Cheers to International Day of Friendship! Meet Seven Sets of Companions Making the Best out of Life

World Food Program USA
July 29, 2020

“Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division — such as poverty, violence, and human rights abuses — among many others — that undermine peace, security, development and social harmony among the world’s peoples. To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.” – The United Nations General Assembly, 2011

Today is International Day of Friendship. It’s a day to celebrate the kind of human solidarity that builds bridges, makes peace and helps people flourish.

That kind of solidarity underlies all of our work at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). We work hand-in-hand with local businesses, nonprofits and governments all over the world to feed the most vulnerable people.  In our 50-year history, we’ve come across a lot of inspiring friendships, and we’re honored to support them with our work. Here are seven of our most memorable:

David and Eric

David (left) and Eric (right) have been schoolmates in Uganda since they were little. David wants to be an engineer, and Eric wants to be a preacher in the Catholic Church. The pair play together, learn together and eat together thanks to school meals provided by us and our partnership with the Ugandan Government.

“If I had a superpower, I would make very fast and strong cars,” says David.

Famous Foxtrot

Photo: WFP

Foxtrot plays with a few of the nearly 900,000 people living in a congested refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.

Foxtrot is a little dog with a big job. He’s a one-pup cheer team and mascot in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. He spends his days making friends with Rohingya refugees.

While we’re busy making sure people in the camp get fed, Foxtrot does the important work of entertaining and cheering them on, and helping kids laugh and play (they’re his favorite). You can even follow him on Instagram, where he tells the world the story of the Rohingya.

Reema and Tasheen

Photo: WFP/Mohammed Awadh

We provide daily nutritious snacks to over 650,000 children in Yemen to improve access to education – and friendship.

Six-year-old Reema (left) and eight-year-old Tasheen (right) love their school in Lahj, Yemen. They also get to eat a meal every day thanks to our school feeding program. They’re often seen like this – about to share a secret. The conflict in Yemen is nearly as old as they are, so it’s all they’ve ever known. Growing up together in strife has made their bond especially strong.

Nutrition affects children’s physical health, but also their psychosocial and emotional development: the qualities that help them form the bonds of friendship.

The Dream Team

Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo

From left to right, Anyama, Pio, Willam and Bullen formed a bond while clearing, weeding and planting together.

We make plenty of friends through our Food For Assets programs around the world: They provide lifesaving food in exchange for people’s work on community infrastructure like roads, dams and irrigation systems.

This dream team got to know each other in South Sudan while working together to clear a crop field, weed and plant vegetables, and distribute cash to community members. William, one of our Program Officers, worked with Bullen and Anyama of Action Africa Help to help Pio and his community get it all done.

This is how we get to know our local partners and the people we serve.

Soap Sisters

Photo: WFP/Ala Kheir

Hawa and her friends show off their handmade soaps.

Fourteen years ago, Hawa Adam Al-Nour and her family fled their home in West Darfur State, leaving everything they owned behind in search of safety and food.

Now, with a little help from the same Food for Assets program, Hawa runs a thriving soap business with four new friends in her Darfur refugee camp. This quartet is looking at a bright future.

When refugees are forced from their homes, communities and safety nets, we work hard to help them find the opportunities and community they need to rebuild.

Tsigereda and Hawa

In our line of work, tough circumstances often bring people together. In Ethiopia, Tsigereda (left) and Hawa (right) met in a U.N. World Food Programme-supported HIV/AIDS program that trains participants in financial management. This pair is now part of a village savings and loan association that links their small businesses to local markets and financing.

“The saving association has created a friendly atmosphere and communal life for us,” Tsigereda said.

The Little Factory That Could

A few years ago, the U.N. World Food Programme spotted a unique opportunity in Afghanistan. Friendships on local, national and international levels helped us get an entire mobile food-production factory from Verona, Italy to Jalalabad, Afghanistan. With help from local business people, that little factory was able to locally produce tons of High Energy Biscuits for the country’s school meals program.

We know firsthand what people, organizations, governments and countries can achieve through friendships and trusted partnership. Donate today to help us bolster these relationships and get lifesaving help to our friends around the world.