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Actor Gerard Butler took up a new role during his recent trip to Haiti with school feeding charity Mary’s Meals.
The star travelled to the Caribbean to see the charity’s life-changing work first hand and to meet some of the children who benefit from it. While visiting the École Communautaire Saint Michel de Morne Mouton in Mirebalais, Gerard was invited to direct the school’s nativity play, a position he accepted enthusiastically.
He rolled up his sleeves and got fully involved in all aspects of the production – from making costumes to coaching the young actors in how to project their voices.
Gerard was surprised at how the children were able to create something great from very limited resources.
He said: ‘You get there and there are no costumes, no nothing, so we were really starting from scratch. They surprise you with their ingenuity and how they make the most of what little they have … and suddenly you’re like, “This looks like a proper play!” It was way more than charming, it was incredible.’
Gerard was in Haiti with Mary’s Meals’ founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, and was clearly moved by the poverty he witnessed and the positive impact the charity is having. Mary’s Meals provides daily school meals for children in some of the world’s poorest communities to attract them to school and enable them to learn and thrive.
Gerard added: ‘I’ve been cheered up no end by these beautiful souls who, despite living in a country that has gone through so much hardship, have nothing but love to give. Communities are transformed by what Mary’s Meals does to feed children in a place of education. I’ve seen it in action in Liberia and now in Haiti.’
Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas – three in every four people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day and more than half the population does not have enough to eat. Mary’s Meals works with local communities and dedicated volunteers in Haiti, who prepare huge pots of rice and beans to feed 41,831 hungry children every school day.
Mary’s Meals is a simple idea that works. The promise of a daily meal encourages children – who might otherwise skip lessons to work, beg or scavenge for food – to come to school and gain an education that can provide an escape from poverty.
The charity runs school feeding programmes in 17 countries around the world. Until 1 March 2019, public donations to the charity’s Double The Love campaign are being matched by the UK government, up to £2 million, to transform the lives of hungry children in Zambia. That means a donation of just £13.90, with UK government matching, will feed TWO hungry children in school for a whole year.
For further information about the Double The Love campaign, and to find out how to get involved, please visit www.marysmeals.org.uk
Watch the heartwarming footage of how the Haitian Nativity came together here.