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Mary’s Meals has expanded its work in Madagascar to reach an additional 9,231 hungry schoolchildren.
The school-feeding charity, which was founded in Argyll, is now serving bowls of rice with pinto beans, lentils, or greens with peanut sauce at 68 schools on the African island.
The meals attract children into the classroom, giving them the energy to gain an education that can, one day, be their ladder out of poverty.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of Mary’s Meals, said: ‘I visited Madagascar earlier this year and I was lucky enough to meet the incredible community surrounding just one of the new programme schools.
‘At the time, their parents spoke of the daily pain and hardship they face as they struggle to feed their children. They pledged to cook and serve the meals themselves if we could provide the food, saying it would change everything for them.’
Mary’s Meals feeds more than 1.5 million children in 18 countries every school day. The food the charity provides is cooked by volunteers from the community, giving local people ownership of the programme.
The new expansion into schools has been supported by Mary’s Meals’ partner, Feedback Madagascar – a charity also based in Argyll.
Managing director of Feedback Madagascar, Jamie Spencer, said: ‘It is fantastic that two charities from Argyll are partnering to launch this new project in Madagascar.
‘Many of us take for granted that we will have three meals a day – with extra snacks when we feel peckish. Children in these areas will usually only eat once a day at most. Providing daily food at school will help the children to perform better in the classroom and feel safe in the knowledge that they will receive a nutritious meal every day they attend.’
MacFarlane-Barrow added: ‘I am so glad and humbled that – thanks to the continued generosity and goodness of our supporters, volunteers and our new partner – we are able to transform the lives of children at this school, and many others throughout Madagascar.’