Mary’s Meals Programmes Officer, Iain McLellan, gives us an update on his recent visit to our projects in Uganda.
I’ve just returned from a visit to Uganda to see the Mary’s Meals programmes in action. In Uganda we work with our partners, the Emmaus Foundation, within three districts of Uganda: Kampala, Gulu and Soroti. Currently we are feeding over 11,000 children every school day within 13 schools located in some of the poorest regions of the country.
In eastern Uganda, where we work in seven schools, I saw how Mary’s Meals is changing the lives of thousands of children by giving them food in a place of education.
The east of Uganda suffers yearly from droughts and flooding. With only one rainy season per year, families struggle to maintain a constant supply of food so the daily meal provided by Mary’s Meals serves as a lifeline for the children and families in the local area.
In Abwanget-Kuju Primary School, the students told me that the school feeding was great because they no longer had to steal food from their neighbours’ gardens to try to stave off hunger. The teachers also told me that the students were now so keen on school that they would stay until the sun had gone down instead of rushing home at the end of their lessons!
The school meals that are provided in the northern regions of Gulu have also been a significant help to the community. The children at the school still suffer from the after effects of war. I saw how parents are rebuilding their lives but are struggling to find ways to rebuild their communities.
The teachers told me that since Mary’s Meals had started working at the school, the children are much more peaceful, are more willing, more open to learning, and much less aggressive. What an impact school meals can have in a region that was war-torn just a few short years ago.