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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. Andrew Milligan

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.

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.”

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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