People's Postcode Lottery players are helping Mary's Meals transform lives in Malawi, with £225,000 of the charity's £350,000 total funding being used to provide daily meals to children in ten schools there.
Today, hunger remains the number one risk to worldwide health. Mary's Meals employs a simple idea that works, and this generous sum, awarded by players in November 2015, is allowing more than 24,600 children – and their communities – to experience the many benefits of school feeding.
By providing a meal to each child in their place of education, Mary's Meals enables chronically hungry children to come to school – often for the first time – where they will learn skills that can help them escape poverty in the future.
Children who might otherwise go through a whole day without food are served a cup of vitamin-enriched porridge during their school day, allowing them to concentrate, making them happier and improving their health and well-being.
A good meal in school each day offers both sustenance and structure to vulnerable children. In schools where children receive Mary's Meals, fewer learners drop out; meaning children are more likely to complete primary school. In Malawi, it is especially common for girls to drop out, but Mary's Meals is helping more children to stay in school and progress between grades.
Mary's Meals involves whole communities. Volunteers – who are often family members of the pupils – take turns to prepare and serve the daily meals to children in their local schools. By giving each community responsibility for its own school feeding programme, Mary's Meals not only enables mothers to feed their children, but also allows them to see the pupils thriving in a school environment.
The generation of children who are receiving Mary's Meals now will be the ones to effect change in their own communities and help end Malawi's reliance on aid. One child fortunate to receive funding is 12-year-old Brown, who lives with his aunt and attends Chigmula Primary School – one of the 10 schools receiving support from players of People's Postcode Lottery.
Brown said, "My aunt works very hard to take care of us – she encourages us to attend school, where we receive Mary's Meals porridge, and tells us to be educated so we can have good futures. I'd like to be a doctor so I can make my aunt proud. I have her support and Mary's Meals', so I am hopeful that I may be able to achieve that dream."
A new film, Generation Hope, introducing a group of learners whose lives are already being transformed by Mary's Meals, is out now.