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Mary’s Meals: a charity after my own heart

By Nina Steele 

It is not often that a charity manages to touch my heart in the way that Mary’s meals has done. It was set up in 2002 with the sole aim of providing children in poor countries, one meal every school day, with amazing results. By focusing on the poorest countries in the World, such as Malawi, where the charity provides meals for over 700,000 school children, it is helping fight hunger, along with being an incentive for children to attend school.

As someone who feels passionate about the global fight to end poverty, I was particularly touched by the fact that the food that the children eat is sourced locally, thus creating jobs. Being originally from the Ivory Coast (West Africa), I have never believed in aid as the best way to end poverty, and most Africans I speak to, agree. Yes the motives behind aid are noble, unfortunately, most of the aid end up in the hands of corrupt dictators and their cronies, while the people continue to suffer.

The only way to end poverty, is to empower the poor by helping them earn their own living. Trade is the only viable, long term way to end poverty, and Mary’s meals understands this simple truth.

I wrote not too long ago about how those who are childless not by choice can still be involved with children if they wanted to, and charities such as Mary’s meals are an example of what that involvement could be. Many children across the globe need the support of adults like us to make it through life, and most of us in the West are able to help.

I do understand that for some childless people, the pain of childlessness is still raw, and as a result, they may find getting involved with other people’s children too difficult to bear. However, why not turn your obvious love for children into something positive? If you are unable to have children of your own, no amount of self-pity is going to change that. You might as well make the most of whatever time you have got left on this earth, by doing something meaningful.

As childless people, our legacy will be determined mainly by what we contribute to society. Imagine the thought of being part of a movement that not only contributes to more children being educated, but also prevents them from dying of hunger. If ever there was an incentive for anyone to give to charity, the work that Mary’s meals does would be one.

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