Mary’s Meals

On Thursday 11th December Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow and Mary's Meals received the inaugural Human Life, Human Rights and Human Dignity Award at the Oireachtas.

The photograph below shows Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow with Marie-Therese Kilmartin (Principal Coláiste Bride, Clondalkin), Dr Marie Griffin (CEIST) and Senator Ronan Mullen (Board of Directors, CEIST).

About Mary’s Meals:

Mary’s Meals is a global movement that sets up school feeding programmes in some of the world’s poorest communities, where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.

It’s a simple idea that works. Mary’s Meals provides one daily meal in a school setting in order to attract chronically hungry children into the classroom, where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.

The Mary’s Meals campaign was born in 2002 when Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow visited Malawi during a famine and met a mother dying from AIDS. When Magnus asked her eldest son Edward what his dreams were in life, he replied simply: "I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day."

That moment was a key part of the inspiration leading to the founding of Mary’s Meals, which began by feeding just 200 children at a Malawian primary school in 2002. Today, the organisation reaches over 920,000 children daily across five continents with a school-based nutritious daily meal.

The average worldwide cost to feed a child for a whole school year is just €14.50. Wherever possible, Mary's Meals uses locally grown food to support the local economy and engages local community volunteers to prepare and serve the meals.

The organisation works hard to keep its running costs low and, thanks to its army of volunteers, ensures that at least 93 cent in every €1 is spent directly on its charitable work.

In recognition of Magnus’s work, CNN named him one of 2010's ‘Top Ten Heroes’. He received an OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours list and has been awarded Honorary Degrees by Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Hull and University of Stirling. He takes a hands-on approach to leading the organisation and spends much of his time speaking about the work of Mary’s Meals all over the world, and visiting the communities who benefit daily from the charity’s school feeding programmes.

Once upon a time, Magnus played shinty for Glenorchy Camanachd Club, was capped four times by Scotland and represented his country at senior International level in Croke Park.

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