The Backpack Project

Many children receiving Mary’s Meals don’t have basic learning tools such as pencils and notepads.

You can support them to get the most out of their lessons by donating a backpack full of the things they need. For many, a Mary’s Meals backpack will be the only gift they’ll have ever had.

We currently only run our backpack project in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK.

What to pack

Open quote mark Can you pass on a message to the people that donated these backpacks? Please say thank you. They have made these children so happy, they’re now proud kids! Close quote mark
Patrick Masiye, Standard 6 teacher, Bangwe CCAP Primary School, Malawi

Bagging support

For more than five years, a Mary’s Meals supporters group in Ireland has been meeting in Letterkenny, County Donegal. The group works hard to raise awareness of our work, as well as fundraising and encouraging others to get involved.

First the group raised enough funds to feed every child in a school in Liberia through our Sponsor a School initiative. Then, they felt they should become involved in The Backpack Project, to help children who were now able to attend school make the most of their time there.

Fr Eamonn Kelly, leader of the Letterkenny group, said: “Between collecting our own bits and pieces and encouraging schools to do the same, we have a steady flow of backpacks to donate all year round. Our group even has a dedicated room where you can find all the items you might need to complete a filled backpack ready to donate.

Bags of love

Kinross High School in Perthshire, Scotland, took spare backpacks from home and appealed to the wider school for donations of items to place inside.

Before long, they had collected 70 filled backpacks along with some extra items such as pens, pencils, and soap, which can be used to top up other donated backpacks to make sure nothing is missing.

“Packing such basic items really brought home to the pupils here how little some of their counterparts in Africa actually have in the way of belongings,” says Gill Wagstaff, pupil support teacher.

“There was a real sense of achievement at being able to arrange something relatively simply that will make such a profound difference to children living in poverty, too. The Backpack Project was a wonderful inclusion in our Youth Achievement Award activities.”

Needing backpacks collected?

If you’d like more information, or have backpacks you’d like us to pick up, please contact us.

What to get involved? Find out what to pack.