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Dream of child with dying mother 'to have food and go to school' started Mary's Meals

The founder of the charity is today receiving a human rights award on behalf of the Oireachtas-based Human Dignity Group.

File Photo: Child blogger, Martha Payne, travelled to Malawi to meet the children who benefit from Mary's Meals thanks to the support from her blog.
File Photo: Child blogger, Martha Payne, travelled to Malawi to meet the children who benefit from Mary's Meals thanks to the support from her blog.
Image: Andrew Milligan

MARY’S MEALS PROVIDES more than 920,000 meals to chronically hungry children in the developing world every day.

Later this morning its founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, will receive an award from TDs and Senators.

Mary’s Meals began in Malawi in 2002 when Magnus met a young woman called Emma who was dying from AIDS. She was sitting on the mud floor of her hut surrounded by her children.

When Magnus asked her 14-year-old son what his dreams were in life, his stark reply was: “To have enough food to eat and to go to school one day”. This was a key part of the inspiration that led to the Mary’s Meals campaign.

It began feeding 200 children in one school in Malawi in 2002 and now, twelve years on- it reaches 923,572 children in 13 countries across five continents daily.

The charity gives the meal in a place of learning so the meal attracts children to school and they can concentrate after being fed.

Ceann Comhairle, Seán Barrett, will present Scottish-born Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, with the inaugural Human Life, Human Rights and Human Dignity Award on behalf of the Oireachtas-based Human Dignity Group. Barrett said,

Thanks to this charity and its many volunteers, nearly a million children a day receive a square meal in a school setting.

“You can’t go to school and you certainly can’t do well at school on an empty stomach. This great initiative offers children an escape – or the beginnings of an escape – from extreme poverty.”

Source: Mary's Meals/YouTube

Mary’s Meals keeps its governance and fundraising costs to less than 7 cent out of every €1 donated, and can feed a child for a whole school year for just €14.50.

Read: Living in Colombia: ‘Water is a luxury that only some can afford to pay for’>

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