Mohammed Al Talal lives in a makeshift shack in Beqaa Valley, Lebanon. It's been his home for the past four years since he and his family fled the violence in Syria that left Mohammed's father injured and unable to work. Today, Mohammed is the family's sole breadwinner. He's also only 10 years old.
Instead of going to school, Mohammed works four hours each day at a nearby bakery. In exchange for his labor, he receives bread and unsellable produce that serves as the staples of his family's diet along with the groceries they're able to purchase thanks to help from the U.N. World Food Programme. This constant source of nourishment--and Mohammed's hard work--keeps food on the table for his five siblings, mother and father.
Mohammed is just one of an estimated 59.5 million refugees across the planet whose lives have been disrupted by conflict. He is also one of millions of boys and girls whose childhoods have been stolen by violence and whose future hangs in the balance. Right now, one in every 122 people on earth is either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.
In honor of International Day of Peace, we are speaking out on behalf of all the men, women and children across the globe who have lost their homes, loved ones and livelihoods to war. Today, the U.N. World Food Programme and World Food Program USA are joined by nine global companies to raise awareness for families and children like Mohammed. On television sets across the globe, people will see a unified campaign calling attention to the nexus of conflict and hunger.
We want each person who watches our "Stop Hunger. Start Peace" video to hear our message loud and clear--that your help and your voice is needed now more than ever before. Funds raised today for WFP will be used to provide food assistance to families affected by conflict, including those in and around Syria, where more than 4 million people are registered as refugees.
This International Day of Peace, we're also celebrating the messages of hope and help that our donors have generously provided. Horrific scenes and stories about the plight of Syrian refugees seeking refuge in Europe has prompted a surge of support from Americans and individuals worldwide. In Indiana, a 7-year-old boy named Allan began writing his own book series to raise money for WFP USA after seeing a 60 Minutes segment about WFP's work with Syrian refugees that later earned an Emmy nomination.
The U.S. private sector is also helping WFP feed millions of hungry families all over the world. This includes global companies like UPS, the world's biggest delivery company, which provides WFP with funding, staff, equipment and expertise during emergencies, and family businesses like the small co-op in Wisconsin that collects donations for WFP USA at its registers. Supporters big and small are helping the agency deliver lifesaving food assistance when it matters most.
American consumers are helping too. Through its annual World Hunger Relief campaign, longtime partner YUM! Brands has built the largest consumer outreach effort of its kind in support of WFP's school meals program. So far, the campaign has funded more than 148 million school meals and counting, fostering a healthier, brighter and more stable future for millions of students.
As journalist Nick Kristof has pointed out, refugees could be us. If we don't act soon, we risk losing an entire generation. Children like Mohammed Al Talal deserve the chance to dream again of a bright future. By supporting WFP and spreading awareness of its efforts, the American people and the U.S. private sector are helping to create a more stable and peaceful future for everyone.