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Mary’s Meals charity vows ‘our work won’t stop’ during coronavirus pandemic

By Louise Glen

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Children in Turkana, Kenya who normally receive Mary's Meals in the classroom will now receive food at home. Picture: Chris Watt
Children in Turkana, Kenya who normally receive Mary's Meals in the classroom will now receive food at home. Picture: Chris Watt

Scottish charity Mary's Meal has said it is finding new ways to feed hungry children amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity, which provides meals in schools for millions of pupils in some of the poorest countries in the world, is having to find new ways to feed hungry children after school closures meant it was no longer able to provide food.

Mary’s Meals feeds children every school day in 19 countries: Malawi, Liberia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Kenya, India, South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Benin, Lebanon, Syria, Myanmar, Thailand, Ecuador, Madagascar, Romania and Niger.

It has vowed that its work to feed hungry children won’t stop, despite the coronavirus pandemic causing school closures around the world.

A new approach has already been agreed for Turkana in Kenya, meaning that 40,000 children will receive nutritious food at home until it is possible for them to return to the classroom.

Daniel Adams, UK executive director of Mary’s Meals, said: “The children we feed are being temporarily denied their education because of the coronavirus pandemic. We are determined that they will not also be denied their daily serving of Mary’s Meals – sometimes the only food they receive in a day.”

The charity also announced that has started feeding children in a new country – Niger, one of the poorest in Africa. In Niger, more than a third of children drop out of primary school and only 30 per cent of people aged 15 and over can read and write. Many desperate children have to work, beg or steal to get food and, if caught stealing, they risk being sent to prison.

Mr Adams continued: “The children we are feeding in Niger are all in prison but very few of them have been convicted of a crime. The majority are awaiting trial for minor offences like petty theft. Our bowls of rice with vegetable sauce and meat, fish or egg are served as part of education programmes, giving these very vulnerable children both vital nourishment and a chance to learn.

“Sharing our news from Turkana and Niger brings me hope and comfort in these uncertain times and is a wonderful reminder of what we can achieve together. We are so grateful to our amazing supporters for everything that they do to ensure we can keep feeding hungry children. Through this global crisis, our work won’t stop.”

Read about local boy Lucas who gave up his birthday party to help feed children through Mary's Meals.

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