A charity is helping impoverished children in Africa by sending 250,000 educational backpacks to schools. Mary’s Meals is to transport about 6,000 backpacks filled with resources like pens and books to children in Malawi, bringing the total number sent overseas to 250,000.
The charity’s main work is providing school feeding programmes but it is sending the backpacks to ensure children in poverty can make the most of their classes at school.
Tony Begley, education co-ordinator at Mary’s Meals, said: “We’re delighted that our backpack project has reached the quarter-million milestone.
“These backpacks, filled with everyday school supplies, will provide a real lifeline to Malawian children as studies show that receiving an education is the best way for a chronically poor child to escape poverty in later life.”
Mary’s Meals began feeding 200 children in Malawi in 2002 after its Scottish founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow visited the country and was struck by the extreme poverty in which the people were living.
It costs just £6.15 for Mary’s Meals to feed a child for a whole school year in Malawi and they now feed over 581,000 children every day in 16 of the world’s poorest countries, including Kenya, Liberia and Haiti.
A daily meal in school, served by Mary’s Meals volunteers, encourages children to come to class and receive an education.
The backpack project has been supported by hundreds of individuals, schools, churches and other groups as well as high-profile figures such as Prime Minister David Cameron, who donated a batch of Downing Street branded pens.