A Scottish charity has started helping feed children in Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries and one which has been blighted by years of conflict and poverty.
Mary’s Meals, which was set up in an Argyll shed and now feeds hungry schoolchildren in some of the world’s poorest countries, said on Thursday it was now working in the war-torn nation and is supporting thousands of youngsters every day when they go to school.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the charity’s founder, said: “Given that Yemen can be described as the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world, and so many children are suffering, we are delighted to begin serving our daily school meals there – meeting the immediate need of the hungry child and, crucially, at the same time, enabling their education.”
In Yemen, the charity said it was now serving substantial and nutritious pitta bread sandwiches, filled with various ingredients to suit local tastes alongside fruit and vegetables to more than 4,000 children at four schools every school day.
Mary’s Meals, which also works in countries including Malawi, Haiti, Ethiopia, Syria and South Sudan, said it hoped that the promise of a daily meal would attract children to the classroom, where they can receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.
Late last year, the charity announced donations made to the Mary’s Meals would be doubled until January 31 as part of its Double the Love campaign, with up to £1.6m available.
Mr MacFarlane-Barrow said: “Feeding children in Yemen is an important moment in our mission but we are always thinking of the next child waiting for our nutritious meals.”
It is working with Yemen Aid to feed children in the al Mansoora district of Aden – a region the charity said was particularly vulnerable.
Many people in Yemen had to flee their homes in search of safety since the conflict began more than five years ago, and the number of school-age children not in education has doubled and many have to work to survive.