VIDEO: As hunger crisis rages, a child eats locusts to survive

In the face of unrelenting drought and food shortages, Salissou has begun catching locusts for his sisters to eat. Ironically, after they destroyed the family’s millet crop, these insects were the only source of food the children had. Salissou’s little sister, Rashida, is receiving treatment for malnutrition from World Vision.

Published June 12, 2012 at 12:00am PDT

Before sunrise, Salissou Agada, 11, leaves his hut in Kadoudou, Niger, and goes into the bush to collect locusts, a type of grasshopper.

The locusts have destroyed his family’s millet crop, their only source of food. With no millet left, Salissou catches locusts for his sisters to eat. The locusts aren’t enough, though.

Salissou has five brothers and sisters. The youngest sister, Rashida, 2, is malnourished and sick with fever. Salissou and Rashida have a very special bond. Salissou walks more than six miles every two weeks to take Rashida to the nearest health center, where she’s treated for malnutrition by World Vision staff. The journey is hard and takes Salissou two-and-a-half hours.

“If I carry her on my back, it’s difficult for me to walk and I get tired,” says Salissou. “It’s even harder if I’m hungry.”

Once at the center, the nurses give Salissou a life-saving peanut paste called Plumpy’Nut® to feed to Rashida. Salissou doesn’t know how his family will eat this year. He’s sad because his father, Adamour, will have to leave soon to try to find work in the city so he can buy food.

Adamour says he can’t stay home looking at his children go hungry without doing something.

“I love my children; their life is my life,” he says. “I have to go to get something for them to eat.”

Learn more

Read the story of Hassane on the World Vision Blog — a toddler in Niger whose life was saved from malnutrition by Plumpy’Nut.

Three ways you can help

Please lift up in prayer children like Salissou and Rashida, whose lives have been profoundly affected by the drought and hunger crisis across West Africa’s Sahel region. Pray that rains would come to this parched area, resulting in a productive harvest that provides a stable source of food for children, families, and communities.

Make a one-time donation to help provide life-saving food and care to children suffering from hunger. Your gift will help deliver interventions like nutritional training, agricultural support, clean water, and emergency food aid, such as Plumpy’Nut.

Give monthly to support children suffering from hunger. Your monthly donation will help us provide ongoing assistance in regions where hunger and malnutrition threaten children’s lives, like Niger and West Africa.