Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the founder and Chief Executive of Mary’s Meals, was recently overjoyed to announce a significant increase in the number of children the charity is managing to reach every day.
In a message to supporters Magnus said: “We are delighted to share some wonderful news with you. Thanks to your support, we are now feeding 734,192 hungry children with Mary’s Meals every school day!
“Each and every one of those children is now receiving a nutritious meal and sitting in classrooms where they can receive an education that can give them a brighter future.”
With each increase in its feeding figure, Mary’s Meals moves one little step closer to realising its vision that every single child in this world of plenty should receive a nutritious daily meal in their place of learning.
This simple meal brings so much hope and, by attracting impoverished children to the classroom where they can receive an all-important education, can offer a very real escape route out of poverty in the long term.
Whilst incredibly happy to announce such a noteworthy feeding figure increase, Magnus also issued a plea for people to continue supporting the work of Mary’s Meals.
Mindful of the fact that 18,000 children die every day as a result of hunger-related causes, Magnus said: “We should be full of joy at what we have achieved in setting some of the world’s poorest children free, but please, let’s not stop now.
“We currently have lists of schools waiting for us to start providing Mary’s Meals in communities where local volunteers are ready to give up their time to cook and serve the meals, if we can raise the funds to provide the food.
“Thank you for the part you play in Mary’s Meals. Please let us keep working together to see our vision realised – that every child receives one good meal every day in their place of education. We should celebrate and be grateful for what was achieved last year, but just think what we can do in 2013!”
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Two thousand Malawian children sang and danced for joy as they welcomed Martha Payne and her family to the school which has benefited from her fundraising efforts.
Martha was greeted to Lirangwe Primary School by rows of excited children who sang songs and called out ‘well done Martha’ as they arrived.
Martha and supporters of her NeverSeconds blog have so far raised over £115,000 for Mary’s Meals and some of that money has been used to build a new kitchen shelter at the school and feed all pupils at the school with a daily meal for a whole school year.
The nine-year-old and her family took turns to put the finishing touches on the kitchen sign by painting the word ‘NeverSeconds’ which was followed by a celebrating involving a school choir, who sang songs they had written about Martha.
Martha has chosen to name her kitchen in Malawi as ‘Friends of NeverSeconds’ in recognition of the worldwide support which she is receiving.
There was much laughter when the choir gave their take of the popular repetitive children’s song ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, instead singing ‘If You Are Happy with Martha, Clap Your Hands’ which followed them moving to verses of ‘If You are Happy with Martha Shake Your Body.’
Martha described the overwhelming experience of the whole day as amazing, and said: “I woke up this morning and was very excited. This is the day I was waiting for.”
During her visit to the primary school, Martha joined a maths class where she participated in lessons.
She also stood in a queue of children who were served a mug of likuni phala, a nutritious type of porridge supplemented with additional vitamins and minerals.
Martha then sat alongside pupils at the school as she tucked into the porridge. Next to her was Gilbert who was one of the pupils that sent Martha a message of heartfelt thanks when her fundraising efforts took off.
Gilbert, 14, is an orphan who has no-one to look after him and he lives on the street, sleeping on benches. Gilbert was motivated to come to school when Mary’s Meals started feeding at Lirangwe Primary School because he would no longer have to spend his days worrying about how he was going to eat.
He said: “I like the porridge because after I eat the porridge I am active and can concentrate in class. It really helps me because it takes me a while to get hungry and worry about food.
“I would like to become the President of my country and look after our people, so there will be no more suffering.”
Top chef Nick Nairn has joined nine-year-old blogger Martha Payne to wish her luck on her travels to Malawi, where she will see the work of her favourite charity Mary’s Meals in action.
Martha and friends of her NeverSeconds blog have so far raised over £114,500 for the charity which will go a long way to helping thousands of the world’s hungriest kids receive a daily meal.
Next month, Martha will travel to Malawi where she will see the kitchen shelter which has been built at Lirangwe School with some of the money raised, and where she will also meet children who will receive a daily meal from Mary’s Meals for a whole school year thanks to support from the blog.
Nick Nairn, who has previously congratulated the nine-year-old on her efforts, cooked up a special porridge breakfast for an excited Martha and wished her well on her travels.
The pair met back in June as part of a group to discuss school meals and food education.
