Hi, my name’s Zyra, and on the evening of 11th June 2015 I attended a talk where a local volunteer for the charity Mary’s Meals was discussing both the work of the charity and the book released earlier this year written by the charity’s founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, ‘The Shed That Fed A Million Children’. I was so inspired by the talk that I felt I had to do something to contribute towards this magical movement, which is fast becoming a global phenomenon, so I decided to launch a Crowdfunder campaign to attempt to raise enough funds to feed approximately 1000 school children for an entire school year.
The Far-Reaching Effects
Mary’s Meals is about more than just providing a meal a day to a hungry child. Providing the meals through schools means that a child who otherwise might not have attended school now has an incentive to do so, as well as freeing a child who would’ve spent the day working to earn money for food, to now being able to both feed themselves and pursue their education at the same time. Even if a child does not go on to continuous education beyond primary school, even a basic level of schooling is enough to save young girls from adolescent marriage and child-bearing, and young boys from a lifetime of servitude. Young girls leave primary school with a better understanding of health issues, so they are better able to care for their children when they bear them, young boys learn agricultural skills for better farming methods and more successful crop yields, and both boys and girls learn important life skills to help them begin to navigate their way out of poverty. There are those of course who also go on to pursue higher education.
The Practical Stuff
It costs just £12.20 to feed a single child once a day for an entire school year. For every £1 that is donated, a minimumof 93 pence goes directly towards the cause. Wherever possible, ingredients for the meals are sourced locally to support local producers. The meals are prepared and served entirely by local volunteers within the communities the project has reached. From its’ beginnings in 2002, Mary’s Meals has operated with the core philosophy of involving local communities to take ownership of the scheme within their schools, to ensure the project’s success. This philosophy has been borne out by the hard work and sheer dedication of the thousands of local volunteers within communities where Mary’s Meals is operating.
The Strength of A Vision
As of this year, Mary’s Meals reached the landmark goal of feeding 1 million children. Earlier this year, the world-famous Niagara Falls were backlit by huge spotlights flooding its’ mighty waters in the charity’s colour blue, both to welcome the founder on his visit to Canada, and to celebrate this remarkable milestone of 1 million children now being fed daily through Mary’s Meals, a number that continues to grow daily as more and more people fall in love with this cause.
Where You Come In
Past the seeker as he prayed came the beggar, the blind and the destitute. Upon witnessing such sadness he cried, “How can a loving Creator see such suffering and do nothing?” The reply came “I did do something. I created you.” – Rumi
There are many schools across the poorest parts of the world that are waiting for Mary’s Meals to come to them. There are many children waiting for their basic right to food and education to be realised.
Because I believe in the kindness of strangers, the generosity within each of us, and the connection we all share, I believe that together not only will we raise enough to fund one school, but more besides.
I invite you now to join me in contributing to this amazing cause by pledging what you can comfortably manage, in the knowledge that not only will you be feeding a hungry child a staple meal every day for a whole school year, effectively saving them from malnutrition and starvation, but you will also have contributed to their continuing education, so that future generations can nurture the seeds of their hopes and dreams where once they watched them helplessly wither and die, and they can begin to educate themselves out of the legacy of poverty they have inherited.