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Horsforth toddlers help feed African schoolchildren for a year
9:50am Saturday 5th October 2013 in Local news
Toddlers from Horsforth and Cookridge have raised enough money to feed an entire school in Africa for a whole year.
Around 60 children—none older than four—took part in sponsored toddles and collected pennies for the charity Mary’s Meals. Incredibly the youngsters have raised enough to provide a daily meal to more than 200 pupils at Kawale Primary School, Malawi, for the entire school year.
Now a plaque is to be put up in their honour.
Mary’s Meals provides a daily nutritious meal to 792,621 children in their place of education – with more than 622,000 of those children in Malawi. For many the food provided will be the only meal of the day.
The toddlers started their fundraising campaign after ex-childminder Janice Lamb saw a documentary about a young girl who had helped the charity through her blog.
Janice said: “I was astounded at how much Mary’s Meals could do with a relatively small amount of money. The toddlers in the groups are very young, but when you can tell them that six pence will pay for a meal, they’re all able to get involved.”
Using her childminding network contacts she mobilised groups across Horsforth and soon she was joined by group leaders in Cookridge. Within a few months they had raised more than £1,500.
Horsforth Children’s Centre allowed use of their facilities to support the walks and, along with Brownberrie Lane Preschool, also displayed collection boxes to help boost the final total.
Janice said: “It costs Mary’s Meals a global average of £10.70 to feed a child for a whole year – in fact, in Malawi the figure is just £7 – so we knew we’d be able to make quite a difference with the money we’d raised.
“However, when I heard we had enough to feed a whole school and that there would be a sign put up in our honour, I was so excited to tell the children.
“If a group of children who aren’t even old enough for school yet can make such a difference, anyone can.”
Daniel Adams, head of fundraising at Mary’s Meals, said: “We are extremely grateful to Horsforth and Cookridge childcarers and toddlers for helping us reach more children with Mary’s Meals.”
He added: “It’s especially heartening to see children so young working towards a better future for their counterparts in Malawi.”
Horsforth childminders have also put together 20 backpacks filled with basic educational items to send to Africa through the Mary’s Meals Backpack Project, to help the children receiving the daily meal make the most of their time at school.
Visit marysmeals.org for further information about the charity.