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Hend Sabri fights hunger

Last night, Tunisian actress Hend Sabri was appointed ambassador against hunger by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

At a press conference held in her honor, young superstar Hend Sabri pointed at a red cup in her hand, saying that it contained the daily amount needed to feed a child. “It costs LE1 only, which means that if each of us paid LE365 annually, we would be able to feed a child for a whole year,” she said. The red cup is one of numerous projects implemented by WFP to combat hunger. Over the past year, due to the effects of  global economic crises, the number of hungry people has sky-rocketed, with more than a billion people worldwide going hungry daily, most of whom live in development countries (some 915 million inhabitants).

Sponsored by Garnier, whose endorser in the Middle East is Sabri, the WFP press conference was held at the Semiramis hotel in Cairo, which was buzzing with media representatives and celebrities who joined the event. Sabri sat among the panel that included actress and UN goodwill ambassador Yousra, along with actor Mahmoud Yassin, WFP ambassador against hunger as well as WFP official representatives, the largest humanitarian project around the world.

After recent visits by Sabri to the Palestinian occupied territories and Syria, where she visited people receiving food assistance from WFP to see the impact of the agency’s work on the lives of vulnerable people, the young star is convinced that combating poverty is the answer. Sabri said that poverty is the biggest enemy of development and democracy, and that no one can exercise their rights and obligations while hungry.

Prior to the press conference, the prominent young actress talked to Al-Masry Al-Youm about her new status and her future social responsibilities.

Al-Masry Al-Youm: Do you believe that artists in particular have a social responsibility?

Hend Sabri: Artists in particular have a social responsibility, but that does not mean that we are going to save the world, because it is not our job. It is the job of entities like the United Nations who use us (artists) to reach our audience, whose main source of information is the media. Our role is to facilitate their [the UN’s] job.

Al-Masry: Have you played any role in civil society prior to your appointment as an ambassador against hunger?

Sabri: This is not my first time doing voluntary work. Before that I joined a campaign to combat AIDS in the Arab world, and worked with United Nations Development Programme. I have been working, upon my request, with WFP for the past year, and traveled to Syria and the occupied Palestinian territories without any media coverage and with no promises of any post.

Al-Masry: What is the nature of your post exactly?

Sabri:  My role is to act as a link between big organizations that aim to reach young people, through using young [artist] ambassadors, in order to influence their young audience. Hence I will dedicate my time and efforts to reach young audiences and represent to them the [current status of hunger] in a simple way.

Al-Masry: Do you plan on taking your role a step further and supporting your cause via various means, perhaps through films, or by starting a social movement?

Sabri: On a personal level, not as an ambassador against hunger. I am currently working on my biggest dream which has to do with charity. I will reveal more information when it is ready but I can tell you it will be more of a database that links all the nongovernmental organizations of the Arab world on the internet.

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