Serving meals makes children attend school and get vital education
Donations to school feeding charity Mary’s Meals this winter will be doubled by a group of generous supporters, up to £1.5 million.
Today (1 November) Mary’s Meals launches its Double The Love campaign, which will run until 31 January 2023.
Thanks to the charity’s low-cost approach, just £15.90 can normally feed a child with Mary’s Meals every school day for a year, but during this time a donation of £15.90 will feed two children.
Mary’s Meals serves nutritious school meals in 20 of the world’s poorest countries and its work has never been more important.
Conflict, food insecurity and the cost of living crisis is having a devastating impact – in East Africa a fourth season of failed rains is causing one of the worst droughts in decades, leaving millions of people on the brink of famine.
The promise of a meal at school attracts hungry children into the classroom where, instead of working or looking for food, they can gain an education and hope for a better future.
The charity currently feeds 2,279,941 children every school day.
For children like Ulemu in Malawi, a daily meal at school has been life changing.
Ulemu is one of Chigodi Primary School’s newest students, but the 15-year-old should be well into his secondary school career.
The teenager missed much of his early education because of hunger. With little food at home and no school feeding programme at his previous school, his attendance and performance suffered. Now he receives Mary’s Meals at his new school.
Ulemu says: “If we had porridge at my old school, I could have been in secondary school right now. I would frequently miss classes because there was no food at home. Even if I could go to school, I could not concentrate because I was hungry.
“I concentrate in class and play with my friends because the porridge keeps me from feeling hungry throughout the day. My academic performance has improved since I joined Chigodi.”
The Scots charity has been serving children in Malawi with a nutritious school meal for 20 years. Chigodi is one of 1,044 schools in the African country where the charity delivers its school feeding programme.
A daily meal at school is helping children like Ulemu – who dreams of becoming a doctor – gain an education and reach their goals.
Daniel Adams, executive director of Mary’s Meals, says: “In a world devastated by conflict, food insecurity and drought, bringing new hope to desperately hungry children with our life-changing school meals has never been more urgent.
“That’s why our Double The Love campaign is so important. This winter donations will go twice as far, allowing us to reach even more children in countries including South Sudan, Yemen and Haiti. Just £15.90 will feed two children for a whole school year – fuelling their learning and hopes for the future.
“We are deeply thankful to everyone who is helping us keep our promise to the more than 2.2 million children who rely on our meals, while allowing us to reach the next hungry child waiting for Mary’s Meals.”