"I'M HUNGRY"

Hungry Venezuelan schoolchildren draw what they’ve had to eat today

Venezuela’s food situation is dismal. Shortages have people lining up for hours outside supermarkets to secure a few staples, and prices keep rising as demand outstrips available supplies.

What does it mean when 87% of households can’t afford to buy enough food, as a 2015 survey (pdf) by several Venezuelan universities found?

Children at a school in Caracas have drawn it with heartbreaking precision.

The Wider Image: Venezuelan children express hunger in drawings
“Just spaghetti” wrote this student, when asked by teachers at the Padre José María Vélaz school in Caracas what his latest meals had been. (Reuters/Carlos Jasso)

After students in Padre José María Vélaz school started fainting, their teachers asked them to make pictures of their most recent meals, according to Reuters. The collection shows the damage of Venezuela’s economic crisis at ground level. After the collapse of oil prices, the oil-rich nation is now poor in foreign exchange reserves needed to import vital supplies. And after years of economic policies that have effectively dismantled industry, local companies and farms are in no position to fill in.

For kids, this means less food on their plate.

Only arepas

The Wider Image: Venezuelan children express hunger in drawings
This student skipped breakfast and only had arepa, Venezuela’s traditional corn-flour patty, for lunch. No afternoon snack either. (Reuters/Carlos Jasso)

Three paltry meals

The Wider Image: Venezuelan children express hunger in drawings
This student was lucky to have three meals: Bread and water for breakfast, soup and water for lunch, and arepa for dinner. (Reuters/Carlos Jasso)

Fruit and more fruit

The Wider Image: Venezuelan children express hunger in drawings
Tropical fruit, generally easier to get in fertile Venezuela than other foods, features prominently in kids’ diets. This child had cooked plantains for lunch and dinner, and a mango as an afternoon snack.” (Reuters/Carlos Jasso)

Bread for dinner

The Wider Image: Venezuelan children express hunger in drawings
Bread for dinner on Monday. No dinner on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a treat for this girl: plantain with meat. (Reuters/Carlos Jasso)
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