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Mary ‘s Meals school feeding programme that reaches some of the world’s poorest countries is now providing daily meals to more than 1.25 million hungry children.
The charity announced this week that it was feeding 1,257,278 youngsters, thanks to the continued generosity of supporters from around the world.
In the first few months of this year, the programme has been feeding an extra 20,822 vulnerable children in Zambia and Ethiopia.
Mary’s Meals has also started feeding 14,606 children at 34 schools in Mambwe in Zambia and 6,216 children at nine schools in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
The charity works alongside poverty-stricken communities across four continents to set up community-run school feeding programmes, encouraging children, who otherwise may be forced to work, beg or forage for food, to come to school and be fed which helps them concentrate on studies.
From feeding just 200 children in Malawi in 2002, Mary’s Meals has grown into a global movement providing life-changing meals to children in 15 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean
every school day.
Mary’s Meals’ founder and chief executive Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow of Craig Lodge catholic retreat at Dalmally said: ‘Today, we share the wonderful news that we are now reaching 1,257,278 children with Mary’s Meals. This beautiful work of ours is only possible thanks to the love and dedication of our supporters and volunteers around the world who give their time, money, skills and prayer to help children find hope in the classroom.
‘With 61 million children still out of school and many more too hungry to concentrate on their lessons, our work is only just beginning. We are determined to keep our promise of a nutritious daily meal in a place of education to those children already benefiting from our school feeding programme, while – as funds allow – reaching out to the next
hungry child waiting for Mary’s Meals. Together, our journey continues – one step at a time, one meal at a time, one child at a time.’
Mary’s Meals is owned and run by local communities where it works and is run by thousands of volunteers, including more than 80,000 in Malawi alone who give up their time to cook and serve food for their children.
Robert Zulu is a volunteer cook at Uyoba Primary School, one of latest schools to sign up. He said: ‘I come and cook to help the school because I am a parent and my children will start school next year. The children are always full, they think the porridge is tasty. The children come to school
eagerly with their cups in their hands. School is important because when they are educated they will have knowledge and will become better in the future.”
Research shows that in schools where Mary’s Meals is provided, enrolment increases, attendance improves, drop-out rates fall and children are happier, get better results and find it easier to concentrate in class.
To find out more or to donate, go to marysmeals.org.uk