Our Webmaster (sounds very strict and he is) keeps asking me to make my blogs more controversial…
Well, I did listen to a debate on Radio 4 the other day which made my hackles rise. I was driving and came to it half way through. I wish I could tell you who was debating, perhaps you can? We have a comments section on this blog (with dust growing on it through lack of use – that was said in the tone of our Webmasterl!!) so come back to me if you know.
The over-arching premise of the debate was the usual (and frankly really boring) polar positions of should we give money to the arts when there are people starving in the world. Now I know I am UK Country Director of The Hunger Project, but those of you who know the charity better will also know that this does not automatically put me in the obvious polar camp (I sound like Scott of the Antarctic).
I know we are used to being bombarded with messages from the International Development community that encourage us firstly to feel guilty for what we have, secondly, feel pity for what others don’t have and finally, make a donation, but it doesn’t have to be like this. No it doesn’t. Actually it’s about time we realised that this simply turns people off and pushes them away.
Instead, we could realise that we are lucky to be one of the 5 out of 6 people who do not live in conditions of extreme hunger and poverty and who are able to find all sorts of space and resource in our lives to explore our talents and realise our potential.
All we have to do is stop wasting time and energy feeling guilty and use the resources and talents we have in a ‘sustainable part of our daily life’ kind of way to support/invest in the 1 in 6 of us who do not have this luxury. Even better, if we also recognise that that the 1 in 6 have just as much potential and strength to play their part in ending the problem, then let’s support the work of organisations (you need look no further) who have this element at the heart of their strategy – well is it really that hard to see the potential for a positive outcome here? Shoot me down…go on…the Webmaster will love it.
On this note….I have a case in point. I would really like to thank the dancers of English National Ballet for proving this point so clearly. Thank you James Streeter, Grant Rae, Joshua McSherry-Gray and Nathan Young for using your grant supported talents to help us launch our World Hunger Day T-shirts. Let’s get rid of the polar camps shall we and start working together to end hunger!!! English National Ballet, may your grants be healthy and The Hunger Project UK, may we be awarded a few more…