Is good news boring? Is there a severe shortage of hopeful, inspirational stories outside of the sports section? Would it violate journalistic standards if the media served up more stories that motivated us to be better people and brightened our days a little?
The answer is you can find stories of hope and inspiration if you look hard enough for them. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be a small part of some pretty amazing stories from around the world as editor of the TPRF blog for the past two years. I’d like to pass my good fortune along to anyone in the mood for something out of the ordinary.
The TPRF blog began with a mandate to cover the developing story of the third Food for People facility planned for construction in the small village of Otinibi, outside of the metropolitan city of Accra in Ghana, West Africa. Food for People is a proprietary hunger relief program initiated by TPRF. These facilities feed a nutritious daily meal to children and village elders in areas of extreme poverty.
Our first posts covered the Ghana Food for People project in detail beginning when the facility was an undeveloped piece of land awaiting governmental approval of the documents transferring title of ownership to the local charity set up to manage and run the FFP. We literally watched the facility rise up out of the ground, culminating in a triumphant opening one year later. The FFP in Otinibi has materialized thanks to the dedication of mostly local volunteers, an expert construction team, funding from TPRF, and donations from individuals following the story on the Internet.
Five hundred children and adults will eat every day in Otinibi. The same thing occurs at two other Food for People centers in Bantoli, India and Tsarapu, Nepal, opened in 2006 and 2009 respectively.
The logistics and effort required to establish and keep the FFP facilities operating boggles the mind. Food and hygiene standards must be established and maintained. A chef has to plan the menus. The meals have to be balanced nutritionally and tailored to the tastes of the people in the area. Managers have to train and supervise staff and volunteers. The list goes on. Yet it is happening.
Thanks to these Food for People centers, children go to school instead of doing manual labor (like crushing rocks to support their families.) The nutritious daily meals allow the children to grow and develop normally. Plus, they learn proper sanitation habits and enjoy watching educational television programs while eating.
With healthy bodies and the opportunity to learn in school, these children have a vastly improved chance to realize their dreams later in life. And something more. I have seen through these stories that Food for People is an oasis for these children, a place where they can flourish and enjoy their precious childhood.
Six months after the first TPRF blog post, we decided to open up the scope of the blog to other feature stories while still reporting on the progress of the project in Ghana. We regularly cover stories about TPRF’s Peace Education Program in prisons, independent fundraising efforts, disaster relief, clean drinking water initiatives, and other humanitarian efforts undertaken by TPRF’s partner organizations.
Here’s a thought. Maybe you are what you “tune into” as much as you are what you eat.
Food for People photos by Francis Ahore. Ethiopia photo courtesy of International Relief and Development Organization (IRD)