Christina Aguilera Sees Hunger First Hand In Guatemala

Published on 23 September 2009

Christina Aguilera listens as Concepcion Soltuiz (right) explains how VitaCereal, a fortified blended food supplied by WFP, helps her nourish her family. VitaCereal, in the orange packet, is designed to combat malnutrition in small children and young mothers.

(Copyright: WFP/Antonio Lopez)

Wanting to see the impact of hunger with her own eyes, the Grammy award-winning artist recently traveled to Guatemala and met some of the beneficiaries of WFP's nutrition programmes there. For Aguilera, it was an unforgettable experience.

GUATEMALA CITY -- Christina Aguilera just wanted to hug the young woman she met in a Guatemalan village: Concepción, 25 years old, her little daughter clinging to her legs, a second baby on the way.

Concepción was standing in a dirt floor hut, smoke filling the room from a wooden stove. She has no job, no money, her husband has just left her. She said the only food she receives is from WFP.

World Hunger Relief

Christina Aguilera is the global spokesperson for Yum! Brands' World Hunger Relief campaign, which raises awareness, volunteerism and funds for WFP. She is lending her powerful voice to the campaign with a new video spot, or ‘PSA’.

The campaign will run in 36,000 company and franchised owned KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's and A & W family restaurants in 110 countries.

Aguilera explained: "I wanted to see with my own eyes what hunger means. As a mom my heart just breaks when I see how young mothers like Concepción struggle to feed their children. I don’t think I can ever forget these images," the music superstar added.

Rampant malnutrition

Aguilera and her husband Jordan Bratman traveled with WFP to villages in the Guatemalan highlands near Lake Atitlan, where up to 80 percent of the indigenous children are malnourished. Guatemala has the fourth highest child malnutrition rate in the world.

"The people of WFP do such a great job helping hungry children and mothers,"said Aguilera. "I'm thankful for the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful project and incredible team." Her husband added: "This trip was a life-changing experience".

WFP brings life-saving food assistance to some 350,000 people in Guatemala – mostly women and children. It works closely with the Guatemalan government to battle chronic hunger.

"Keep feeding children"

"WFP urgently needs donations to keep feeding some 150,000  women and undernourished children – I want to raise awareness and open people’s eyes so they can get the funds they need to keep on working," said Aguilera.

Many of the children Aguilera saw were much shorter than normal for their age - a consequence of not getting enough healthy food at an early age.

"One of the biggest lessons I’m taking away from this trip is the importance of healthy food. If a child under two doesn’t get the nutrients they need, we can never fix the damage later on," the singer said.

User Experience Survey

about the author

Bettina Luescher

WFP Chief Spokesperson, North America