Mary’s Meals launches appeal for Kenya’s poorest region

Image 3 nursery school children eating marys meals in turkana, kenya (1)

Turkana: Mary's Meals already feeds nursery-aged children in the area.

Almost 70,000 primary-aged pupils are going hungry in Turkana.

15th January 2020 by Gavin Stuart 1 Comment

Mary’s Meals has launched an urgent appeal to feed chronically hungry children in one of the driest and most impoverished parts of Kenya.

The charity already serves nutritious meals to more than 23,000 children in nurseries in Turkana, but primary-aged pupils have not received meals since a separate school feeding programme stopped operation a year ago.

Charity workers have reported hungry pupils watching children at neighbouring nurseries being fed, while younger children grow up knowing that the daily meal will stop when they move to primary school.

Now Mary’s Meals is appealing for donations so it can start providing life-changing meals to 67,000 children in primary schools in Turkana.

Daniel Adams, the charity’s UK executive director of Mary’s Meals, said: “With 85% of children in Turkana living in poverty, the promise of a meal at school is essential. We have heard heartbreaking reports of children as young as three years old saving their food to take home for hungry siblings.”

School enrolment in Turkana is just 50%, meaning children are often going without food and an education. The county is the poorest in Kenya with a tough arid climate and drought conditions causing widespread food and water shortages that make it difficult for farming families to survive.

Margaret, a single mother of four from the Akatuman settlement in Turkana, lives with the heartbreaking reality that two of her children receive a meal at nursery and the other two go hungry at primary school. She struggles to feed her older children.

“When there’s nothing to eat, they just sleep hungry,” she said. “For my children not at the nursery, I don’t always have money for food.”

Mr Adams added: “People in Turkana say, ‘no smoke, no school’ because a school with no food holds little allure for hungry children and their parents.

“We are ready to serve meals in primary schools, ready to take away the trauma for pupils of seeing others receive food while they go without, and ready to ensure these children gain an education which can be their ladder out of poverty. But we need funds to reach them.”

Donations can be made on the Mary’s Meals website or over the phone on 0800 698 1212.

15th January 2020 by cj

in addition to trying to provide food, surely such charities need to speak out on climate change, which is driving this kind of thing?