Madagascar gets a helping of Mary’s Meals

Mary’s Meals is now feeding an extra 9,231 children after expanding into Madagascar.

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Mary’s Meals is feeding an extra 9,231 hungry schoolchildren after taking its charity work to Madagascar.

The Dalmally-founded charity is now serving bowls of rice with pinto beans, lentils or greens with peanut sauce at 68 schools on the African island.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, who started Mary’s Meals in 2002 after a visit to Malawi, said: ‘I visited Madagascar earlier this year and was lucky enough to meet the incredible community surrounding just one of the new programme schools.

‘Their parents spoke of the daily pain and hardship they face as they struggle to feed their children. They pledged to cook and serve the meals themselves if we could provide the food, saying it would change everything for them.’

Mary’s Meals attract children into the classroom, giving them the energy to gain an education, which the charity hopes will one day be their ladder out of poverty.

The charity feeds more than 1.5 million children in 18 countries every school day. The food is cooked by community volunteers, giving local people ownership of the programme.

The new expansion into schools has been supported by Mary’s Meals’ partner Feedback Madagascar – another Argyll-based charity.

Feedback Madagascar’s managing director Jamie Spencer said: ‘It is fantastic two charities from Argyll are partnering to launch this new project in Madagascar. Many of us take for granted that we will
have three meals a day – with extra snacks when we feel peckish. Children in these areas will usually only eat once a day at most. Providing daily food at school will help the children to perform better in the classroom and feel safe in the knowledge they will receive a nutritious meal every day they  attend.’

Mr MacFarlane-Barrow added: ‘I am so glad and humbled that, thanks to the continued generosity and goodness of our supporters, volunteers and our new partner, we are able to transform the lives of children at this school and many others throughout Madagascar.’

Other countries benefiting from Mary’s Meals include Liberia, Zambia,
Zimbabwe, Haiti, Kenya, India, South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Benin, Lebanon, Syria, Myanmar,Thailand, Ecuador and Romania.

The average cost to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a school year is just £13.90.

To find out more or give support go to marysmeals.org.uk