Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

World Cup 2014: Spain's Squad of Anti-Hunger Champions

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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 Reina Villanueva

Wednesday, June 18: Spain v. Chile

After entering the World Cup as the number-one team ranked by FIFA, Spain’s all-star players have been taking on squads from across the globe. The Spanish team is passionate about winning the World Cup, but also about tackling extreme poverty worldwide. The number of players who are dedicated to fighting hunger is inspiring.

XaviWith the well-loved Iker Casillas, Gerard Pique, David Villa, and Fernando Torres regularly partnering with UNICEF, midfielder Xavi Hernández donating winnings to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and powerhouse Andres Iniesta collaborating with Doctors Without Borders, the Spanish national team has been working to win the fight against world hunger and poverty. Passion for football certainly drives these teammates to dedicate their lives to football, but what drives them to dedicate their lives to the underprivileged?

“Being a footballer is not only about good passes on the pitch,” explained Iniesta in a recent interview. “We have a privileged life, we experience a lot of great things, and we must help those most in need, especially children who are suffering.”

With 21.1 percent of its population living below the poverty line, Spain as a whole has also risen to the challenge of tackling poverty. The Spanish government has partnered with the United Nations in financing 130 programs that cover areas of nutrition, youth and employment, gender equality, environment, culture, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, water resources management, and private sector development in over fifty countries.

Whether or not Spain will win the World Cup trophy may still be up in the air, but Spain is definitely bringing more valuable treasures to the underprivileged throughout the world.

Reina Villanueva is an intern in Bread for the World's communications department and a senior at American University in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Xavi Hernández. (wikimedia commons)


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