A supporter writes: The Big IF rally has changed the way I see campaigning
I’m Peter Chege, originally from Kenya, and I want to start by making a confession.
For many years, I have campaigned for the wellbeing of children and families, especially those from developing countries, mainly because I felt that I had to return a kindness for the help Save the Children gave me during my troubled childhood in Kenya.
I was rescued from the Nairobi streets 50 years ago and placed in the Save the Children-funded Starehe Boys Centre, where I was given love and an education that has made me what I am today.
However, based on my recent involvement with the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, I have decided that my previous commitment wasn’t enough. I have come to see my campaign work as nothing less than a moral obligation.
On Saturday 8 June, 45,000 people gathered at the Big IF London rally in Hyde Park to demand action from G8 leaders on global hunger and save the lives of millions of children. High-profile actors, football champions and film director Danny Boyle all spoke, insisting that ending world hunger would be “the greatest gold medal Britain could win in 2013”.
Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates praised the UK for “leading the way” on tackling hunger. Mr Gates said: “The UK is keeping its promise to the world’s poor, largely because all of you remind your leaders regularly, and loudly, that this stuff matters. Now is our chance to make a significant difference.”
For me, the Big IF London rally was a very humbling experience. In particular I was moved to tears to be among people, like Gates, who have great wealth, yet who are so passionate and determined to put up a good fight for children and vulnerable families.
On to Belfast
It was there and then that I decided that I would travel to Belfast the following weekend for a similar rally on 15 June, just 2 days prior the G8 meeting.
I joined thousands of people who braved the rain to attend the Big IF Belfast event in the city’s Botanic Gardens two days before the start of the crucial G8 summit at Lough Erne. The crowds there were equally vocal in their demands for action.
On my journey – more than 10 hours by coach and an overnight ferry – I met a number of very interesting and special people. We stayed together on the ferry, talking endlessly about our lives and mission to Belfast, before falling asleep on the boat’s floor.
Great results for children
The London Hunger Summit on 8 June saw £2.7 billion pledged which will save the lives of at least 1.7 million children. Then at the G8 summit, a historic deal was struck to make sure developing countries have the information they need to clamp down on tax dodging. These are major milestones for children in poor countries.
None of the 45,000 people at the London rally or the 8,000 in Belfast were hungry people. Yet they have such a passion to move mountains and the world for the sake of children. Generosity in aid and giving really is part of Britain’s DNA.