Mary’s Meals is to benefit from UK government’s Department for International Development match funding programme
Scottish international food charity Mary’s Meals is to receive an extra £5 million in funding from the UK government.
The charity, which feeds more than one million school pupils in 13 countries around the world, is entitled to the cash following an overwhelming response to its latest campaign.
Its Feed Our Future campaign was one of the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) selected campaigns to receive pound for pound match funding of public donations made.
Initially it had hoped to raise £1.5m from the public but generous supporters ended up donating £5m – the maximum amount that could be match funded.
We are so thankful to our quite amazing supporters, and to the UK government for matching those generous donations
The extra cash will be put towards a three-year project to expand and develop the charity’s existing school feeding programmes in Malawi and Zambia, focusing on four districts in Malawi and two in Zambia.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and chief executive of Mary’s Meals, said thousands more children would now be able to be reached but warned the cash wouldn’t mean everyone could be reached.
“We are so thankful to our quite amazing supporters, and to the UK government for matching those generous donations,” he said.
“While we are delighted that this funding boost will allow us to reach children in these particular districts in Malawi and Zambia, we remain painfully aware that many more are still hungry and out of school, not just in Africa, but all over the world.
“In fact, globally, 59 million children are missing out on their education because of poverty. So, more than ever, we remain focused on raising the next £12.20 – which is what it costs on average for us to feed a child for an entire school year – and we look forward to the day when every child in this world of plenty can receive a daily meal in their place of education.”
Mary’s Meals says the need for school feeding in both Malawi and Zambia is huge.
Many families are so poor that often, school only becomes an option for their children when a meal is being provided. In many cases, without the hope of a meal in school, children could be working, begging or even scavenging to survive.
Justine Greening, UK government international development secretary, described the work being done by the charity as “inspirational”.
She said: “Mary’s Meals is an inspirational charity, helping to transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest children.
“Its work shows the importance of Scotland’s role in the UK’s international development effort.
“Working together we are helping to build a safer, healthier, more prosperous world.”
The latest funding news follows an announcement that Mary’s Meals plans to soon begin providing meals for vulnerable children in Lebanon, including many Syrian refugees.