Argyll-based charity Mary’s Meals has helped almost 200,000 extra hungry children across the globe in the last year – and has begun working in Zimbabwe for the first time.
Mary’s Meals is now bringing school meals to 1,425,013 children – up almost 14% since last January – in 18 countries.
In the last year, the charity has welcomed 197,363 more children – and 414 new schools, nurseries and education centres – to its school feeding programme.
The promise of a nutritious meal encourages children – who may otherwise be forced to work, beg or scavenge for food – to attend school and gain an education that can provide an escape route from poverty.
The charity’s founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, from Dalmally in Argyll, said: “Every child welcomed into our Mary’s Meals family gives cause for celebration and I am delighted that we are now reaching children in Zimbabwe for the first time.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
“It is incredible to think that more than 1.4 million children in 18 countries now enjoy these meals, served with love, each day at school.
“I am so grateful to everyone who makes this wonderful work possible through generous gifts of money, skills, time and prayer.
“Your kindness is helping children in some of the world’s poorest communities to gain a precious education, which opens the door to the possibility of a brighter future.”
Mary’s Meals recently extended its successful school feeding programme to schools in Zimbabwe.
Once referred to as the ‘breadbasket of Africa’, years of violent upheaval, forced land distribution and drought have had a devastating impact on many farming families, leading to widespread hunger in parts of the country.
With the help of volunteers from the local community, Mary’s Meals is now feeding 18,435 vulnerable children at 40 schools in the impoverished Tsholotsho District.
Mary’s Meals is based in Dalmally and began feeding just 200 children in Malawi in 2002.
Until March 1, public donations to the charity’s Double The Love campaign are being matched by the UK government, up to £2 million, to transform the lives of more hungry children in Zambia.
That means a donation of just £13.90, with UK government matching, will feed two hungry children in school for a whole year.