An Argyll charity has launched an appeal to help more children in one of the hardest-hit parts of the world.
Mary’s Meals – which has its origins in a shed in Argyll – wants help with providing food in schools in South Sudan.
South Sudan is the country with the world’s highest rate of children out of education.
South Sudan: The facts
Over 70% (2.2 million) of primary school aged children are not in education, with girls more likely to miss school.
More than half (55%) of people have insufficient food intake.
A third (31.3%) of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Mary’s Meals is already feeding around 70,000 hungry children every school day in South Sudan.
Why should we help?
Mary’s Meals provides school meals for children living in some of the world’s poorest countries – including Malawi, Haiti, Ethiopia, Syria and Yemen.
The promise of a daily meal attracts hungry children to the classroom, where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.
In South Sudan, the charity works in partnership with local organisations, Diocese of Rumbek and Mary Help Association.
They serve maize and beans to pupils at 114 schools in regions where thousands of people have fled seeking refuge.
Moses, who works for Diocese of Rumbek, says: “Many schools were destroyed by the conflict.
“I have visited new primary schools that have been built far away from the towns, in make-shift sheds and under trees.
“I was there when we took the food to these communities.
“Words are not enough to describe the happiness of the children.
“They jumped with joy – dancing, singing and shouting. They were so eager to learn and attendance at the schools is rising because of the promise of a good meal.”
Abak and Aping’s story
Sisters Abak and Aping enrolled at school last year when Mary’s Meals set up a school feeding programme.
Aping, 12, says: “The only food we get in a day is from Mary’s Meals. That is what made us join the school since we don’t have food at home.”
The girls live with their grandmother and help tend a very small patch of land growing vegetables.
When they are lucky enough to get a small harvest, they sell what they have to buy soap and salt.
To donate to the Mary’s Meals South Sudan Appeal, please visit marysmeals.org.uk/south-sudan-appeal or phone 0800 698 1212.