Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
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Helena Shilomboleni

Art Simon Fellow Sees the Power of Bread from the Inside

December 2009

Every year, Bread for the World is blessed to work with remarkable young adults with promising futures in advancing social justice. One such opportunity is the Art Simon Fellowship, which provides a one-year paid position to join Bread’s legislative strategy team.

For Helena Shilomboleni, this year’s Art Simon Fellow in government relations, Bread for the World has been so much more than a workplace.

“Playing a role in this critical movement is such a reward,” she says. “In attending to hunger issues, we not only ensure that all have enough to eat, we also address some of the most important roots of civil unrest. Most importantly, we return the basic dignity that every parent deserves: the ability to feed their children.”

Originally from Namibia, Shilomboleni studied at Maine’s College of the Atlantic where she earned her degree in human ecology, focusing on international relations and social justice. Since September, she has been immersed in her work with Bread for the World. Her fellowship provides her with the opportunity to research international issues, prepare position papers, and develop working relationships with congressional staffers.

From her vantage point inside a grassroots advocacy group working to advance legislation, Shilomboleni says she has seen just how powerful Bread’s model can be.

“The two [foreign aid reform] bills before Congress are making progress because Bread for the World members made the Offering of Letters move forward,” she says. “Writing a letter to our elected representatives may seem like a simple action. But thousands of letters joined together have made a huge impact on government policies.”

Shilomboleni’s experiences with Bread for the World as an Art Simon fellow will be a part of her forever. “There are over a billion hungry people in the world,” Shilomboleni says. “In an age of plenty, this is a disgraceful human failure.”

When her fellowship ends, Shilomboleni plans to attend graduate school, to enable her to continue working in public policy on issues relating to hunger and poverty. After that, she’ll return to Namibia to work.

Shilomboleni’s important contribution to Bread—and the contributions of all our young interns and fellows—is possible because Bread for the World members help equip the next generation of hunger leaders to create real hope and opportunities for hungry people.

We are deeply grateful for the chance to benefit from Shilomboleni’s world experience and her thirst to learn the legislative environment.

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