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Scottish-based Mary’s Meals tackles hunger in war-torn Yemen

21 January 2022

Mary’s Meals

Children in Yemen receive a daily meal in school from Mary’s Meals

Children in Yemen receive a daily meal in school from Mary’s Meals

THE Scottish-based charity Mary’s Meals, which feeds more than two million children every schoolday in 20 countries, has started working in Yemen, where one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises continues to unfold.

A civil war that began in 2015 has forced millions of people to flee their homes, and caused high levels of poverty and food insecurity. About 21 million people — roughly 70 per cent of the population — need humanitarian assistance. This includes more than 11 million children. The number of school-age children not in education has doubled during the fighting, and many have instead to work to survive.

Now, Mary’s Meals is providing a daily school meal for up to 4000 Yemeni children. Its experience in some of the world’s poorest countries, such as Malawi, Haiti, Ethiopia, Syria, and South Sudan, shows that the promise of a daily meal attracts hungry children to the classroom to receive an education.

The charity’s founder, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, said: “Mary’s Meals always has a desire to support those in the greatest need. Given that Yemen can be described as the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world, and so many children are suffering, we are delighted to begin serving our daily school meals there — meeting the immediate need of the hungry child, and, crucially, at the same time, enabling their education.”

Children in schools in the Al Mansoura district of Aden, in the south-west of the country, will receive pitta-bread sandwiches filled with various ingredients to suit local tastes, alongside fruit and vegetables. The district is particularly vulnerable, as it is home to many internally displaced people and other marginalised populations, who all experience high levels of hunger.

Mary’s Meals is currently running a matched-funding campaign, Double the Love. Donations made until the end of January will be doubled by a group of supporters: up to £1.6 million is available.

“Feeding children in Yemen is an important moment in our mission but we are always thinking of the next child waiting for our nutritious meals,” Mr MacFarlane-Barrow said. “That’s why I’m so pleased that donations made to Mary’s Meals this winter are being doubled by a group of generous supporters — meaning we can reach even more hungry children around the world with a life-changing meal at school.”


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