Schools are a gateway to success in Syria
Young Amjad has bright plans for his future but it’s the daily sandwiches that fill his dreams.
“I often hear my parents talking about how this meal helps them save money” says nine-year-old Amjad who receives Mary’s Meals at his school in Syria.
Amjad is top of his class and has a thirst for knowledge that is matched only by his hunger for the famous Mary’s Meals cheese sandwiches at his school, which are a firm favourite among his classmates.
He says: “My friends and I love the meals a lot, and we know having a healthy meal makes us stronger every day. We get especially excited about some of them, like thyme and cheese sandwiches. We also really enjoy bananas so much.”
A decade of war in Syria means people are facing unprecedented levels of food insecurity. Fighting has left an estimated 6.7 million people internally displaced. Rising food prices are adding to the pressure and more than a quarter of children under five are suffering from chronic malnutrition.
The opportunity for children to learn and develop skills to support themselves in the future is essential for the growth of any nation. In Syria more than half a million children are unable to attend school. The food we provide acts as a vital incentive for children who might otherwise not be encouraged to attend school and secure an education.
Children like Amjad remind us that the simple act of learning gives him a sense of stability amid the chaos of war.
He says: “Life would be boring without school, I wouldn’t have the chance to play and study with my friends, plus I get the chance to eat. “I really hope to stay first in my class and become a doctor in the future, to help people.”
The Mary’s Meals school feeding programme in Syria is delivered in close partnership with local organisation Dorcas. Together, we provide school meals for more than 4,000 children in 12 schools and one community centre in Aleppo.