Mary’s Meals, which began by feeding just 200 youngsters in Malawi in 2002, has announced it is now providing 1,035,637 children with a nutritious meal every day they attend school.
The Argyll-registered charity currently works in 12 countries across four continents, setting up community-run school feeding programmes.
The projects aim to encourage children - who may otherwise be forced to work, beg or forage for food - to go to school, where they can receive a meal that helps them to concentrate on their studies.
Founder and chief executive Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow said: “It is quite remarkable to think that a million children are now eating Mary’s Meals every school day in some of the world’s poorest countries. The extraordinary ways in which this work has grown and developed have continually surprised me and filled me with a sense of mystery and awe.
“It would not be true, though, to say that I never expected our work to grow so big. I have long felt that the vision of Mary’s Meals - that every child receives a daily meal in their place of education - is so compelling, and people of goodwill so numerous, that it must be fulfilled.”
The charity works in countries such as Liberia, Kenya, Zambia, Haiti and India and says the continued support of donors has allowed it to expand its global programme by more than 45,000 children since the beginning of the year alone.
Mr MacFarlane-Barrow marked the landmark in Malawi’s Machinga district, where the expansion of the charity’s school feeding programme has enabled it to surpass the million threshold.
He added: “As I stand here in Malawi today, meeting all the children at Chirimba Primary School who are the latest to receive Mary’s Meals, I am struck by the fact that this landmark can be regarded as no more than just ‘the first million’. With 57 million children out of school today and many millions more around the world chronically hungry, it is clear that our work has only just begun.”