Activism, Craftiness

On world hunger, two year olds and rice crispie cakes…

19 November, 2012

As I stirred from a bizarre dream this morning, reluctant to wake, especially with all of us snuggled so cosily under the duvet, I groaned; “Monday already? Mummy has to go to work…” Ramona replied, “No, Mummy, no work.” I realised with a jolt that I was bringing up a work-shy communist.* Just kidding, but I did have an insta-worry that I am in danger of devaluing my work, seeing it as something I just do to bring home the (soy-based) bacon, and not because I am passionate about the role of campaigning in bringing about a fairer world.

I tried to recover my position. “Well, it is sad that I have to leave you, but mummy gets to go to work in order to help people who are hungry…”  I realised I was addressing quite a big issue that I hadn’t really addressed with my just-two year old before.  And I was being quite colonial in my description.

Ramona was  chewing a chocolate rice crispie cake, getting it all in the bed (gah, don’t judge me, it was her birthday party yesterday and Tim gave her some leftovers for breakfast. Judge him.) I went on, “You see, some people don’t have rice crispie cakes. And mummy, er, tries to make sure everyone can have a rice crispie cake….”

Ramona is too young, but I do want this to be part of our life’s rhetoric. That life sometimes isn’t fair for everyone, but that we can all play a part in making it better.

We can do it through our jobs, by nurturing our children’s empathy and efficacy, we can do it through our hobbies and spare time.

Some of my favourite people, the Craftivist Collective, have launched #Imapiece – crafting jigsaw bits with messages on in collaboration with Save the Children-  to challenge the horrendous truth that every single hour children are dying from hunger. Their central message is that we are all a part of the big picture, we can all join a movement, to craft a more beautiful future together.

I stitched my first piece of jigsaw in a spare hour last weekend… I went for “Prepare a feast!” – I was feeling hopeful, visionary, and imagined a massive banquet table, bending under the weight of nutritious food, enough for every single belly to be full.


I would love Ramona to understand this. For my hope, rather than any festering cynicism, to seep into her life and the choices she makes and the very way she see the world. I would like to give her Spectacles of Hope  and Action .

This morning she responded to my sleepy, confused explanation with a slobbery, chocolaty kiss. It is clearly too early in her life for this to all make sense to her. And it was certainly too early in the morning for me give it a bash sensibly, without the rubbish use of rice crispie cake analogies!

I need to really work on this… any tips, anyone?

PS Why not use your own crafty skills to dabble in the #imapiece movement? Read all about it here. 

*This is a bit of an in joke with myself, because when I was a young youth worker and writing alot about Fair Trade in youth publications, I got my first bit of hate mail, an aggressive letter from an ancient capitalist, suggesting I was imploring today’s generation to be “work shy communists”.  Mwhaha. That letter only steeled me in this fight against greed 🙂

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  • lally Young 19 November, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Isnt there anything like a cartoon or a book aimed at Rammona’s age? I think if you showed her pictures of what hunger looks like, it might upset her. Or failing that think like a 2 year old? Take away something that Ramona loves and then get her to understand. Harsh nah scrap that. cant you make her a book, download her some child pictures and use them like flip cards.

    • lulastic 19 November, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Actually, we have a Charlie and Lola book on Fairtrade that is really brilliant, I am sure there are lots of other similar resources out there…. for now I might just let her absorb it by just being 🙂

  • Liz Burton 19 November, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Firstly, aww no!!! I missed her birthday??!!

    Secondly, totally with you on this. Sadly, it doesn’t get much easier. I tried to explain similar concept to Ruby aged 4 today. Trying to explain what a Food Bank is, why I want us to donate instead of the shoe-box scheme and how she is NOT hungry after eating a pack of Smarties, a bag of pom Bear, a cereal bar, dinner and pudding in the hour and a half since she got home from school…

    • lulastic 19 November, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      *drools* Pom bears AND smarties?! Yummmm.

      I think it is a challenge, but I think I would want to be the one informing her about the injustice, and the possibility of change. Rather than leaving it to peers/ the news etc.

      *keeps trying!!!*

  • Timpop 19 November, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Don’t judge her dad. He’s a good sort at heart.

    • lulastic 19 November, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Yeah, no wonder you are her favourite, chocolate crispy cakes in bed, pah 🙂

  • Penelope 19 November, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I am planning to make my contribution to this brilliant cause. It’s a constant learning ladder with our children trying to explain the concept of perpetual hunger and living with the consequences of this in our western world. We try to remember those who are hungry when we say grace and thank God for our meal given in grace xox Penelope

    • lulastic 19 November, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Oh WONDERFUL to hear, that you will join in! Do you know what, I think simple traditions like grace can be a wonderful way of reflecting with your family on these thing. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • #imapiece of the Week featuring @lulasticblog | Craftivist Collective 7 January, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    […] “Prepare a feast!” I was feeling hopeful, visionary, and imagined a massive banquet table, bending under the weight of nutritious food, enough for every single belly to be full. You can read more about my piece right here. […]

  • Rachel 16 August, 2013 at 8:53 am

    My mum introduced me to campaigning and positive action. As a kid I remember her writing letters to our MP or the government, signing petitions on the street and buying the Big Issue. She always tried to tell me the truth, too, when I asked what was happening in the world. She was clear that there were things that weren’t fair and that we could all play a part in progressive change.

    I remember first campaigning myself aged about 7 or 8, as part of the anti-whaling movement, and as I grew up that moved on to forcing my folks to recycle everything, and general environmentalist bothering of everyone around me. Mum was always supportive of my ability to influence the world, even when I was just a little girl.

    So yeah, my experience would say tell the truth and always emphasize your daughters’ ability to make a difference. I’m pretty sure you’re doing that already though, anyway!

  • Beware the squanderbug | Lulastic and the hippyshake 14 May, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    […] Using craft to reflect on, and take political action, with the Craftivist’s #imapiece project. You can see my reflections, talking hunger with my two year old here […]