Tucking into bowls of porridge, Nick said: “I’m here to wish Martha every success on her travels to Malawi. She’s achieved an amazing feat – raising huge sums for Mary’s Meals to provide a daily nutritious meal for children in dire need overseas. She’s also done a great job in raising awareness about what’s on offer for school dinners here in Scotland.”
Ongoing donations received through Martha’s online giving page are allowing Mary’s Meals to provide a daily meal to thousands of other hungry children around the world – and with every £10.70 donated, enough to feed a child for a whole school year, that number keeps rising.
In total, thanks to the incredible support for Martha’s NeverSeconds blog, over 10,000 children will receive a daily meal in some of the world’s poorest countries where poverty and hunger prevent them from getting an education.
Commenting on the tremendous achievement, Martha said: ‘I never dreamt we’d achieve so much. I can’t stop thinking about all the children we’re helping. Just 6 pence for Mary’s Meals gives another hungry child a meal.”
Martha and Nick felt it was appropriate to mark the occasion with a porridge breakfast as in Malawi, at Mary’s Meals’ largest project, over half a million children receive a daily nutritious porridge-like dish every school day to attract them to the classroom, where they can gain a basic education.
During her visit to Malawi, Martha hopes to put the finishing touches on the sign for the school kitchen that is being built by Mary’s Meals. She has chosen to name her kitchen in Malawi as ‘Friends of NeverSeconds’ in recognition of the worldwide support which she is receiving.
Mary’s Meals has sent its final shipment of life saving aid to people affected by the food crisis in Somalia. Since our East Africa Emergency Appeal began a year ago, we have provided over 8.4 million meals to those in need.
As the last shipment arrived in Mogadishu and our appeal draws to a close, Mary’s Meals founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow said: “We are extremely grateful that we were able to respond to the crisis when people were in such grave need of help. The generosity shown by our supporters during the appeal has allowed us to carry out this crucial work and for that, I want to give thanks.”
Responding to the desperate needs of people in the region, Mary’s Meals worked with trusted partners, South African based charity Gift of the Givers to provide food aid. Gaining access to Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu, had been difficult due to security concerns. However Gift of the Givers are established in the country and had secured safe entry and exit, allowing the food donated by Mary’s Meals to reach those who needed it most.
In the camps of Mogadishu, where thousands of people had arrived starving and desperate for help, Gift of the Givers cooked and distributed meals of likuni phala porridge, provided by Mary’s Meals.
During the East Africa crisis, Kenya was also badly affected by droughts and food shortages. Mary’s Meals temporarily expanded its already established operations in the country’s north-western Turkana region to feed a further 6,000 nursery children.
Working in Kenya remains a priority for Mary’s Meals where we feed over 20,000 children a daily meal in school.
As well as working in rural regions, we work with children from Kenya’s slums. These children, often homeless and starving, are taken off the dangerous streets and into the safe environment of school where they are fed and gain access to an education that can help them escape the cycle of poverty in the future.
Magnus added: “We have an ongoing commitment to our operations in Kenya beyond those related to the East Africa crisis. We are also feeding children in schools in 16 countries around the world including Haiti, Liberia and India. Families in these countries are facing their very own emergency situations every day and thanks to our wonderful supporters, Mary’s Meals is working hard to give children the chance of a better life.”
Mary’s Meals Programmes Officer, Emma Turner, gives us an update on her recent visit to our projects in Eldoret, Kenya.
Eldoret is an industrial town in Western Kenya which is home to many large slums and thousands of street children.
Children, mainly boys, arrive in Eldoret from vulnerable areas of Kenya, particularly the arid northern areas and refugee camps, in the hope of finding a better life for themselves. The sad reality is that Eldoret has little to offer run-away children but a life on the streets, sniffing glue to dull hunger pains and sorting through rubbish for scrap metal to sell.
Mary’s Meals is working in several large primary schools in and around Eldoret. The head teachers are extremely committed and dedicated to the cause of getting more street children into the classrooms.
One head teacher I met at a Mary’s Meals supported school, Jane Mamalo, told me about a young boy, John, who had recently run away from Dadaab camp – a lawless and dangerous refugee camp near Somalia. He arrived in Eldoret on the back of a truck with nothing to his name.
On his first night he was sleeping on the street in the town centre and was so badly beaten by the police that a passer-by later found him and took him to hospital. A doctor at the hospital contacted Jane and asked if she would be able to take him into her school so the boy could benefit from the school feeding programme there.
