A mother tells how her ‘malnourished’ children have been transformed by Mary’s Meals

Faulkner: “Already, readers have given nearly £14,000 from all corners of the UK.” (Image: Jessica Faulkner )

By serving a daily school meal to more than 2.4 million children every day, Mary’s Meals gives children in some of the world’s poorest countries a chance at an education which can be their ladder out of poverty. 

That simple meal, which costs just 10 pence per serving, attracts children into the classroom, gives them energy to learn and relieves the relentless pressure of hunger. 

At Mary’s Meals, we have been delighted by the generosity of Express readers, who have been responding to our Christmas appeal. 

Already, readers have given nearly £14,000 from all corners of the UK. 

Especially at times like these, when the cost of living crisis is impacting so many of us, we are thankful that so many people have found ways to support desperately hungry children around the world.

Our appeal has focused on stories from Zambia, but Mary’s Meals feeds children in 18 countries around the world. I’d like to tell you about a couple of children I recently met in India. 

On an extremely hot morning in a Delhi slum, I met Ritu, 11, and Vikas, nine, siblings who work as rubbish pickers when they are not in school. 

Their parents are dead and the children live in a tiny shack with their uncle, grandmother and cousins. 

Their work is unhygienic and dangerous – Vikas told me the only things he fears are snakes, which hide in the rubbish. 

He also told me that although the work is hard, he wants to earn his own money so he can feed himself. 

It’s hard to imagine our own children having to take on this level of risk and responsibility and I struggled with my own emotions as I chatted to them. 

But there is hope for these little ones. 

Every day they run towards school in the middle of the slum. 

They know that a nutritious meal awaits them here – one which they don’t have to work for. Here, Ritu and Vikas are able to eat, learn, and dream of a brighter future. 

Thank you to everyone who has already donated. 

It costs just £19.15 to feed a child every school day for a year. And, until 22 January 2024, our Double The Love appeal means all donations are doubled by a group of generous donors, up to £1 million. It’s not too late to change a life this Christmas. 

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