Scotland’s Mary’s Meals is appealing for donations to help provide more school meals for children in South Sudan.
According to Unesco statistics, more than 55% of the inhabitants of South Sudan do not have enough to eat and a third of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Ongoing violence that erupted with the 2013 civil war has left 70% of children of primary school age, and especially girls, out of school. Unesco predicts that thousands more are at risk of dropping out.
By providing free school meals, the charity aims to encourage children to return to class. Its mission is to lift children out of the cycle of poverty by ensuring that they receive an education.
Every day, Mary’s Meals already feeds 70,000 children in South Sudan.
Daniel Adams, Executive Director of Mary’s Meals, said, “Our nutritious meals give children in South Sudan the energy to learn, hope for a better future and some respite from the immense hardship of daily life.
“We are determined to reach even more little ones with our life-changing meals. To do this, we need your support.
Mary’s Meals began in a shed in Argyll in 2002, with a program to provide food for two schools in Malawi, feeding 200 children daily meals.
The charity now feeds starving children in 20 countries including Yemen, Malawi, Liberia, Kenya, Zambia, Myanmar, Uganda, South Sudan and Romania.
The average overall cost of Mary’s Meals to feed a child for a school year is £15.90.
At least 93% of donations to Mary’s Meals go directly to charitable activities.
In South Sudan, Mary’s Meals works with local organizations such as Rumbek Diocese and Mary Help Association to provide food to 114 schools in refugee areas including Warrap and Lakes States, serving maize and beans to the students.
Moses, who works for Rumbek Diocese, said: “Many schools have been destroyed by the conflict. I visited new primary schools that were built far from towns, in makeshift sheds and under trees.
Of the children returning to school, Moses said: “They jumped for joy – dancing, singing and shouting. They were so eager to learn, and school attendance increased because of the promise of a good meal.
The Abak and Aping sisters are an example of the successful work of this charity: they enrolled in school last year, attracted by the school feeding program Mary’s Meals. Aping, who is 12 and in second grade, said: “The only food we get in a day is from Mary’s Meals. This is what made us join the school since we have no food at home.
These sisters live with their weak and aging grandmother, who can only provide them with modest food from a small vegetable garden. When the harvest is bigger, they sell their products to buy soap and salt.
To donate to Mary’s Meals South Sudan Appeal, please visit marysmeals.org.uk/south-sudan-appeal or phone 0800 698 1212.