Wise words from the founder of Mary’s Meals, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow

Read Magnus' latest letter to our wonderful supporters

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Mary's Meals founder and CEO Communications team
Communications team

Back to all stories | Posted on 16 September 21 in NewsUpdate from MagnusBlogChildren's stories

Dear friends,

Through the window of Mshawa Primary School, in the Kasenengwa district of Zambia, the teacher would often see a small boy sitting alone staring at the school. Little Gibson was carefully observing what he would need to do in order to join the other pupils for food and lessons. One day he rose early, borrowed a mug (for his porridge) and some books from his siblings and set off. When the teacher looked up and saw him sitting in class, she asked him what he was doing there and he answered: “I have come to start school.” Startled by a four-year-old bold enough to enrol himself all on his own she could only say yes.

Today Gibson is one of 2,058,099 children globally who eat Mary’s Meals each day in their place of education. Many of them suffer hunger and so it is the food that initially is the most pressing reason to attend. It certainly was for Gibson who tried his best that first morning to concentrate on his lessons but couldn’t help asking the teacher when the porridge would be served.

Along with two million others Gibson now knows the promise of a daily meal will be faithfully kept at the same time each morning. Secure in that knowledge, he is enjoying the lessons that can set him free from poverty.

A recent study on the impact of Mary’s Meals shows that after five years of Mary’s Meals being served in a school in Zambia the number of children reporting they never worried about hunger rose by 45%. The meals we serve each day might seem like a simple small thing to us – but they are certainly not for the hungry child. They change everything.

Mary’s Meals works. We have the evidence. And that can only add to our burning desire to reach the children still waiting. Today there are millions of them who continue to gaze at schools from the outside. In too many of those schools there is no food being served – nothing to draw in the famished child, no incentive for parents who are fully absorbed with trying to keep their children alive. After decades of progress, global hunger is on the rise once again in many of the world’s poorest countries, including those where we work.

Today, on behalf of the two million children already eating Mary’s Meals, I thank you. This is a truly amazing collective achievement made possible only through your gifts of money, time and prayer. Without you, Gibson would still be outside that school.

Let’s go forward together to the next ones still waiting so that as soon as possible they too might look a teacher in the eye and say: ‘I have come to start school.’

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Founder of Mary’s Meals

Read more about Gibson's story here.