Message from Magnus: Syrian refugee children to receive Mary’s Meals

We are set to launch our first-ever school feeding programme in the Middle East. Here, our founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow explains how we plan to bring a glimmer of hope to children living in Lebanon, allowing them to eat, learn and dream of something better.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Mary's Meals founder and CEO

Back to all stories | Posted on 03 Mar 2016 in Update from Magnus

Like all of us here at Mary’s Meals, I’m sure you feel deep compassion – perhaps even outrage – at the desperate plight of refugees forced to flee from war-torn Syria. In fact, this awful war has contributed to a recent increase in the number of children out of school globally, from 57 to 59 million. Forced to escape the bloodshed and horror in their homeland, millions of Syrian children are now out of school in the places they have sought refuge.

I am pleased to share with you that, thanks to support from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we are planning to soon begin serving Mary’s Meals to a small number of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.

Like all parents, those Syrian mothers and fathers who had to leave their homes want more than anything for their children to be fed and educated, alongside their new Lebanese neighbours, so they can hope for a future beyond this current misery. This nutritious meal, served every day in a Lebanese school, will allow those children to learn – joining more than 1.1 million other children receiving Mary’s Meals, who are now able to dream of something better.

I thank God that in this world where so much is broken and so many children suffer, our Mary’s Meals family continues to grow. So many of you are extending your hands to those little ones through this simple, effective mission of ours.

Together, you smashed a lot of Mary’s Meals’ records last year! I thought I’d seen it all in terms of spectacular acts of kindness, but as 2015 ended, we were simply overwhelmed by your generosity. Each gift was received with heartfelt gratitude, and is now being carefully used to feed more hungry children. Our UK government Aid Match appeal – originally aimed at raising £1.5M – eventually resulted in a staggering £5M being donated from within the UK, while all over the globe many more wonderful acts of charity were carried out in the name of Mary’s Meals.

It’s these many little acts of love that enable children to flourish. I want to end by telling you about one of them – eight year old Bhuni. She lives in a slum in New Dehli, India and starts work at 6am as a ‘rag picker’. Like millions of others, she survives by foraging among rubbish heaps to earn money for food.

Bhuni has begun to leave this work for one hour every day, so she can eat our meal and learn in a makeshift school. She sits with her friends on old cement bags laid on the muddy ground, in a room so small that her teacher can only stand amongst them, as they devour rice and vegetables and learn. And so I want to thank you, on behalf of Bhuni, the hungry Syrian children, and the million others who will eat at school today, only because you shared with them what you have. You’re changing their lives. Really you are. Thank you.

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