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Mary’s Meals seeking alternate methods of feeding children as schools shut during pandemic

Mary’s Meals has stated its mission in feeding hungry children won’t stop, despite the coronavirus pandemic closing schools around the world.

The charity, which feeds children in some of the world’s poorest countries, is currently in discussion with communities and governments in its beneficiary countries to identify safe ways to reach hungry children during the outbreak.

A new approach has been agreed for Turkana, Kenya, meaning the thousands of children will continue to receive their daily meals at home rather than in school, until such times where it is appropriate for them to return to the classroom.

Determination

Daniel Adams, UK executive director for Mary’s Meals, said: “The children we feed are being temporarily denied their education because of the coronavirus pandemic. We are determined that they will not also be denied their daily serving of Mary’s Meals—sometimes the only food they receive in a day.”

It comes as the charity has announced it is now feeding imprisoned children in Niger, an impoverished African country.

More than a third of children (36%) drop out of primary school and only 30% of people aged 15 and over can read and write.

Many desperate children are forced to abandon their education to work, beg or steal. If they are caught stealing, they face lengthy prison sentences.

Poverty

Mr Adams said: “The children we are feeding in Niger are all in prison but very few of them have been convicted of a crime. The majority are awaiting trial for minor offences like petty theft.

“Our bowls of rice with vegetable sauce and meat, fish or egg are served as part of education programmes, giving these very vulnerable children both vital nourishment and a chance to learn.

“Sharing our news from Turkana and Niger brings me hope and comfort in these uncertain times and is a wonderful reminder of what we can achieve together.

“We are so grateful to our amazing supporters for everything that they do to ensure we can keep feeding hungry children. Through this global crisis, our work won’t stop.”

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