The Bishop of Paisley, John Keenan, travelled to Malawi recently to meet local school children and enjoy a mug of porridge served up by global child hunger charity, Mary’s Meals.
Accompanied by pupils from St Benedict’s High School in the Scottish town of Linwood, Bishop Keenan saw the Mary’s Meals school feeding programme in action in Malawi, where every school day the charity reaches 928,551 children with a meal in a place of education.
He visited Ekwendeni School in Malawi, where he helped volunteers prepare huge pots of likuni phala (porridge) and joined the children for their daily meal. Bishop Keenan was then treated to a performance by the school choir and watched a traditional warrior dance display.
Mary’s Meals works alongside impoverished communities across four continents, setting up community-run school feeding programmes, which encourage children – who may otherwise be forced to work, beg or forage for food – to come to school and receive a nutritious meal.
Speaking from Ekwendeni School, Bishop Keenan said: “It’s a wonderful experience. I’ve known about Mary’s Meals since the very beginning and I’ve been involved with raising money in Scotland through my parish but I never thought I’d see the day that I’d be standing in the middle of a Mary’s Meals project in Malawi enjoying the porridge with the children.”
The porridge, which is made using locally sourced ingredients, is made by more than 80,000 community volunteers in Malawi, filling hungry children’s empty stomachs and giving them the energy to learn, play and thrive.
Mary’s Meals began by feeding just 200 children in Malawi in 2002, but has since grown into a global movement, providing life-changing meals to more than 1.2 million children in 14 of the world’s poorest countries every school day.
Bishop Keenan added: “I personally feel motivated and inspired by Mary’s Meals because it’s so simple. It’s the Gospel in all of its simplicity and all of its immediacy. To give one meal a day in a place of education to children in the developing world and, just by doing that one thing, we can change the world, that’s what grabbed me.
“For the cost of one meal back home in Scotland, we can feed a child for a year in the developing world and I think that’s a wonderful thing to be part of. To be considered part of Mary’s Meals is an honour and a blessing.”
The average global cost to provide a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year is just £13.90/ €15.60/ $19.50.
To find out more visit: www.marysmeals.org