Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow was enjoying a pint at his local pub in the Scottish Highlands when he got an idea that would change his life — and the lives of thousands of others.
Argyll, Scotland (CNN) — Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow was enjoying a pint at his local pub in the Scottish Highlands when he got an idea that would change his life — and the lives of thousands of others.
It was 1992, and MacFarlane-Barrow and his brother Fergus had just seen a news report about refugee camps in Bosnia. The images of people suffering in the war-torn country shocked the two salmon farmers, who’d visited there as teenagers and remembered the warmth of the Bosnian people.
“We began saying ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just do one small thing to help?’ ” MacFarlane-Barrow says.
After talking it over, the two men took a week off work and collected food, clothing, medicine and blankets. They loaded everything into an old Land Rover, drove to Bosnia to deliver it and returned to Scotland.
“I came back here thinking that I did my one good deed and it would be back to work, but it [didn't work] out like that, ” he says.
When they arrived home, the brothers found an avalanche of goods that people had continued to donate while they were away.
“I was touched by the overwhelming generosity of others,” MacFarlane-Barrow remembers. “I saw all of those donations in our family home and thought, ‘Wow, people really are good,’ and it inspired me to be good too.”
After much thought and prayer, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow quit his job, sold his home and dedicated himself to helping people in need.
He returned to Bosnia with aid 22 more times during the Bosnian War, and over the next 18 years his work expanded and evolved. Today, his program — Mary’s Meals, named after the Virgin Mary — provides free daily meals to more than 400,000 children around the world.
Wikipedia tells us this:-
“Mary’s Meals is the charity formerly known as Scottish International Relief (SIR). It was founded in 2002 and has grown from its first feeding operation of 200 children in Malawi, to a world-wide campaign, providing free school meals in hundreds of schools and feeding over 400,000 children daily.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the charity’s founder, believes that it is possible to combat and defeat world hunger and encourage education by the simple method of providing school meals. High profile supporters of Mary’s Meals include the entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne and the philanthropist Sir Tom Farmer. Mary’s Meals is supported by Holyrood secondary.
One of Mary’s Meals’ key projects is based in Malawi where over 350,000 children are now receiving Mary’s Meals, a daily meal of ‘likuni phala’ a vitamin-laced porridge of Malawi-grown maize, cooked by volunteer mothers at the children’s schools.
Mary’s Meals now helps feed children in countries in: Albania, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, Malawi, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Liberia, Zambia, Haiti, India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Burma and Thailand. Their awareness and fundraising efforts include the Backpack Project and World Porridge Day.”