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A meal for a meal to end hunger

Hunger is the greatest failure of humankind. Every five seconds, hunger claims the life of a child under the age of 10, while 25,000 people die due to starvation every day – according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

UBALDO VALVERDE argues we cannot look away when nutrition is denied to children whose focus should be on education and imagination.

Shocked by these statistics, my wife and I could not remain impassive. As citizens of the world, we are all directly responsible for what happens in it; so if hunger exists, it’s everyone’s responsibility to end it.

We opened El Colmado, an authentic Spanish tapas bar, in October 2017 in the heart of Berlin, Alexanderplatz.

It follows a ‘meal for meal’ business model, donating five meals to children in need for every meal purchased in our restaurant, in collaboration with the NGO Mary’s Meals. We serve authentic Spanish food, including tapas, Ibérico ham, croquetas, and tortilla de patata.

While we pour ourselves into making some of the best tapas in Berlin, this charitable element helps us stand out from the crowd.In just 18 months, El Colmado has donated more than 500,000 meals to children in need, which was enough to feed 1,403 children every day of the school year for two schools in Malawi and Zambia.

Our aim is to feed the largest possible number of children in school, which is why we consider El Colmado a ‘mission-with-a-business’, rather than a ‘business-with-a-mission’, and we encourage other entrepreneurs to start businesses that create a positive impact on the world.

Our restaurant has been sustainable since 2018, employing a team of 15 with plans to expand our meal-for-a-meal business model to Munich and Hamburg in 2020, proving that restaurants can have a direct social impact without sacrificing viability.

We operate El Colmado in our spare time outside of our careers in scientific research and corporate law, and, thanks to technology, we’re able to manage most of our business admin from home. We use SumUp (, a mobile card reader and payment platform, to run reports and track our sales to calculate how many meals we’re due to donate.

We understand that not everyone is able to launch a social enterprise, but we do believe that we’re all able to make a difference. Whether it’s launching fundraising efforts in your community, volunteering your time at a local shelter or charity, committing to donate monthly to organisations like Mary’s Meals, or simply dining at El Colmado and supporting other social-impact led businesses, every effort makes a difference to those affected by hunger.

The opportunity to create a better world without hunger is in our hands – and we’re not going to waste it. We invite you to change the world directly from our kitchen, and join us in putting an end to the crisis. Change is possible, and we all have the power to end this humanitarian crisis, one meal at a time.