When Jane went to meet the boy, he said: “But if I go to school I won’t eat”. Jane was happy to be able to tell him that coming to her school meant the promise of a daily meal for every child. Her belief is ‘to win the mind you must pass through the stomach’.
When I asked if there was room for John, she laughed and said: “The schools in Kenya are never full” – in reference to the law that no child is to be refused enrolment at a government primary school whatever their age or circumstance. John is now in a nearby children’s home and a pupil in grade 5 and is coming to school on a regular basis.
All the schools we are supporting in Eldoret take in large numbers of street children like John. The school feeding is what makes the school a particular haven for these street children – a chance to have a hot meal in a safe and secure environment.
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.
Two Malawian sisters who receive Mary’s Meals are heading to London after being invited to perform with UK band The Noisettes at a pre-Olympics concert.
Madalo, 20, and 16-year-old Grace will take to the ‘Africa Stage’ with the band this Sunday, 22nd July, at the River of Music event at the London Pleasure Gardens.
The girls first caught the attention of The Noisettes when the band saw them performing at Malawi’s “Lake of Stars” festival in 2010. Back then, the girls played with their school group, the Jacaranda Band. Now they’re incredibly excited about the prospect of performing in the UK. “I feel very happy and excited and I get to travel and see new things in the process,” said Madalo.
The sisters attend school at the Jacaranda School for Orphans in Limbe, Malawi, where Mary’s Meals supplies a daily meal of nutritious likuni phala porridge to pupils. Both girls said they wanted to thank staff at the Jacaranda Foundation for aiding them in their achievements.
Grace said: “I am thankful for this opportunity to exhibit our skills and talent. Without Jacaranda, I would not be known. I’m so excited about the performance.”
Madalo also had kind words for Mary’s Meals. She said: “I would like to thank Mary’s Meals for the porridge. It helps us a lot as some of us come from afar and we are needy and hungry so the porridge goes a long way for us.”
Grace and Madalo lost their father 15 years ago and their mother struggled to look after them and their four siblings. The girls were given fully sponsored places at the Jacaranda Foundation where they are gaining an education and developing their talents.
Marie Da Silva, founder of the Jacaranda Foundation, is grateful for Mary’s Meals’ support of the school. Marie told us: “Mary’s Meals has changed our children’s lives. Today we are able to feed 400 orphans. For the children who are HIV positive, the phala [porridge] is life-saving because, for many, this is the one nutritious meal they have each day. We have seen the big difference in their school attendance, performance and, most of all, their health.”
Mary’s Meals now feeds more than 549,000 children in Malawi every day at school, thus attracting children to the classroom, where they receive an education that can – in the future – be their ladder out of poverty.
Mary's Meals' own Fiona, atop An Stuc, stops to pat a mountain rescue huskey.
Mary’s Meals would like to congratulate everyone who took part in the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon on the weekend of July 14th.
A total of 260 brave souls took on what’s billed as the ‘UK’s toughest one day event’ to raise funds for Mary’s Meals and humanitarian charity Mercy Corps.
Running for 12 years, the event has hit an important milestone by raising a total of £5million for various charities since it first began in 2000.
The epic course, based around Scotland’s scenic Loch Tay, started off with a 0.8 mile dawn swim across the loch. That was followed by a 15 mile run/walk across seven Munroes, a 7 mile kayak and finished with a 34 mile cycle.
The athletes at this year’s event were well looked after by representatives from organiser WildFox Events. Competitors crossed the finish line by splitting a melon in two with a cavalry sword and then celebrated by watching a firework show on the loch and dancing reels to a ceilidh band.
The event, sponsored by Artemis, is a fantastic, fun way to fundraise as well as to gain a great sense of achievement.
Mary’s Meals’ own Fiona Gilmour, one of our Programmes Officers, took part in the Quad and said: “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. It was a real thrill to complete the challenge and, knowing that while doing it you’re also raising funds for charity, just gives you a great boost!”
Money raised for Mary’s Meals will help feed over 10,000 children in Malawi for a whole school year.
Every school day Mary’s Meals feed over 650,000 children in 16 countries around the world. It’s a simple idea that works. Children are fed in schools in order to draw them into the classroom and help them gain an education which can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.
It costs Mary’s Meals just £10.70 to feed a child for a whole school year, so the funds raised at the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon will have a real impact. Thanks to all who took part and equally to those who were kind enough to sponsor the competitors.
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.”