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A girl in a green shirt with a blue cup covering her mouth, she is standing outside a school with children behind her

The time to act is now

The world’s forgotten children are in crisis

Published on

The world is facing a hunger crisis of unprecedented proportions brought about by conflict, climate change and Covid-19. With the cost of living soaring worldwide the situation has become critical.

In East Africa, where we feed little ones in Ethiopia and Kenya, a fourth season of failed rains is causing one of the worst droughts in decades. An estimated 50 million people in 45 countries are now living on the brink of famine.

Every day, we encounter new children who desperately need our life-changing meals. And every day we find new ways of reaching them. But it has never been more difficult to do so – and that is why I write to you today with a deep sense of urgency.

Tanatswa, 12, lives in Mashonaland East Province in Zimbabwe with her parents and four siblings. Earlier this year a tropical storm swept through their village destroying the crops they were relying on for food, causing immense hardship. The increases in the price of essentials such as cooking oil and fuel only worsened the situation. Tanatswa’s mother worried about how the family could possibly survive.

So, you can understand the joy and relief at the news of Mary’s Meals coming to the local school.

“When I told my mother about the feeding programme starting, she was so pleased that she actually screamed!” says Tanatswa, with a big smile. Now the promise of our nutritious bowls of porridge have lessened the burden for the family and things are looking brighter.

But, around the globe, too many families are still worried about how their children will survive the coming months.

We have always served Mary’s Meals in the world’s poorest, and often most difficult, locations because we know that’s where children need us the most. And yet the need is more critical now than it has ever been before.

Some may believe that, in the face of cataclysmic events, chronic hunger and famine are inevitable. But that is simply not true. Even now, there is still enough food in the world but it is not accessible to all. That is something we can all work on together today to alleviate.

For families like Tanatswa’s, hunger is not just a result of poverty, but the cause of it too. But we know that this cycle of poverty can indeed be broken by the simple serving of a daily meal at school where, with a full stomach, children can concentrate on their lessons and work towards an all-important education. All for £15.90 a year.

If you can, I ask that you donate today so that we can keep our promise to the 2,279,941 children who rely on our meals, while striving to reach the next hungry child and the next and the next... there are so many little ones waiting in hope, just like Tanatswa did, for Mary’s Meals.

The world's forgotten children need our help