Trolley snacks and global hunger

16 May 2012 was a long day. A day full of aspirations – and apprehensions.

It started with a journey of 195 miles from Leeds to London. It ended with the same in reverse.

Get on board

In those 400-odd miles, I saw an abundance of food everywhere. The food trolley in the East Coast train loaded with packs of crisps and chocolates. Eateries outside King’s Cross station. At Trafalgar Square, people sitting on the steps, sipping coffee.

On the same day, in other parts of the world, 300 children were dying of malnutrition every hour.

And for me, it was the day I became a campaigner. And I realised how simple things save lives.

Trafalgar Square take-over

When I reached Trafalgar Square, I was surrounded by fellow campaigners and volunteers wearing Save the Children T-shirts and pushing wheelbarrows carrying nutritious foods from around the world.

It was the day David Cameron was leaving for the G8 summit at Camp David. Save the Children campaigners, in association with ONE and Concern Worldwide UK, took this opportunity to highlight the global hunger crisis.

It was my first experience of campaigning in the UK. In the past I have been part of campaigns in Pakistan. This time around the purpose and the locale were completely different.

Making an impact

Coming from a developing country and being a development studies student, I wanted to understand how issues in developing countries are looked on and dealt with in developed countries.

I learned two things that were important for me.

First, there’s the role of volunteers in campaigns. People take time out of their daily lives, using their own resources and working enthusiastically for a cause.

Second, I realised how approachable MPs are in the UK. After the speeches in Trafalgar Square, we went to Downing Street to submit the petition. Then, on his return from the G8 summit, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced in the House of Commons that he would host a major event on hunger during the Olympics.

I never knew the impact of the campaign could be so swift and so profound.

Change the world

The other highlight of the day was visiting the Save the Children head office. Before I had meetings with the campaigns team there, my mind was boggling with gigantic ideas to change the world.

But the words of the experienced campaigners made me realise, it’s not always about the huge leaps.

Sometimes what matters is connecting all the small steps together.

Break the chains

When I walked out of Leeds station, it was almost eight in the evening. Everything was silent and peaceful.

Those 400 miles showed me how campaigners are a bridge between the snacks on the trollies, the giggles inside the eateries, the hot cups of coffee and the 300 children dying every hour of a single day.

The determined efforts of campaigners led to 20,000 people supporting the campaign to ‘Break the Chains of Hunger’.

On the surface it might just seem to be 20,000 signed pieces of paper but in reality, it’s 20,000 people consciously making an effort to help millions of children live.

16 May 2012 welcomed me to the world of campaigning. I feel blessed.


Leave a Reply


  • Tayyeb

    Impressive…let hope we have many more campaigners to bring eaquality and justice for every one on this earth.

  • Awais Habib

    Superb insight into an extraordinary day of a campaigner who has just set foot on a fulfilling career indeed! Hope to read more blogs! way to go Ali! Goodluck!

  • Kurt Stadler

    A very well written blog, Ali – I enjoyed it very much. Its so easy to forget how widespread hunger is still reality when around us the baskets are overflowing with food (and if not sold usally goes to the bin). Want to hear more from you!

  • raja nasir

    it is a well written article that offers all ov us with a food for thought to think bout an impending disister that could affect millions of children around the globe…u spoke ov English values and their quick response and concern to a humanitarian cause. This sensitivity to the said issue has got loads to do with civic sense that could only be inculcated in a society through education. To conclude, England invested years in education to develop humane society educate the societies so that they speak one uniform language ov humanity.In pakistan, we have a great potential for social work as pakistan is the only society that contributes in a big way in charity/social works but we lack management and sensitivity to priorotize the things. At society level, we need to educate our masses to make them more humane and management effective. Once again a high five for a thought provoking article. WELL DONE ….AND KEEP IT UP…..luv..xxxx..

  • raja nasir

    it was like being very thoughtful as a compaigner to link such issues with such a sensitivity…..u know things that appear very minute and minimal, once chained and put together can go a longway to affect a substatancial well being for impoverished and hunger stricken children world wide…very well analyzed by you in ur article ..u wrote and i quote@But the words of the experienced campaigners made me realise, it’s not always about the huge leaps.Sometimes what matters is connecting all the small steps together..good job done and waiting to hear more n more from u…stay blessed