A Scots-headquartered global school meals charity will feed more than 43,000 children in Liberia after raising nearly £6.5 million.
Mary’s Meals said generous supporters raised the funds – which includes £2 million in match funding from the UK Government – between November 1 and January 31.
It said the vital cash boost will reach around 43,000 new children in the poverty-stricken west African nation beginning in October, on top of the existing 157,000 children it already feeds in the country.
Mary’s Meals executive director Daniel Adams said despite the hardships of the pandemic, “it’s clear that people across the UK have responded with overwhelming kindness” to the charity’s Double The Love campaign.
He said: “Our supporters’ generosity will allow Mary’s Meals to access an incredible £2 million funding boost from the UK Government.
“Families in Liberia struggle every day to feed their children, and the impact of Covid-19 has exacerbated already high levels of poverty.
“With schools open again, we are delighted to see children back in the classrooms, learning every day and knowing that they have the certainty of a meal to fuel their learning.”
In Liberia, widespread food insecurity hinders the ability of children to engage with lessons and it struggles with high levels of absenteeism and drop-out rates, particularly among girls, with more than two-thirds not attending school, the charity added.
Magirl, 13, from Gbatala in Liberia, who dreams of becoming a nurse, already gets fed by the charity.
She said: “Before Mary’s Meals came here there was no food for us to eat.
“When Mary’s Meals came we were happy to pay attention to the lesson and listen to the teacher. We used to be hungry and didn’t learn anything in class because of the hunger – now we learn at school.”
Mary’s Meals, registered in Dalmally, Argyll, has been active in Liberia since 2006, and world-wide reaches more than 1.8 million children across 19 countries.
It says with its “low-cost approach” it can feed a child for a whole school year with just £15.90.