Global Catholic relief agency Caritas Internationalis has launched a new video aimed at promoting awareness about the need to help one another in the fight against worldwide hunger. Released Sept. 1, the film is part of Caritas' “One Human Family, Food for All” project, a global initiative which aims to end world hunger over the next decade. The animated video does not contain any dialogue, but depicts several emaciated persons as they struggle in vain to feed themselves with over-long spoons. As the story progresses, the characters learn that the only way they can overcome their own hunger is by first helping one another. The aim of the clip, said Caritas campaign communications officer, Laura Sheahen, is to show that “we are all in this together, as one human family. What each person does affects whether another person is hungry, even if we can't always see the connection. There really is a connection.” In an interview with CNA, Sheahen explained that the allegory of the “long spoons” appears in various cultures and religious traditions around the globe. “It is a powerful way to show what happens when you stop thinking about your own needs and start thinking about other people's needs,” she said. “You might receive a lot more than you give when you turn around and have a change of heart.” One of the ways the global community can help in the fight against hunger, Sheahen said, is by being aware of systemic issues and chain reactions caused by laws and price-hikes in food production. “It's really like throwing a pebble in a pond,” she said. “The ripples go out. A change in the price of rice in Thailand that's shipped overseas can really affect hungry people in Somalia.” “We ask people to just be aware of how we're all interconnected.” Launched in December 2013, Sheahen said that “One Human Family, Food for All” aims to “raise people's awareness about hunger, tell people what has worked in different contexts to reduce hunger,” be it through improved irrigation systems, food storage, and so on. Part of the campaign, she said, is to establish programs to support farmers, fishermen, and those who transport food. An example of the need for such support comes from India, where the seriousness of the hunger crisis has led some farmers to commit suicide. These farmers, she explained, become trapped in “a cycle of death,” in which they take out loans to buy seeds or other supplies needed to run their farms. If the harvest fails, or if the farmers are unable to repay the loans, they “massive financial pressure and shame” coming from money lenders, the inability to live up to family customs, and so on. One of the ways in which Caritas is supporting farmers in such situations is by helping them to become self-sufficient, encouraging them to use local seeds and supplies, thereby lessening their reliance on moneylenders. While Caritas has received substantial support in helping to reduce global hunger over the past few decades, Sheahen says “there are still 800 million hungry people in the world. That's just something we want to see end.”
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