Scottish International Relief came into being during the Bosnian conflict in 1992. Two brothers, today provides daily meals for around 400,000 children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, were so moved by the scenes on TV that they decided to organize an appeal for food and blankets.
They quickly gathered a jeep load and joined one of the convoys leaving the UK and delivered the aid to Medjugorje in Bosnia, a place of international pilgrimage they had visited with their family years previously. Believing their good deed done they returned to Scotland expecting to resume their jobs as fish farmers. However they came home to discover the public had carried on donating aid in their absence filling their parents’ garage with goods.
Magnus decided to give up his job for a year to drive the aid out for as long as the public kept donating. The public did not stop and it soon became necessary to set up a registered charity. The charity soon began to work in Romania, building homes for abandoned children, and in Liberia, helping returning refugees by setting up mobile clinics, while continuing to deliver material aid to Croatia and Bosnia.
In 2002 SIR was operating a simple famine relief project in Malawi when Magnus met a family that led to a whole new area of work. The mother was dying of AIDS and lying on the floor of her hut surrounded by her 6 young children.
She said that all that was left for her was to pray for her children that someone might look after them after she had died. She knew that the AIDS epidemic has created 1 million orphans in Malawi alone. When Magnus asked her oldest son what he hoped from in life, his stark reply of – ”To have enough to eat and to go to school one day”was not easily forgotten. It prompted the campaign, Mary’s Meals.
This aims to provide chronically hungry children with one meal a day in school. In this way the children are encouraged to gain the education that can lift them out of poverty in later life.
This simple but effective idea has gathered momentum and today provides daily meals for around 400,000 children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Our headquarters is still situated in the grounds of Craig Lodge but support groups are springing up around the world.
Official Website http://www.marysmeals.org/