By Melissa Wuske
The World Food Programme (WFP) is struggling to meet the needs of the food crisis in Yemen. The lack of food is caused by the economic impact of conflict within the nation. “Hunger is increasing every day, and people have exhausted all their survival strategies. Millions of people cannot survive without external assistance,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP regional director.
“An entire generation could be crippled by hunger,” said Torben Due, WFP country director in Yemen. “We need to scale up our lifesaving assistance to reach more people with timely food assistance and preventive treatment. . . . We need to provide a full ration to every family in need, but sadly we have had to reduce the size of the food basket and split assistance between impoverished families to meet growing needs,” he added.
Unity in Honor of the Protestant Reformation
The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation last November had a surprising participant: the pope. Pope Francis traveled to Sweden as a demonstration of unity across historic boundaries. It was the first papal visit to Sweden in 25 years. The pope participated in a Lutheran prayer service, including testimony from refugees and the bishop of Aleppo, Syria.
Attending a prayer service is a bold move for the head of the Catholic church: “There are rightwing Roman Catholics who find the whole thing profoundly distasteful,” said Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford professor and author of The Reformation: A History. But the pope has spoken in support of the reformer Martin Luther in the past: “The church was not a role model; there was corruption, there was worldliness, there was greed, and lust for power. He protested against this. And he was an intelligent man,” said Pope Francis.
In East Africa 1 in 200 people is in need of a wheelchair. Janna Deeble grew up in Kenya; as a child he met a man, Letu, who was in need of a wheelchair. Years later, during his time as a design student, an accident left Deeble needing a wheelchair for several months. During that time, he began to understand the challenges people like Letu faced living in places with rough terrain to navigate.
Deeble returned to Kenya and began working to solve this problem. He and his team spent months living with people with disabilities to understand them and their needs. The result is SafariSeat, an all-terrain wheelchair that can be manufactured in local workshops using bike parts. SafariSeat is operated by hand pump levers and is stable even on rough ground.
Now Deeble is working to create an open-source guide to help local people manufacture the chairs so that they can help citizens in their communities who have limited mobility and generate income for the local economy.
School Funding Inequality
An investigative team from NPR found that the inequalities in today’s school funding system stem from America’s history of racial inequality. Brown v. Board of Education stated that education “must be made available to all on equal terms,” but in 1973 San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez determined that there is no constitutional right to equal funding for education.
Currently much of the nation relies on property taxes, which are influenced by discriminatory housing policies and tax laws. As a result districts with low-income students from minority backgrounds have less money to fund students’ education. For example, a Chicago school district in a low-income area has $9,794 per child, while a nearby affluent district has $28,639 per child.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).