About Mary’s Meals

About Mary’s Meals


To not hunger and visit school – things millions of children can only dream of! When 14-year-old Edward from Malawi told this dream to a scottish man in 2002, that marked the birth of Mary’s Meals.

10 years prior Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow and his brother Fergus saw news of the Bosnian War in a pub and they were shocked by the suffering of the humans. They were so moved that they decided to collect blankets and other relief supplies to give them to those in need. Believing their deed was done, they returned from Bosnia to Argyll in Scotland to resume their work as fishers, but the people didn't stop donating!


Magnus decided to take one year off work and founded a charity called Scottish International Relief (SIR). The organization grew and started to build homes for lone children in Romania and helped the refugees returning to Liberia by erecting mobile clinics.


In 2002, the crucial encounter occured: In Malawi, in southern Africa, there was a severe famine and Magnus was asked to aid. Friends showed him the situation of the people in Malawi and brought him to a small mud hut, in which a family was gathered. The mother Emma sat on the ground, surrounded by her six children. She was in the final stages of AIDS and was dying. Emma said she couldn't do anything anymore but pray for her children. She was worried about who would take care of them when she was no more. Magnus turned to her eldest son, Edward, a boy of fourteen years, and asked him: “What are your dreams for the future?” “Having enough to eat and going to school” was the answer. That was all he wanted from life.


Magnus never forgot those words. In the same year SIR started giving a daily warm meal to 200 students from a school in Malawi – the start of Mary’s Meals! As the word of free meals in the school spread, pupil numbers increased, and the accomplishment of the students did too. Thanks to the donations from scotland, more schools could be added, the schools organized the school meals, the mothers cooked the food locally for the children. This simple concept convinced people around the globe. Today, Mary’s Meals feeds more than a million children in twelve different countries:
Chronically undernourished children who constantly had to beg and work to survive can now visit school and have the opportunity to learn something to escape poverty.

Incidentally, Germany was the first country to take up the idea of Mary’s Meals and founded its own association in 2004 to support the organisation. Austria, the USA, Croatia, Italy and the Netherlands followed its example. All countries in which Mary's Meals is established commit to the same principles and visions. In every country the rule counts to not spend more than 7% of the donations on administrative expenses; 93% of the money should go to projects.

No movie tells the story of Mary's Meals better than "Child 31". Definetly view it!