Mary’s Meals adds more than 100,000 hungry children to feeding programme
Dalmally-based charity Mary’s Meals is now reaching 1,361,586 of the world’s poorest children in 17 countries with life-changing daily meals.
In the past six months, thanks to the continued generosity of supporters from around the world, the school feeding charity has welcomed an additional 104,308 children – in 199 new schools and education centres – to its global feeding programme.
The figure includes vulnerable children in prisons in Madagascar, little ones attending nursery in the deserts of northern Kenya, and pupils at five additional schools in war-torn South Sudan.
Mary’s Meals works with impoverished communities to set up school feeding programmes, enabling children – who may otherwise be forced to work, beg or scavenge for food – to attend school and receive a nutritious meal that helps them concentrate on their studies.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and global chief executive of Mary’s Meals, said: ‘It is wonderful that more than 1.3 million children are now receiving Mary’s Meals every day at school. All over the world we see that people are sharing what they have so that children might eat. I feel humbled each day by people’s goodness – especially by the tens of thousands of unpaid local volunteers who cook and serve these meals.’
For the first time Mary’s Meals has started serving meals in Madagascar, where children as young as eight face malnutrition and appalling conditions in overcrowded prisons. Mary’s Meals has partnered with Grandir Dignement – an organisation that provides education and vocational training – to feed vulnerable children attending classes in four prisons in the Antsiranana and Antananarivo regions.
Since March this year, the number of children receiving Mary’s Meals in South Sudan, Haiti and Kenya has increased following expansions to the charity’s feeding programmes.
Magnus added: ‘To have reached so many more children in six months is astonishing. And these are children living in some of the most difficult situations on earth, situations that might even seem hopeless.
‘But we know from experience that these meals do not only meet the immediate need of the hungry child, they also enable them to grow up, well-nourished and well-educated, to become the young men and women who will lift their communities out of poverty one day. Our vision, that every child in this world receives at least one good meal every day in their place of education, burns more brightly than ever.’
Mary’s Meals began feeding just 200 children in Malawi in 2002. Today, the charity provides life-changing meals to more than 1.3 million children in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.
Research shows that in schools where children receive Mary’s Meals, enrolment increases, attendance improves, drop-out rates fall, and children are happier, healthier and do better in class.
To find out more or to donate, please visit www.marysmeals.org.uk.
How it works:
Mary’s Meals is a simple idea that works. The charity provides one daily meal in a place of learning in order to attract chronically poor children into the classroom, where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.
The Mary’s Meals campaign was born in 2002 when Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow visited Malawi during a famine and met a mother dying from AIDS. When Magnus asked her eldest son, Edward, what his dreams were in life, he replied simply: ‘I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.’
Mary’s Meals feeds 1,361,586 children every school day, across five continents, in 17 countries: Malawi, Liberia, Zambia, Haiti, Kenya, India, South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Benin, Lebanon, Syria, Myanmar, Thailand, Ecuador, Madagascar and Romania.
In Romania, Mary’s Meals works with the Rhema Foundation to serve nutritious meals to young adults in a place of education and residential care. The Rhema Foundation provides all-round care for HIV-positive young people who were abandoned in hospital in Bucharest in the 1990s.
In South Sudan, where years of violent conflict has caused a food crisis affecting more than six million people, Mary’s Meals works closely with its local partner, the Diocese of Rumbek, to deliver life-saving school meals to desperately hungry children.
In Kerala, Mary’s Meals is working with its long-standing partner in India to deliver aid to people affected by the recent, devastating floods. Mary’s Meals launched the Kerala Floods Emergency Appeal following news of the disaster and, as part of an initial response, is providing essential food supplies to 13,000 of the worst affected families.
Earlier this year, Mary’s Meals began feeding a further 6,019 children at 27 schools in Haiti, through a new partnership with Summits Education. The charity has also grown its feeding programme in Kenya and is now serving nutritious daily meals to more than 3,500 additional preschool children at 30 nurseries in the drought-prone Turkana region of the country.
The average global cost to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year is just £13.90.
Independently verified research from Malawi, Liberia and Zambia shows that in schools where children receive Mary’s Meals, hunger is reduced, enrolment increases, attendance improves, drop-out rates fall, absences dwindle, concentration in lessons is heightened, attainment levels increase, parents are less anxious, and children are happier.
Mary’s Meals is committed to spending at least 93 per cent of donations directly on its charitable activities. This is only possible because much of the charity’s work is done by an army of dedicated volunteers – including more than 80,000 in Malawi alone.
Please visit www.marysmeals.org.uk to find out more about the work of Mary’s Meals.