On March 18th, led by the Middle School Student Service Leadership Team (MSSSLT), ASIJ sixth graders participated in the 2016 Oxfam Hunger Banquet. This annual event, which is supported by Oxfam International, allows our students to learn first-hand about the problems of hunger associated with poverty around the world. The students learned about the number of people who live on less than $2.00 a day and had a chance to experience it, on a small scale, by observing the percentage of ‘poor students’ who were served rice and water for lunch as compared to the ‘middle income’ or ‘rich students,’ who were served more complete meals. The luncheon itself was a simulation of the current state of global hunger. Students were able to develop a better understanding of diverse perspectives through this hands-on experience. A representative from Oxfam Japan also spoke to the students about ways in which they can be sure that the world’s food resources reach more people. In order to raise money for the organization, a small donation was included in the price of each student lunch and SSLT members sold Oxfam fair trade chocolate bars. In total, MSSSLT and the sixth grade together were able to raise ¥70,000 for Oxfam Japan.
Middle school students Tristan, Henry and Roshan share their experience participating in the Oxfam Hunger Banquet.
This year, we saw great success with the Hunger Banquet. The Hunger Banquet simulated the world by dividing us into different income groups—15% of the sixth graders were high income, 25% of them were middle income, and 60% were low income. Also adding to the fundraising, MSSSLT sold Oxfam fair trade chocolate for the first time. Thanks to middle school contributors, we sold out all the chocolate on the first day. The money all went to Oxfam. The most important thing about the Hunger Banquet is that we experienced the inequality and the hunger that exists in the world. Many of us received the low income ticket. They experienced hunger in a small way, while the high income group felt sympathy for and even felt guilty that they got a great meal while some of their classmates only received a bowl of rice and some water.
Fortunately, everyone had a positive and appropriate attitude towards this activity and nobody cheated. This was not supposed to be a fun activity. This was supposed to show kids at our school the different points of view of other people in the world who are suffering from poverty and starvation. Every six seconds, a child dies of a hunger related disease that could be prevented. (Tristan D., Henry F. and Roshan S., Grade 6)