CAIRO – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today appointed Tunisian film star Hend Sabry as an “Ambassador against Hunger.” The young actress will support WFP in its fight against hunger in developing countries around the world, especially in the Middle East region.
“I am delighted to be part of WFP's efforts to help the hungriest people in the world and I will use my profile among film fans to show how even small contributions from individual people can help to ease hunger by feeding hungry children,” said Hend Sabry.
Over the past year, the compounding effects of the economic crisis – which followed the 2008 high food price crisis - has pushed the number of hungry people to unprecedented levels. More than a billion people around the world now go hungry each day, and one third of all deaths among children under 5 years of age in the developing world are linked to under nutrition.
“Providing proper nutrition to young children is a simple and effective way of saving the next generation, and building a better future for millions,” Ms. Sabry said.
The actress’s initial plan includes visiting WFP’s operations in Yemen where the programme is helping more than 175,000 people affected by the ongoing conflict in the northern part of the country.
She is also planning to visit school meal programmes in Egypt and the occupied Palestinian territories as well as other projects worldwide. WFP now provides meals to around 22 million children in schools in some 70 countries; about half of them are girls.
WFP’s school meal programmes transformed the life of Kenya’s marathon runner Paul Tergat when the agency started distributing free school lunches at his primary school in a drought-ridden district in Kenya in 1977. Tergat is now a WFP Ambassador against Hunger.
Ms. Sabri actress will join other world celebrities who are using their status to help WFP raise awareness of the global fight against hunger including Drew Barrymore, Kaká and Egyptian film veteran Mahmoud Yassin.
“We have realised the power of celebrities in winning the hearts and minds of people and we are confident that Hend will bring the Arab world’s attention to how much hunger and suffering there is in the world,” said Daly Belgasmi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
Ms. Sabry and Mr. Yassin are scheduled to shoot a number of public service announcements next week.
Ms. Sabri has supported WFP since February 2009. She has travelled to Syria and the occupied Palestinian territories, and visited people receiving food assistance from WFP to see the impact of the agency’s work on the lives of vulnerable people.
Garnier sponsored WFP’s announcement ceremony in Cairo. Hend Sabry is the company's celebrity endorser in the Middle East.