The first Mary's meals were distributed in Malawi in 2002, but the family MacFarlane-Barrow from Scotland who started this project says that Mary’s Meals are the fruit of Medjugorje. They came here in 1993 for the first time and during the war they were bringing humanitarian help from Scotland and later on, out of this, new global project for the help to the poorest ones, supported by many people throughtout the world, developed from it. Their goal is to provide each child one daily meal at the schools, so those who have a lot would distribute to the ones who do not have the essentials. While they are providing daily meals at the schools, basic needs of hungry children are satisfied and they are encouraged to education, which in the future can be a way of getting out of the poverty for them. This organisation presented their programme and introduced us to their news on Friday, August 4, during the youth Festival. Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the founder of Mary’s Meals, friend of theirs Fr. Petar Komljenović, volunteer Zrinka Skelin from Zagreb and Jimmy Belabre from Haiti, spoke on that occasion.
Jimmy Belabre was born in Haiti, in a town of poverty and many crimes, where it was easier to become criminal rather than to do something good. „Fortunately, Mary’s Meals came along, I was able to get food and education and I began to dream my own dreams, I became aware I could become what I wanted to become.“ – he said at the last year’s Youth Festival. Probably, not even in his wildest dreams, he could have imagined that he would be recording songs and music in Medjugorje and that is what happened at the end of the last year’s Youth Festival in Studio 3 of Radio Mir Medjugorje. Also this year, he came to our radio station and said on that occasion: „Mary’s Meals mean the whole world to me. As I said in my testimony, I was ten when I attended a school where I was given a daily meal. But, to go to school was not enough to make me a positive person I am today. I know many who were my own generation who are either dead or engaged in criminal activities today. They also had opportunity to go to the school, but the difference was that they were not given a meal there. So, each day in the school, they wondered what they would eat later on. Sometimes those kids needed to take care of their own families and they had to leave the school. I was receiving Mary’s Meals in my school and I could not wait for each day to come so I could go back to the school. I really felt I belonged to that place, besides studying, I was able to eat and to reflect on my future thanks to that one meal we would get each day. That is when one truly learns how to appreciate the food“, said Jimmy, and added how when we receive help, we learn how to help to others too:
„I can see that I need to be at disposal to my own people so we would ensure a better life for new generations and for the youth. This is the best way of returning them what Mary’s Meals gave us. In reality, we would never be able to return the gift we received, but we are trying.“ One of the ways Jimmy is using is in his work with the youth after their education. As he said in his testimony, he is probably the youngest school principle in the world: „Yes, I am 28! I was going to the same school ever since I was 10, up to the end of my education. I was so excited for the opportunity to learn in the school, so I became the representative of the school and after my education, they offered a job position to me. I accepted, as that was just another way to help to the community. This is the fifth year I work for them. I am not just a principle of the school, it is a very hard work, since we need to deal with soldiers who are members of the local gangs. I am in charge of the public relations, and I help them with donations too. There are 1049 students in a school. I am happy to be able to work with my former classroom teachers and principles, all thanks to the fact that I got opportunity to be educated, since I was not hungry and I had a meal.” (photos)