Match funding from UK government goes a long way
Global school feeding charity Mary’s Meals will reach more than 43,000 hungry children in Liberia with life-changing meals every school day thanks to public donations to its Double The Love campaign, to be matched by the UK government.
A total of £6,493,623, including £2million of match funding from the UK government, was raised by Mary’s Meals’ generous supporters during the campaign, which ran from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021.
The charity already serves its meals to more than 157,000 children in Liberia and this new project will begin in October, 2021. Funds raised from Double The Love will enable the charity to reach children in Bong County where more than 70 per cent of people live in poverty. The food provided by Mary’s Meals is prepared by local communities – this attracts children into the classroom and gives them the energy to learn.
In addition, funds raised above the match funding total for the campaign are already helping Mary’s Meals to reach hungry children in the other 18 countries in which it works, such as Malawi, Madagascar and Haiti.
Daniel Adams, executive director of Mary’s Meals, said: “Despite the hardships for us all during this past year, it’s clear that people across the UK have responded with overwhelming kindness to our match-funded Double The Love campaign, which will help thousands of children in Liberia to receive our daily meals at school. Our supporters’ generosity will allow Mary’s Meals to access an incredible £2 million funding boost from the UK government.
“Families in Liberia struggle every day to feed their children, and the impact of Covid-19 has exacerbated already high levels of poverty. With schools open again, we are delighted to see children back in the classrooms, learning every day and knowing that they have the certainty of a meal to fuel their learning. This new funding will bring a renewed sense of hope to those Liberian communities who are waiting for Mary’s Meals, and who share our belief that a daily meal at school not only fills an empty stomach but provides the path to a brighter and more prosperous future.”
In Liberia, there is widespread food insecurity and educational outcomes are also extremely poor, especially for girls. Hunger hinders the ability of children to participate fully in lessons and often results in absenteeism and high drop-out rates, with 70 per cent of girls not attending school.
Magirl, 13, from Gbatala in Liberia already benefits from Mary’s Meals and wants to become a nurse when she grows up. She says: “Before Mary’s Meals came here there was no food for us to eat. When Mary’s Meals came we were happy to pay attention to the lesson and listen to the teacher. We used to be hungry and didn’t learn anything in class because of the hunger – now we learn at school.”