Teachers embark on Notre Dame challenge for Mary’s Meals

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Three Glasgow teachers will pedal 940 miles across France and Italy to raise money for the charity.

23rd July 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Three Glasgow teachers have embarked on a gruelling cycling challenge to raise money for Mary’s Meals.

The teachers, from Notre Dame High School, will cycle 940 miles across France and Italy as they visit the school’s namesake cathedrals in Paris, Nice and Pisa.

They hope to raise £3,000 for the school meals charity, which feeds more than 1.4 million children every school day in 18 countries across the world.

Patrick Haggarty, 45, who teaches technology, is determined to make a success of the challenge.

He said: “We teach pupils who, thankfully, have their basic needs met most of the time. We were inspired by a fellow teacher who volunteered at a Mary’s Meals school in Malawi four years ago. He was astonished that 100 children who may not otherwise have been at school, were sitting in a classroom ready to learn because of the promise of a daily meal.” 

Last year, Patrick raised £7,000 cycling 600 miles from Glasgow to Paris with biology teacher Chris Harte, 36, who is also taking part in this year’s challenge.

The third member of the team is colleague Greig Cavanagh, 29.

Patrick said: “I’m excited to get to the top of the highest climb of 7,100ft. Psychologically, once you’ve achieved that, you know you’ll be able to complete the whole challenge.

“The money we raise will make a lasting difference to the lives of hungry school children in some of the world’s poorest communities. That will keep us motivated throughout, even if we’re a bit saddle-sore.”  

Mary’s Meals feeds 1,425,013 children every school day in 18 countries: Malawi, Liberia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Kenya, India, South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Benin, Lebanon, Syria, Myanmar, Thailand, Ecuador, Madagascar and Romania.

Research has shown that in schools where children receive Mary’s Meals, hunger is reduced, enrolment increases, attendance and attainment improves, and children are happier. 

Frank Nelson, the charity’s head of fundraising, said: “We are so thankful to the teachers of Notre Dame High School. As a result of their efforts, children who would otherwise be working for their next meal can instead be sitting in classrooms with a full stomach, learning how to read and write.” 

Research shows that there is a rise in rates of enrolment, attendance and academic performance in areas where children receive Mary’s Meals.