Myleene Klass has become an ambassador for Save The Children and No Child Born to Die: A Life Free From Hunger and recently made a trip to Bangladesh to see first hand how malnutrition is killing thousands of children.
The star was close to tears speaking about the profound effect the trip had on her. Seeing children, no older than her own two kids, close to death has made a lasting impression.
“This isn’t just about a kid that’s starving without food,” she told me this week at the campaign launch. “I had children literally climbing up my legs through the dust. One woman got down on her knees and kissed my feet. I burst into tears. It was unreal.
“I was warned it was going to be very hard and I just found it hard with the whole parallel universe kind of thing going on. I’m rocking Hero to sleep at home and she’s got a ‘bad’ cold. But one woman I met was burying her child at exactly the same age. It made me look at my life too.”
And Leenie told me the pain of seeing one particular woman suffering was too much to handle and she wanted to empty her wallet immediately. “I was like, “whatever you want I’m going to give it to you now.” she explained. “But then you realise that’s not going to help. They don’t want your money. They want their children and it’s not going to help.
“In fact I was actually going to endanger that woman by giving her money. Her family and other people in the village would be round there trying to get their hands on it. I would have put her in a lot of danger. I did end up giving her some help and Save The Children managed it for me. She wanted to have another child so I was able to help.”
She also felt overwrought with emotion when another mother approached her with her ill baby. “We made a visit to a slum in Dhaka and there was a mother who had a baby called Rupa and she gave me her baby to hold and I was like, “Ah cute, you’ve just had a baby.” And she replied, “No, my baby is four months old.” I was petrified. The baby was like a pigeon and you knew she wasn’t going to make it. I tried to hold the tears back because I didn’t want the mum to know what I was thinking.”
Myleene, model Erin O’Connor and newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky are now calling for the Prime Minister David Cameron to devote time to the huge problem of malnutrition around the globe.
Myleene continued: “I would love David Cameron to take notice of this campaign. He needs to take notice – David and so do all MPs.
“Is there anything more important than a dying child? If it was our children then there would be nothing else more important. I wouldn’t be worrying about house prices and the rest of it. There’s big worries out there and the Prime Minister needs to have a heart. It’s Bangladesh, I know, but what’s going on is truly horrendous. David Cameron is in a privileged position. 300 children are dying every hour from malnutrition. And that needs to stop.”
Holding back the tears Myleene finished talking to me saying: “I asked this woman in Dhaka what her dream was. And she looked at me like I was mad. She didn’t understand the fact you can have a dream or an aspiration or a future. She was living purely to get through each and every moment.”
*2.6 million malnourished children die every year.
*Over the next two years Save The Children will make sure at least 2 million children get the kind of healthy food they need to grow up strong and healthy.
*During year one of the No Child BORN TO DIE campaign 800,000 were better fed, 8,000 health workers were trained and 500,000 children with malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea were treated.
Further Information at www.savethechildren.org.uk