Christina Aguilera Goes Face-to-Face with Those in Need
Advocacy There aren’t many who are unfamiliar with Christina Aguilera. There may be more, however, that are unaware of the pop icon’s unsung efforts as a U.N. Ambassador.
Mediaplanet: What inspired you to become the World Food Programme Ambassador?
Christina Aguilera: After having my first child several years ago I knew I wanted to get involved in causes that help kids. When I learned how millions of children go to bed hungry, my only response was ‘what can I do to help?’ Since 2009, when I first volunteered as a spokesperson for Yum! Brand's World Hunger Relief effort to help raise awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), I wasn’t aware how much my involvement would touch me. My goal is to use my voice to shine the spotlight on hunger. Over the years, I’ve traveled to places like Rwanda, Haiti and Guatemala with WFP to feed young mothers and children. I’ve been moved and inspired in words that are hard to articulate.
MP: Tell us about your most recent relief trip.
CA: My latest trip with the WFP was to Ecuador where I went to film a new PSA for Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief effort. I met with local refugee families and served food to hungry children who often times receive just one meal a day through WFP’s school feeding program. I hope the new PSA will raise awareness about this critical global hunger problem because it’s unacceptable that people in this day and age struggle to have a basic need like food.
MP: What can you tell us about the hunger crisis in Ecuador?
CA: I was saddened to learn while I was in Ecuador that almost 40 percent of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition and nearly 40 percent of the entire population lives in poverty. I witnessed the effects of hunger firsthand, but the hope was there. I felt so connected to the positive attitudes and how much we are able to help them with aid.
MP: How has being a mother influenced your experience as an activist for the cause?
CA: It’s heartbreaking to me that nearly 850 million people go to bed hungry each night. And this includes far too many children. It’s a subject so close to my heart and has been for a long time, being a mom.
MP: What about this relief trip was most impactful for you?
CA: While I was in Ecuador, I visited a refugee family’s home, where five people lived in a very small, single room with no running water. They fled their home country of Columbia because they feared for their safety after a family member was murdered. The parents sell water and watermelon on the streets to make a few dollars a day and are thankful for the nutritious food provided by the WFP.
"One in nine people go to bed hungry every night, and many of those people are children. As a mother I just can’t continue to let this happen."
Through my work with Yum brands and the WFP I have had the opportunity to travel to places like Rwanda, Haiti, Guatemala and most recently this trip to Ecuador and they are all life-changing. I wanted this trip to feel personal, and since I am half Ecuadorian, I wanted to connect with these children that are literally my bloodline. It meant a lot to me to make that connection and to tell my children about this trip when they are older.
MP: What do you think is the most important thing people should know surrounding world hunger?
CA: There’s enough food to feed every person in the world, however, hunger is still our greatest crisis. But what inspires me is it’s something we can fix. By donating to WFP, you can help families change the course of their lives. You can help feed children so they can learn, grow and succeed. During my travels I witnessed firsthand that the little red cup of food that children receive in school from WFP is sometimes the only meal they will eat all day. Kids come to school for a meal, but they also get an education and a chance for a better life.
MP: Where do you see the state of world hunger in the next five years? How can we end world hunger together?
CA: One in nine people go to bed hungry every night, and many of those people are children. As a mother I just can’t continue to let this happen. I believe that hunger can be eliminated in our lifetime, but that means we have to do more than hear about it or think about it. We have to give and help people in all parts of the world.
WHAT A GIRL REALLY WANTS: Go behind the scenes with the "Stripped" singer on her trip to Rwanda, where she witnessed the effects of hunger first-hand.