Zayn Malik has written an open letter to the U.K.’s new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, pleading the government to provide free school meals for all children living in poverty.
In his personal letter, penned to Sunak, the global superstar shared his “concern about the struggles children” in England are currently living through, roughly 800,000 children, due to the country’s cost-of-living crisis.
Malik asked for the Prime Minister’s help “to ensure no child living in poverty misses out on a hot meal at school especially since that school meal [may be] the only hot meal they receive all day.” He then called on the government to commit in their budget on November 17th to give all children living in poverty a free school meal.
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Due to the “profoundly serious” difficulties that many families are currently facing, Malik explained in his letter that the children affected by the crisis “are suffering from lack of concentration, some even resorting to stealing food from school canteens because they are so hungry but can’t afford to buy lunch.
“They are also feeling shame,” which the former One Direction member says “is directly impacting their physical and mental health,” something that Malik is familiar with.
“I know what that shame feels like. I have seen it first-hand,” he wrote before explaining that, as a child who grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, he was one of the many children who “relied on free school meals.”
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“I personally experienced the stigma surrounding food insecurity,” he continued. “My hope is that in writing this letter we can all ensure that no child ever has to experience this hunger and stigma again as my experience is not unique; it is a struggle that many children in England are sadly going through right now.”
Malik then urged Sunak to “act in good conscience” so that “children can thrive rather than worrying about where their next meal comes from.”
The “Vibez” singer shared his letter on social media, using his platform to call on the government to support England’s vulnerable children.
“No child should have to suffer the trauma and stigma of hunger & poverty. We want every child to grow up healthy to lead productive lives,” he captioned his post. “I am calling on @10DowningStreet to expand #FreeSchoolMeals to every child in poverty in England.”