Message from Magnus: thanks to you, hope is winning

Our founder Magnus reflects on how we continue to keep our promise to children in South Sudan.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Founder and Global Chief Executive

Back to all stories | Posted on 31 May 2017 in Update from Magnus

When I hear the latest words from our friends in South Sudan, I feel as if two huge forces – hope and despair – are battling together in the heart of this appalling humanitarian catastrophe. And, because of your kindness, hope is winning.  
Your incredible response to our East Africa Emergency Appeal is not only ensuring we can keep our promise to the 46,000 children already enrolled in our programme across South Sudan and Kenya – it has allowed us to take the important decision to expand to seven new schools in South Sudan’s Lakes state. 

Thanks to your continuing love and generosity, more children in desperate need will have the certainty of a nutritious daily meal in school. The temptation to despair, though, is very real. There are parts of conflict-ravaged South Sudan where one in three children is now acutely malnourished. Every day, exhausted mothers arrive at schools where Mary’s Meals are being served, carrying their vulnerable children and asking us to feed them. 
Moses Kopurot Kenyi, who co-ordinates the work of Mary’s Meals in South Sudan, tells us: “Many are coming to our schools looking so sickly and weak, and a number of children are dying every week while their parents are out searching for food. But I can proudly describe our schools and the Mary’s Meals feeding programme as providing hope for survival.” 

Hope is something Moses’ colleague, Sister Esther, also wants to talk about. She says: “The school gives hope to the children and the teachers, knowing that someone somewhere cares for their lives and progress in education, amid the current dire crisis and starvation in South Sudan. It is very difficult to hide the joy in the faces of these children, especially when they walk into the school kitchen – probably the only place where the hope of getting food exists.” 
Moses, Sister Esther and all who work for these children are people of hope. They would have long given up if they weren’t. But without the precious gift of Mary’s Meals, I’m not sure how it would be possible to keep that hope alive.  

“What would I do without the school feeding programme?” asks Rose, a local volunteer cook. “I have four children of my own attending the school and receiving the meals. I want to dedicate my life to seeing that every child can get the food, because I know they will not get anything at home. 
“The situation is bad and many children appear malnourished and weak, but Mary’s Meals gives me hope to educate and feed my children through this turmoil.” 
Please, please don’t ever underestimate the enormous impact of each of your gifts. Today, 1,230,171 children around the world will eat one of our meals. Each one a result of your kindness. Each one sustaining life, hope and joy. 

Millions are at risk. Help us reach desperately hungry children today.