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Sunday, August 7, 2011
AFRICA: KENYA: MARY'S MEALS BRINGS FOOD TO FAMINE CHILDREN
CISA REPORT -Over 6,000 children in drought-stricken East Africa will receive a daily meal starting this week, thanks to a charity organisation founded by a Catholic Aid worker who was recently declared “CNN Hero.”
Magnus MacFarlane Barrow, Chief Executive of Mary’s Meals, told CNA from the charity’s headquarters in Argyll, Scotland that the initiative will focus upon the Turkana area of northern Kenya.
“The situation in east Africa has become increasingly desperate, with failed rains leading to dire food and water shortages. What was already a crisis has become an emergency,” he said. The initiative will focus upon the Turkana area of northern Kenya. It is one of four countries in eastern Africa that have been declared drought areas by the United Nations. The others are Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.
Mary’s Meals will be providing children with one meal daily at school, giving the essential nutrition to enable them attend classes. The charity organisation will continue to provide the meals during the ongoing August school holidays.
The Mary’s Meals assistance will primarily target school children, the high-risk age group for hunger-related diseases. The new program will bring the total number of children that Mary’s Meals reaches in Kenya to more than 24,000.
Inspired by his Catholic faith, Magnus founded Mary’s Meals in 2002 after meeting a 14-year-old Malawian boy whose mother was dying of AIDS.
When Magnus asked the boy what he wanted from life, his reply was: “To have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.”
Today Mary’s Meals works in 16 of the world’s poorest countries, including Sudan, Malawi, Haiti and Liberia, and feeds over 532,000 children.
“We are considering how we can respond to further urgent requests for more help from our friends and partners in Northern Kenya,” said Magnus.
Meanwhile residents of East Pokot benefited from 9 tons of maize brought to the area by a delegation from St Egidio Community in Rome and Nakuru.
East Pokot is 300 kilometres north of Nairobi and is one of the poorest districts in Kenya. 130 000 people live in this area in conditions of dire poverty. Ninety percent of them are illiterate.
Hungry residents gathered around the rural churches of Kositei and Chemsik where the aid was distributed to one thousand families.
The Community of St Egidio has launched an appeal to the Italian population and industries to help step up and accelerate the emergency food aid operations.
Well-wishers can contribute online through www.santegidio.org