Am very excited to introduce you to Mary’s Meals – Croatian branch via the lovely Ana who has forwarded me the following text and images. Here at Seba Dizajn we have decided to start some Mary’s Meals fund raising in store. We look forward to sharing our fundraising progress with you.
I am also excited to be launching our ‘Whateva Wednesdays’ a chance to share stories from anywhere and that appeal to me (& hopefully you too). I have a book review lined up for next week and something on route from a friend in France… leave a comment below or send me a message if you are interested in contributing to this new Seba Silver feature.
Mary’s Meals is an international movement that sets up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education. Mary’s Meals is a simple idea that works – by providing a daily meal in a place of education, chronically poor children are attracted to the classroom where they can gain a basic education that provides an escape route from poverty.
The average cost to feed a child for a whole school year is £10.70 / €12.40 / $16.80.
HISTORY OF MARY’S MEALS
During 1992 two brothers, Magnus and Fergus MacFarlane-Barrow from Scotland, watched the TV news from the Bosnian conflict with increasing horror. They were so moved that they decided to organize an appeal for food and blankets.
They quickly gathered a jeep load, joined one of the convoys leaving the UK, and delivered the aid to Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a place of international pilgrimage they had visited with their family years previously. Believing their good deed done, they returned to their home in Argyll expecting to resume their jobs as fish farmers. However they came home to discover the public had carried on donating aid in their absence, filling their parents’ garage with goods.
Magnus decided to give up his job for a year to drive the aid out to Bosnia for as long as the public kept donating. The public did not stop and it soon became necessary to set up a registered charity, Scottish International Relief (SIR). The charity soon expanded and began to work in Romania, building homes for abandoned children and, in Liberia, helping returning refugees by setting up mobile clinics, while continuing to deliver material aid to Croatia and Bosnia, and funding additional projects.
In 2002 SIR was operating a simple famine relief project in Malawi when Magnus met a family that led to a whole new area of work. The mother was dying of AIDS and lying on the floor of her hut surrounded by her six young children.
“To have enough to eat and to go to school one day”
She said that all that was left for her was to pray for her children, that someone might look after them after she had died. She knew that the AIDS epidemic had created 1 million orphans in Malawi alone. When Magnus asked her oldest son what he hoped from in life, his stark reply of – “To have enough to eat and to go to school one day” was not easily forgotten. It prompted the campaign, Mary’s Meals.
The campaign aims to provide chronically hungry children with one meal a day in school. In this way the children are encouraged to gain the education that can lift them out of poverty in later life.
This simple but effective idea has gathered momentum and today provides daily meals for over 600,000 children in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. Mary’s Meals headquarters is still situated in the grounds of Craig Lodge in the Scottish Highlands but support groups are springing up around the world.
Croatian Mary’s Meals
The Croatian branch of Mary’s Meals, Marijini obroci, was founded in July 2009 by three families who felt the need to give back at least a part of the solidarity Croatia had felt in its hardest moments, by helping those who are now in need. In less than three years, with the help of Croatian supporters and volunteers, Marijini obroci have managed to open kitchens in three schools in Malawi, one in Ecuador and one in Benin, with another one being under way. Of course, school kitchens are just the first step. After that, the goal each year is to raise enough money to be able to fund daily school meals for all of the students attending “Croatian” schools. When the kitchens in Malawi were first opened, there were about 2500 students enrolled, however, since the introduction of the school feeding project, the numbers have more than doubled, with 5175 students in the three Malawi schools alone! All owing to the kindness and generosity of the volunteers and supporters of Mary’s Meals and Marijini obroci.
If you want to find out more about Mary’s Meals and Marijini obroci, visit www.marysmeals.org or www.marysmeals.hr