Mary’s Meals is now bringing life-changing school meals to 1,425,013 hungry children in 18 countries and has begun feeding in Zimbabwe for the first time! Thanks to the incredible generosity of supporters from the UK and around the world, the number of children receiving Mary’s Meals at school has risen by almost 14% since January 2018. The charity has welcomed 197,363 more children – and 414 new schools, nurseries and education centres – to its school feeding programme.
Mary’s Meals works with local volunteers to provide school meals in some of the world’s poorest communities. The promise of a nutritious meal encourages children – who may otherwise be forced to work, beg or scavenge for food – to come to school and gain an education that can provide an escape route from poverty.
The charity’s founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, said: “Every child welcomed into our Mary’s Meals family gives cause for celebration and I am delighted that we are now reaching children in Zimbabwe for the first time. It is incredible to think that more than 1.4 million children in 18 countries now enjoy these meals, served with love, each day at school.
“I am so grateful to everyone who makes this wonderful work possible through generous gifts of money, skills, time and prayer. Your kindness is helping children in some of the world’s poorest communities to gain a precious education, which opens the door to the possibility of a brighter future.”
Mary’s Meals recently extended its successful school feeding programme to schools in Zimbabwe. Once referred to as the ‘breadbasket of Africa’, years of violent upheaval, forced land distribution and drought have had a devastating impact on many farming families, leading to widespread hunger in parts of the country.
With the help of volunteers from the local community, Mary’s Meals is now feeding 18,435 vulnerable children at 40 schools in the impoverished Tsholotsho District. The mug of vitamin-enriched porridge served each school day helps hungry children like 12-year-old Nomthandazo to make the most of their education.
Nomthandazo said: “Some children don’t come to school because they are working to help their parents. Some are too hungry to learn. Life would not be easy without school and the Mary’s Meals food that we receive there. We get energy after eating and are able to write faster. I like learning new things. I hope to get knowledge so that I can brighten my future. School will help me to get a job.”
Mary’s Meals began feeding just 200 children in Malawi in 2002. Today, the charity provides nutritious meals to more than 1.4 million children from some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.
In recent months, the charity has grown its school feeding programme in other areas of particular need, reaching an additional 27,007 children in Zambia and 5,566 new children in Liberia. Mary’s Meals is also bringing vital school meals to an additional 1,744 children at four schools in the war-torn city of Aleppo in Syria.
Mary’s Meals is a simple idea that works. 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.
Until 1st 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 more 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.