Mary’s Meals reaches milestone number of children

Fri, March 26th, 2021

The charity is now feeding more than 1.8 million children every school day

Mary’s Meals is now providing life-changing meals to more than 1.8 million children every school day through its global school feeding programme, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The charity, which was founded in a small shed in Argyll, Scotland, began by providing meals to 200 children in Malawi in 2002. Today, it is feeding 1,838,859 children in 19 countries across the world – including Zambia, Ethiopia and Madagascar.

Not only has Mary’s Meals kept its promise to all the children already receiving its nutritious meals despite Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, it has also welcomed 171,792 new children since the beginning of 2020.

Over the past year the charity has expanded to reach more than 50,000 additional children in Zambia. It has also added more than 6,900 vulnerable children to its programme in Turkana (northern Kenya) and doubled the number of children receiving Mary’s Meals in Madagascar. Additionally, Mary’s Meals launched new partnership programmes in Niger, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Mary’s Meals sets up school feeding programmes in some of the world’s poorest countries, working alongside local communities and supported by an army of volunteers worldwide (including more than 80,000 in Malawi alone). Today, 59 million children miss school because of poverty – instead of sitting in a classroom, they are working in fields, begging on street corners, or scavenging among the garbage just to survive.

Millions more attend school so hungry that they are not able to concentrate and learn. Mary’s Meals attracts children into the classroom with the certainty of a daily meal, where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.

When Covid-19 hit in early 2020 and schools began to close around the world, the charity made huge efforts to adapt its school feeding model, to ensure that hungry children did not go without. Mary’s Meals started distributing food in communities for the children who rely on its daily meals to eat at home. Some schools have since re-opened in the countries where Mary’s Meals works and the charity is now safely reaching 1.8 million children every school day, whether at school or at home.

Daniel Adams, executive director of Mary’s Meals, said: “The expansion of our programmes, especially during a year of considerable difficulties for us all, are a real testament to the determination and dedication of our teams, volunteers, partners and supporters, who keep striving to provide hungry children with a daily meal in their place of education, whether that’s at school or at home.

“This year continues to bring its own challenges, including the ongoing uncertainty created by Covid-19 in the countries in which we work and the brutal conflict in Ethiopia, which has driven many people from their homes and has drastically increased hunger levels. There are so many children still waiting for Mary’s Meals around the world but we are confident in the innate goodness of all those who are part of this movement and whose efforts bring us closer to a day when all children have enough to eat and can go to school.”

With the charity’s low-cost approach, a donation of just £15.90 will feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year.

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