Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow was born in Aberdeen Scotland in 1968. He began his career as a fish farmer, but it was a scene in the conflict in the former Czechoslovakia that changed his life. He and his brother collected food and other relief supplies and joined a convoy traveling to Bosnia.
When they returned home, they discovered that the donations kept coming while they were away. Magnus took a year’s leave of absence from his job to continue to collect war relief supplies and deliver them to the war zone.
Eventually, Magnus quit his job and devoted full time to the delivery of supplies to those whose lives were upended by the war. He wanted to extend the outreach of his efforts so he traveled to Africa. It was a visit to Malawi that gave him inspiration for his next venture. He met a woman dying of AIDS. She had 6 children, and her dying hope was for someone to care for them.
Magnus realized that one thing he could do was provide meals for children who were going hungry. Little did he know that hunger was also a key to learning.
He created an organization called Mary’s Meals to provide food for children who came to school hungry. The results were more than he imagined. School enrollment and attendance increased dramatically as did academic performance.
Mary’s Meals is funded through donations worldwide. One child can be fed for approximately $16/year. Magnus’ salary is less than $20,000 a year. What began in Africa has now spread worldwide where children lack the food they need to be successful learners.
Mary’s Meals provides kitchen supplies, food, and training of volunteers to prepare meals. It buys locally sourced food as a way to encourage sustainable economies.
Since its beginning in 2002, Mary’s Meals has provided daily meals to more than 2,000,000 children. In addition to food, Mary’s Meals also provides hope to areas of the world where hope is in short supply.
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“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela