Message from Magnus: Syrian refugee children to receive Mary’s Meals

We are set to launch our first-ever school feeding programme in the Middle East. Here, our founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow explains how we plan to bring a glimmer of hope to children's lives in Lebanon, allowing them to eat, learn and dream of something better.

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

Back to all stories | Posted on 02/03/16 in Update from Magnus

I’m sure we all feel deep compassion – perhaps even outrage – at the desperate plight of the refugees forced to flee from war-torn Syria. As always, it is innocent children who suffer the most.

In fact, this war has contributed to a recent increase in the number of children out of school globally, from 57 to 59 million. Forced to escape the bloodshed and horror in their homeland, millions of Syrian children are now out of school in the places in which they have sought refuge. That’s why I am pleased to share with you that we are planning to soon begin serving Mary’s Meals to a small number of Syrian refugee children who have settled in neighbouring Lebanon.

Like parents everywhere, Syrian mothers and fathers want more than anything for their children to be fed and educated, alongside their new Lebanese neighbours, so they can hope for a future beyond this current misery. A nutritious meal, served every day in a Lebanese school, will allow those children to learn – joining more than 1.1 million other children receiving Mary’s Meals around the world, who are now able to dream of something better.

I thank God that in this world where so much is broken and where so many children suffer, that our Mary’s Meals family continues to grow. So many of you are extending your hands to those little ones through this simple, effective mission of ours, and our mission continues to grow in incredible ways.

I thought I’d seen it all in terms of spectacular acts of kindness, but as 2015 ended, we were simply overwhelmed by your generosity. Each gift was received with our heartfelt gratitude and respect, and each is now being carefully used to feed more hungry children.

Our UK government Aid Match appeal resulted in a huge outpouring of support. All over the globe many more wonderful acts of charity were carried out in the name of Mary’s Meals.

It’s these many little acts of love that enable children to dream new dreams. Eight-year-old Bhuni is one of them. She lives in a slum in New Delhi, India and starts work at 6am every day as a ‘rag picker’, one of millions of children who survive by foraging among rubbish heaps to earn money for food.

Bhuni now leaves work for one hour each day, so she can eat Mary’s Meals and study in a makeshift school. She sits with her friends on old cement bags laid on the muddy ground, in a room so small that her teacher can only stand among them, as they devour rice and vegetables and learn.

Our work is growing, but Mary’s Meals continues to do something simple: one school, one child at a time. I thank you, on behalf of Bhuni, the hungry Syrian children, and the million others who will eat at school today, only because you shared with them what you have. You’re changing their lives. Really you are.

 

Caption: Syrian refugee children in a Lebanese school classroom photo by Russell Watkins / CC BY 2.0

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