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Helping the world’s poorest children


McLaughlin & Harvey has donated school bags and educational items to help some of the world’s poorest children, as part of a Mary’s Meals campaign.

The Backpack Project appeals to individuals, schools, clubs and other groups to donate backpacks filled with materials such as notebooks, pens, and school clothing, to send to children receiving Mary’s Meals in Malawi.

Mary’s Meals sets up and runs school feeding programmes in communities where hunger and poverty stop children from gaining an education. The Scottish-based charity currently provides a meal every school day for 1,187,104 children in 12 countries.

The daily meal provided by Mary’s Meals offers a powerful incentive for hungry children to attend school, while the gift of a backpack filled with educational and hygiene items gives pupils the tools they need to come to school and learn.

Volunteers came together at the charity’s Glasgow warehouse this week to load a container with more than 8,000 generously donated backpacks, which will be distributed to children who receive Mary’s Meals early next year.

Catriona Watson, Communications Coordinator at McLaughlin & Harvey, said: “We often visit schools and nurseries to teach the children about safety and we realised that many of the stationery items we give out during these visits would also be useful for children who receive Mary’s Meals in Malawi. It’s wonderful to know that the boxes of stationery items and bags we donated are now making their way to Malawi to help children living in poverty to make the most of their time in school and work towards a better future.”

In 2016 alone, Mary’s Meals has sent more than 45,000 filled backpacks to Malawi – all donated by supporters across the UK and Ireland – to help children to make the most of their time in school.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and chief executive of Mary’s Meals, said: “All of the children who benefit from Mary’s Meals and The Backpack Project have suffered poverty, war, famine, or natural disaster. They often 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. A simple backpack filled with basic educational items, together with Mary’s Meals, can help solve this problem, and allow these children to make the most of their education, which provides an escape route from poverty.”

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