)
- Young Urban Farmers Enterprise (Good Shepherd Services)
- Students’ Nutritious Lunch Programme (ElShaddai Centre Berhad)
- Health & Hygiene for Undocumented Unaccompanied & Separated Children (UASC) in Community Placement (SUKA Society)
- Boost Bloom Workspace – Livelihood Training for Special Needs People (Dual Blessing Berhad)
- WeCare – Sponsor-a-Child Programme (Yayasan Sin Chew)
The three pillars of World’s Vision
- Community development: Mainly funded by the Child Sponsorship
Programme conducted through work in clean water & sanitation, health &
nutrition, education, resilience & livelihood and education. World Vision currently supports 30 Area Development Programmes (communities, in simpler terms) in 14 countries.
Emergency relief: World Vision members are globally positioned to respond within 24 to 72 hours when a disaster happens.
Advocacy: A critical component of World Vision’s work to tackle causes of
poverty, protect children and promote justice.
Meanwhile, World Vision Malaysia’s main role is fundraising, done through a variety of awareness and fundraising campaigns and partnerships with individuals and corporations. The Malaysia’s organisation also started two Community Development Programmes in Sabah – Mukim Tulid
(started in 2014) and Mukim Tatalaan (started in 2017)