I am developing a hunger education event that will be similar to World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine. I have been watching videos and exploring activities that are usually a part of these types of events and I find one of the recurring features a bit troubling. So much of the multimedia has many pictures of emaciated, sick children. Emotive music plays in the background as sometimes overwhelming statistics flash across the screen (even www.girleffect.org, an organization that frames the issues particularly well, wants you to imagine a girl in poverty with flies hovering around her). Videos and images such as these seem to be popular, but are they really effective? If so, what is it about them that draws people in? Maybe you can answer for yourself–are these types of stories and images effective for you? Why or why not?
For me, I struggle with them. I wonder if the dignity and power of those who live in poverty is lost when we only see them as dying and sickly. Is our ability to truly walk with someone inhibited when we only see their weakness? Or are those images necessary to finally move us to action? If so, what does that say about our motivations? Let me know your thoughts (maybe I’ll give you a footnote in the new resource…).