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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity provides bags of support to impoverished kids

This news post is over 6 years old

Backpacks are filled with educational and hygiene items and given to children in Malawi

Mary’s Meals supporters have gifted an incredible 500,000 school bags to impoverished children through The Backpack Project.

The Scottish-based school-feeding charity began transporting lorry-loads of used school bags in 2005.

Since then, the project continues to capture the hearts and imaginations of children and parents from all over the UK, as well as support from churches, schools, clubs, workplaces and other organisations.

The backpacks, which are filled with educational and hygiene items, are given to children in schools in Malawi where Mary’s Meals are provided.

The 500,000th backpack was handed out during a visit to Junior Primary schools Chigubudu and Ngabu, in the south of Malawi.

Delighted Lagia Navala, 13, a pupil at Ngabu Primary School, said: “I’m so happy because I have received a backpack. Inside, I found a dress, pens and a hardcover book. I will use the bag every day to carry pens, and books when I am coming to school.”

Rex Bwemba, head teacher of Ngabu Primary School, added: “The learners are so happy today after receiving these gifts. They will use these items every day and they will encourage them to come to school, this is a great day for our school.”

The Backpack Project is particularly well supported by young people as part of school recycling projects which invite them to bring in their old schoolbags at the end of the final term each year.

Mary’s Meals education officer Joe Black said: “Half a million backpacks! It is amazing to think of the joy that has been brought to so many children over the years; children who are, thanks to our wonderful supporters, in school eating Mary’s Meals, learning and looking with hope towards a brighter future."

Mary’s Meals currently provides life-changing meals to 1,230,171 children in 15 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Where Mary’s Meals is provided, there is a rise in rates of enrolment, attendance and academic performance.

The average global cost to provide a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year is just £13.90 and as a low-cost charity at least 93p from every £1 donated to Mary’s Meals is spent on its charitable work.