CAIRO: The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) appointed Tunisian actress Hend Sabry an ambassador against hunger crowing her consistent efforts with the program since February 2009.
She will be supporting WFP in its fight against hunger in developing countries around the world and especially in the Middle East.
“Last year during the war on Gaza and seeing the children suffer in the news everyday, I felt the need to do something and coincidently I received a phone call from the WFP asking me to join them in a fundraising campaign for Gaza, said Sabry.
“I told them use me without media coverage or any promise for a position, she added.
WFP is the largest humanitarian program and frontline agency in the fight against hunger, they not only work on saving people from hunger but also on preventing hunger in the future.
“We are working for millions without a voice and we rely on celebrities to get their voices out there because when celebrities speak, people listen, said Daly Belgasmi, WFP regional director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
“For the past year, Sabry has shown passion and enthusiasm, [we are sure her work will] complement the work of our other ambassadors, she has the admiration of the Arab world for how committed she is to her work and public service, he added.
During the past year, the effects of the global financial crisis, which followed the 2009 hike in food prices, spiked the number of hungry people to unprecedented levels, reaching an alarming 1 billion for the first time in history.
Sabry went to Syria where she visited Iraqi refugees, followed by a trip to the Palestinian territories where she visited people receiving food aid from the WFP. “There, I understood that hunger doesn’t have one face or one reason and it is not necessarily related to poverty, she said.
“It is the biggest enemy to development, democracy and education because people will not think of anything if their focus is on getting food, Sabry added.
She explained that despite the fact that we are in the 21st century, hunger is relatively prevalent, where out of six people in the world, one person goes to bed hungry.
Sabry spoke about pending WFP campaigns, including the “Red Cup campaign, where cups are filled with food and given to schoolchildren across the world. “The cup is filled with LE 1 and it will provide a child with a lunch meal which could be his only meal for the day, she explained.
“A Billion for a Billion campaign taps into the power of the world’s billion internet users to spread the word about fighting hunger, which would “make it very easy to help the hungry billion, Sabry explained.
Celebrities around the world help the WFP raise awareness about the global fight against hunger. These include Drew Barrymore and veteran Egyptian actor Mahmoud Yassin.
“Hend is a creative person who is cultured . she enjoys a great popularity and respect, so it is an excellent choice to have her as an ambassador against hunger, said Yassin.
Egyptian actress Yousra, a United Nations Development Program goodwill ambassador, was present at the event to congratulate Sabry. “I’m here to congratulate Hend and the United Nations; she is truly responsible, dedicated and devoted . I’m sure she’ll make a change.
On top of Sabry’s agenda as ambassador against hunger is visiting Darfur.
“Darfur is a must-see, it is where the WFP’s largest funds are going, so I must go see the distribution, the operation and how people are benefiting from the program, she noted.
She also plans to visit the WFP’s operations in Yemen where the program is helping more than 175,000 people dislocated by the conflict in the north. Sabry will also visit schools in Egypt and the Occupied Palestinian territories.