Nine-year-old Martha Payne and her supporters have raised over £100,000 which will provide thousands of hungry children with Mary’s Meals for an entire school year.
The incredible support for Martha’s NeverSeconds blog will see over 10,000 children in total receive a daily meal in some of the world’s poorest countries where poverty and hunger prevent them from getting an education.
As a result of donations to Martha’s online giving page, she has raised enough money to build a kitchen shelter and feed an entire school for a year at Lirangwe Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi, as part of Mary’s Meals’ Sponsor a School initiative.
In addition to this, the ongoing donations being received are also allowing Mary’s Meals to provide a daily meal to thousands of other hungry children around the world – and with every £10.70 donated, that number keeps rising.
Commenting on the tremendous achievement, Martha said: “This is totally awesome and will help so many hungry children.
“Mary’s Meals is a very simple charity and it can achieve so much with so little as it costs just 6 pence to provide one meal. That meal can make a big difference. I’ve been told children receiving Mary’s Meals have to walk two hours to get to their school every day – I couldn’t walk that far every day.
“A massive thank you to everyone who is helping to support me and Mary’s Meals.”
Martha celebrated hitting the £100,000 mark by holding a small porridge party with her family and by preparing and tasting likuni phala, the nutritious porridge-like dish which Mary’s Meals feeds to children at its largest project in Malawi in order to attract them to the classroom, where they can gain a basic education.
The family is also planning a visit to Malawi later in the year where they will visit Lirangwe Primary School and put the finishing touches on the sign for the school kitchen that will be built by Mary’s Meals. Martha has also expressed an interest in visiting a class and doing a few lessons alongside pupils receiving Mary’s Meals.
Martha has chosen to name her kitchen in Malawi as ‘Friends of NeverSeconds’ in recognition of the worldwide support which she is receiving.
It costs Mary’s Meals just a global average of £10.70 to feed a hungry child for an entire school year. We provide a daily meal to over 650,000 kids every school day in 16 of the poorest countries, including Malawi, Liberia, Kenya, India and Haiti.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and chief executive of Mary’s Meals, said he was humbled by Martha and her friends.
He said: “This is incredible and I can’t thank Martha and her supporters enough for everything they have done.
“As a result of their amazing beautiful acts of kindness, the lives of thousands of the world’s poorest children will be transformed. Instead of being hungry and working for their next meal, these children receiving Mary’s Meals will be sitting in a classroom with a full stomach, learning how to read and write.
“For every £10.70 donated, we are able to ensure another child will get a good daily meal for a whole school year and a brighter future.”
Raymond Blanc, widely regarded as one of the world’s top chefs, is among those who have thrown their support behind Martha. The French chef, who runs the Michelin starred Le Manoir restaurant in Oxfordshire, joins his famous cooking contemporaries Jamie Oliver and Nick Nairn in being amazed and inspired by the extraordinary efforts of big-hearted Martha and the supporters of her blog.
He paid tribute to her efforts and added: “The real triumph must be to have raised so much money for Mary’s Meals, this charity which provides nutritious meals for seriously deprived areas of the world.”