Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

World Cup 2014: Captivating Fans, Fighting Hunger

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Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.

By Bianca Brown

Thursday, June 19: Uruguay v. England; Japan v. Greece

While the breathtaking feats of athleticism displayed by World Cup players are captivating fans worldwide, nothing is quite as amazing as the progress that the participating countries have made in moving us toward a hunger-free world.

According to recent data, 16 percent of Japan’s population lives below the poverty line. Japan’s poverty-reduction goals are focused around improving the promotion of educational, health, and employment opportunities to support the national welfare. While the country is working to reduce the number of impoverished citizens within its borders, Japan is also responsible for a large number of charitable efforts outside of the country. In 2005, Japan proclaimed the year to be the “Year of Africa” in an effort to raise awareness among the international community about African issues. In 2011, many of the players on Japan’s football team participated in a charity match to help raise money for earthquake relief off the Pacific coast of Tohoku. In a statement made by the team, the members said they all felt a responsibility to donate money to the victims of the crisis.

Similarly, in Uruguay, the estimated percentage of citizens living below the poverty line is about 18 percent of households. Government officials in Uruguay are seeking to support early education opportunities in order to strengthen the established schools in both rural and urban areas. By supporting these institutions, the government is also encouraging stronger public health and nutrition, which, in turn, support its poverty-reduction goals.

Bianca Brown is an intern in Bread for the World's communications department and a senior at Georgia's Wesleyan College.

Photo:  Japan v. Brazil 2006 FIFA World Cup. (Wikimedia Commons)


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