Five Scottish charities travelling the world to give back

A pupil from a school in Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia recieving her Mary's Meals from a volunteer parent.
A pupil from a school in Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia recieving her Mary's Meals from a volunteer parent.
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Scottish charities work tirelessly to better the life of those all over the country but for some, the work doesn’t stop there. We look at five Scottish charities who have made it their mission to help people on the other side of the world.

Mary’s Meals

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn with an aid convoy carrying food and clothing donated to a campaign. Picture: PA

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn with an aid convoy carrying food and clothing donated to a campaign. Picture: PA

Where? Malawi, Thailand, India (plus nine more)

Mary’s Meals touches down on four different continents to help change to the lives of others. They feed over 1.1 million of the world’s poorest children by serving food in places of education. This in turn gives them to chance to break the poverty cycle in the future.

The charity began in Malawi in 2002 by feeding just 200 children in one primary school. Since Mary’s Meals began their work in the country, school attendance has risen by 50 per cent. Their feeding programme now reaches 12 countries.

It’s biggest project is based in Malawi where it reaches over 25 per cent of primary schools in the country. Elsewhere, Mary’s Meals also feeds Burmese migrants in Thailand, Uganda and India.

Before the charity was established, its founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow worked from his father’s shed in Argyll collecting aid donations for Bosnian refugees. He and his brother Fergus then travelled to the area in convoy trucks carrying food and clothes. Subsequent to their first overseas mission, they went on to help children in Romania and Liberia.

READ MORE: Edinburgh volunteers make a big difference to pensioners

Social Bite

Where? France, Serbia, Greece

Some people may only know Social Bite as a sandwich shop who do their bit to feed the homeless. However, following the refugee crisis which transpired last year, Social Bite expanded its mandate and made it their mission to help those living in refugee camps.

Volunteers from the not-for-profit shop drove 5,000 miles over 10 days to deliver winter aid packages to refugee camps in Calais, Serbia and Lesbos. The materials were bought with public donations following their Christmas appeal, launched by George Clooney. Each donation was matched by Glasgow clothing company Trespass who contributed hats, scarves, gloves, sleeping bags and tents.


Where? Africa, Latin America, Asia

SCIAF helps those in need throughout the year. It works in countries including Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda to help vulnerable people including those affected by gender based violence and conflict. The charity’s WEE BOX appeal works in Ethiopia and more specifically Borana in the south. The country is one of the poorest in the world and has faces extreme food shortages due to drought.

SCIAF works to help communities to build wells and water pumps so families have enough cleans, safe water. It also helps people vaccinate their animals to keep them healthy and give them access to insurance schemes to replace cattle which don’t survive the drought. To prevent them from relying purely on cattle, it teaches people how to make soap to sell and make a living.

500 Miles

Where? Malawi, Zambia, Zanzibar

Founded in 2008 by quadruple amputee Olivia Giles, 500 Miles supports those in need of prosthetic and orthotic services in Malawi and Zambia.

The charity helps people with impaired mobility of all kinds to get moving and live as independently as possible. They do this through enabling them to access prostheses, which replace missing body parts and orthoses, devices which support body parts that don’t function properly.

500 Miles’ main aim to give those who are born deformities or those who lose their limbs, the opportunity to live life to the fullest by establishing ongoing, sustainable and affordable prosthetic and orthotic services within the country.

Mercy Corps

Where? More than 40 countries

Mercy Corps is a Scotland based organisation which works in more than 40 countries that are facing hardship. In 1996, the Mercy Corps merged with Scottish European Aid, and later opened European Headquarters in Edinburgh.

The charity has staff working in countries across the world throughout the year including in India, Pakistan and Iraq. Mercy Corps works to find long-term solutions to problems by working alongside people in the areas of need to develop sustainable change by helping them build stronger communities and find their own solutions to poverty. This mission has taken them to communities in over 107 nations across the world and has seen them deliver more than £1 billion in relief and development assistance including food, shelter, health care, agriculture and sanitation.

The charity helps more than 19 million people each year and has been an international leader in responding to tragedies including the Indian Ocean tsunami, Iraq war and Haiti earthquake.