These are the big hearted pupils from a Derry primary school who have created a very special Christmas present for some of the world’s poorest children.
Children and families from St. Anne’s P.S. have filled backpacks with educational items including notebooks, pens and school clothing as part of the Mary’s Meals campaign.
Mary’s Meals sets up and runs school feeding projects in communities where hunger and poverty stop children from gaining an education.
The international charity currently provides a meal every school day for over three quarters of a million children in 16 countries.
The aim of the charity is to address the immediate needs of a hungry child by giving them something to eat, and to enable that child to receive the education which can offer an escape from poverty.
The average global cost to feed a child for a whole school year is just £10.70.
Siobhan Gillen Vice-Principal said:” In St.Anne’s our children feel strongly that all children in the world should have access to a good education.
“Our school community have been amazing. We want to thank all of our children, parents and families for their overwhelming generosity in the Mary’s Meals Backpack project and a big heartfelt thank you to our parents Mrs Harley and Mrs Doherty for their support and hard work in collating the items together.
“All of your kindness will make such a difference to the children and families of the Developing World and your generosity will provide a brighter future.
“We have collected over 160 complete backpacks. These will give the children access to a daily meal in a place of education. This basic education provides an escape route from poverty. Mary’s Meals began in 2002 in Malawi, feeding 200 children. Today, it is feeding over 500,000 children around the world, in countries including Malawi, Liberia and Haiti. Mary’s Meals vision is that every child receives a daily meal in an educational school.
“A simple backpack with educational materials can be a lifeline to these children as studies show that an education is the best way a chronically poor child can escape poverty.”
Daniel Adams, Head of Fundraising at Mary’s Meals said: “Most of the children who benefit from Mary’s Meals and the Backpack Project have suffered war, poverty, famine, or natural disaster.
“They don’t have simple things like pencils and notebooks, or even suitable clothes to wear to school, which means they can miss out on an education.“
Since the project started in 2005, over 370,000 backpacks have been collected and shipped to countries such as Malawi, Liberia and Kenya.
A 14 year old boy was asked what his dreams were in life, his stark reply was: “To have enough food to eat and to go to school one day”. This was a key part of the inspiration that led to the Mary’s Meals campaign.
For further information on Mary’s Meals, please visit www.marysmeals.org.uk