Mel Doyle: 'The stories and the faces have always stayed with me.'

Those little drops of plastic wrapped barley sugar did nothing to quench our roaring teenage appetite, but at least the innocent belief we were doing our bit to save the world took the edge off nearly two days of hunger.

This year the 40 Hour Famine turns 40.

And roughly 30 years after my first go, I will again skip a few meals… but this time knowing that my short term hunger will have long-term consequences.

I have seen firsthand how World Vision is changing the world – one person, one family, one community at a time.

“I have seen firsthand how World Vision is changing the world.”

I now know the difference a well of water can make, a trained and hygienic midwife, a school with paper and pens, even a few simple blankets.

I have seen World Vision’s work in Mongolia, Banda Aceh, Armenia and the Syrian borders with both Jordan and Lebanon.

I have met families forced to choose between firewood and food in the depths of winter, women who have lost babies because the birthing attendant didn’t know to wash her hands, little girls who won’t go to school because their parents could only afford to send their son, families who have fled a war zone with nothing but what they were wearing and young women married off at 14 for their own safety. These are the stories that stay with me from my work with World Vision.

“I now know the difference a well of water can make, a trained and hygienic midwife, a school with paper and pens, even a few simple blankets.”

Every time I return home I am overwhelmed.

I stop to recognise that I can switch on a light or a heater, that both of my children can walk safely to school for a first class education, that a GP is only a phone call away, we have a fridge full of fresh healthy food and that I can turn on the tap and drink the water.

I have seen what can happen when enough people sponsor children in Chencha, a tiny remote village in Ethiopia.

So many of us associate Ethiopia with famine – we saw horrific TV stories in the 70s & 80s. These shocking images encouraged me and millions of others to take action and do their bit to help.

So many of us associate Ethiopia with famine.

The donations from thousands of Australians like me built health clinics, sent kids to school, made clean water available and helped the community lift themselves out of poverty.

I saw people given the best gift of all – hope.

When I remember those less fortunate, I have to do something.

Taking action makes me feel strong and useful.

That makes it easy to skip a few meals.

Over 40 years, Australians have raised $200 Million to give hope to millions around the world.

Click through the gallery below for some 40 Hour Famine 80s throwback. 

Those doing the 40 Hour Famine this year don’t have to go hungry.

They can decide to give something else up… technology, furniture, social media or even shopping.

Whatever you give up, get you friends and family to sponsor you.

And make sure you tell them why you are doing it, what a difference they and you are making.

If we put all the world’s problems in the too hard basket, nothing would get done.

Every little bit helps.

Good luck!

To learn more about this year’s 40 Hour Famine, get involved or donate, click here. All funds raised in this year’s 40 Hour Famine will go towards World Vision Projects in Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Malawi, Nepal, Swaziland and Uganda. 

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