Mary’s Meals is a global movement that sets up school feeding programmes in some of the world’s poorest communities, where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.
It’s a simple idea that works. They provide one daily meal in a place of learning in order to attract chronically hungry children into the classroom, where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.
The Mary’s Meals campaign was born in 2002 when Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow visited Malawi during a famine and met a mother dying from AIDs. When Magnus asked her eldest son Edward what his dreams were in life, he replied simply: “I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.”
That moment was a key part of the inspiration leading to the founding of Mary’s Meals, which began by feeding just 200 children at a Malawian primary school in 2002. Today, the charity is reaching more than 1,035,000 children with a nutritious daily meal in places of learning in 12 developing countries.
- The average worldwide cost to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year is just £13.90 (€15.60 / $19.50).
- Mary’s Meals works hard to keep running costs low to ensure that at least 93p of every £1 donated to them is spent directly on their charitable work. This is only possible because most of their work is done by an army of volunteers.
- The school feeding programmes Mary’s Meals sets up are community-run and require absolute dedication from the local volunteers who collect firewood and manage the school kitchen, as well as preparing and serving the daily meal to the children.
- Wherever possible, Mary’s Meals uses locally-grown food to support the local economy, favouring producers who support smallholder farmers.
There are 300 million chronically hungry children in the world. Around 59 million of these children are out of school. The vital work of Mary’s Meals is only just beginning.