Group raises local awareness of global poverty

Many Yale students do not hesitate to throw away half-eaten portions of dining hall meals, not realizing they are part of the privileged one-third of the world that is well-fed. But the remaining two-thirds of the world’s inhabitants are either starving or suffering from malnutrition.

The College Council for CARE, or CCC, wants Yalies to be aware of such global problems. It is the first college initiative to represent CARE, an international humanitarian organization working to alleviate global poverty. CCC is organizing World Hunger Week from today until Nov. 1 to coincide with CARE International’s World Hunger Campaign, which aims to raise $2 million in the next 90 days.

CARE was founded in 1945 when American organizations rallied to send care packages to World War II survivors. It grew to be a large nonprofit organization that now works to provide sustainable solutions to problems affecting developing countries and now aids millions of people globally.

Despite the large donor base, CARE has not attracted a high number of young philanthropists.

“Right now the average donor is 73 years old, so as you can tell, they are going to run into problems 20 years from now,” said Lauren Thompson ’05, founder and director of CCC. “CARE has been so focused on doing work internationally they haven’t been able to build up youth support.”

Thompson was introduced to CARE through their high school pilot program. She had an internship at CARE headquarters in Atlanta during which she worked on starting an overarching college youth program. Although CCC’s ultimate goal is to spread to other college campuses, its current aim is to inform Yale students about international development and poverty, Thompson said.

World Hunger Week will consist of various fund-raisers, such as sales of CARE seals for $1 each, as well as speakers and discussion panels. Chetna Sinha, a Yale World Fellow, will discuss drought and poverty in rural India, and Ruramisai Charumbira GRD ’07, a graduate student of history, will address the gender dimensions of hunger in southern Africa.

The week will culminate in a benefit jam that will include performances by Whim ‘n Rhythm, the Duke’s Men of Yale, jazz violinist Kersten Stevens ’06, the Yale International Singers, and a jazz trio from the group Sonido Unidada. The Musical Cure, a community service-based group, will also perform a piano quartet. All proceeds will go directly to the World Hunger Campaign, CCC treasurer Magni Hamso ’05 said.

“We’re one of the first student organizations advocating for international development at Yale,” Thompson said. “Students always wonder how they can affect change in the lives of people thousands of miles away. CARE gives them the opportunity to do this.”

CCC recognizes that there is still a problem with hunger in the local community, Hamso said. Participation in a rally for the homeless and a visit to a local soup kitchen are both on the agenda for World Hunger week.

Thompson said she hopes the local connection will spur interest in larger global issues. People care about international issues but find it difficult to deal with with something that is not right in front of their faces, she said.

“Even more important than a tangible difference in another country is the awareness [of world poverty] for myself and other Yale students,” Laura Huizar ’06 said. “It’s something that we’ll keep in mind wherever we happen to be in the future.”

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