Mary’s Meals team update: May the Quads be Ever in Our Favour
Mairead and Louise, The Mary’s Meals Quad Team, have been training hard the last few months but are waiting for better weather before attempting kayaking!
Mairead, who is a Scout Leader, has dabbled in a bit of kayaking before. She says; “Once I went kayaking with my brother, I really enjoyed it! It was hard work though, so I know I’ll need to start training soon. In fact, while kayaking my brother lost his shoes, and I spent more time in the water!”
Louise has been concentrating on hill walking, always accompanied with team mascot Louie the dog. She tells us; “Louie and I are quite new to hills, and neither of us have particularly long legs but our weekly training sessions are really starting to pay off. And I’m loving Munro bagging with my trusty sidekick!”
The team have also been fundraising, setting up their own Artez page so that friends and family can donate online. They also plan on organizing a fundraising event in April to raise lots of money for hungry children.
Taking on the Quad as part of a relay team is a great way to participate without needing to complete all 4 disciplines. Get a group together who all have different strengths and you can enjoy a slightly more relaxing day! For 2017 we have the following rules for relay teams.
To discuss entering as part of a relay team or if you have any further questions please email email@example.com
With five months to go until the Quad, we know you will be thinking of the stage that participants often say is the toughest: the mountains! Seven munros are no easy feat to conquer, but hopefully we can provide a little inspiration for your challenge ahead.
Every weary step up those mountains, every freezing stroke of the swim across the loch will help someone take the first step up out of poverty, or help them when a crisis or emergency strikes. From the ongoing global refugee crisis, to rebuilding work in earthquake-stricken Nepal, and in more than 40 countries around the world – your fundraising will help people to get through even the most challenging circumstances.
In April 2015, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal just northwest of the capital of Kathmandu. It was the worst quake to strike the region in more than 80 years, killing thousands of people and injuring thousands more.
Millions of people were affected by the earthquake and the damage was devastating, toppling historic temples in Kathmandu and destroying entire rural villages. The suffering was compounded by a second major quake of 7.3 that struck less than a month later.
Hundreds of thousands of terrified people lost their homes and loved ones. And the disaster disproportionally affected poorer residents, who lived in mud and stone houses that crumbled and are in hard-to-reach areas of the mountainous terrain.
Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and frequent natural disasters like earthquakes and floods are especially devastating to families with few resources to protect themselves and recover. Half of Nepal’s population are youth, and 90 percent of them are unemployed. Young women must often work at home or marry early, preventing them from finishing school, and keeping families locked in a cycle of poverty.
Today, thanks to our supporters, communities are slowly beginning to recover.
Following the earthquake, Mercy Corps reached more than 135,000 people with emergency supplies, cash, food support, safe water and temporary shelter, despite Nepal’s incredibly difficult mountainous terrain.
The earthquake devastated local economies and brought down electricity lines, leaving families with little money and no electricity. But cash assistance — distributed to 23,000 families — is helping people get the supplies they need to rebuild. And solar lamps, included in many of our emergency kits and equipped with mobile charging ports, are helping families communicate with each other.
In the coming months and years, we will continue to help vulnerable families to access financial services like recovery loans, and we will engage communities in emergency planning to better prepare them for future disasters
Meet Jyanu (pictured) 32, who owns a small restaurant in her village. She and her husband work there to support their three children. Jyanu and her family used to live in the same building as the restaurant and grow vegetables outside, but April’s earthquake damaged the living quarters, so they had to build a temporary shelter nearby.
“Before the earthquake, everything was in order,” Jyanu says. “The restaurant was good, the farm was good. After, everything was messed up. I was afraid of losing our [temporary] shelter because of the winds and the aftershocks. But now the aftershocks have stopped.”
Mercy Corps distributed emergency kits in the village — Jyanu and her family received cooking supplies, sleeping mats, blankets, a solar light, and cash to help them rebuild.
The solar light that Jyanu received is helping her whole family, including her three children, who study by its light each night. “The solar light is best,” she says. “Even before the earthquake, we had problems with electricity. The light is dim at night. We use the solar light all evening until bed.”
So no matter how tough those mountains are in July, you will know that your fundraising and hard work is helping enable people to get back on their feet and survive the challenges of their own.
At Mary’s Meals, we are always up for a new challenge, whether it is feeding more children in the world’s poorest communities or taking on the UK’s toughest one day sporting event, The Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon! Meet Mairead and Louise who have named their team, May the Quads Be Ever in Our Favour.
For a number of years, Louise has excelled at creating interest in the Quad as Digital Media Officer for Mary’s Meals and after seeing how much fun it looked decided to take this plunge herself.
A few years ago, Mairead visited a Mary’s Meals project and felt compelled to volunteer. Ten years later she’s now Mary’s Meals UK Press and Communications Officer. Mairead said, ‘It is amazing to be part of such a fantastic charity. I love the great outdoors and hillwalking, so pairing both Mary’s Meals and an outdoor challenge is ideal!’
Louie, the wee Scotty dog in the photo, is also an honorary team member and putting the girls through their paces. Mairead told us, ‘It’s great to have Louie on board, cheering us on. I’ve seen first-hand the difference our fundraising is making to children in Malawi which makes this all worthwhile.’
Presentations for the 2016 Quad
So… have we got you thinking about the possibility of taking part in the Quadrathlon? Are you a past participant thinking of giving it another go or venturing into the event for the first time? Why not come along to one of our Quad 2016 presentations and find out more.
We appreciate that life is busy so the presentations are designed to fit in after work and they won’t take too long. David Fox-Pitt, our Event Director, will give a short presentation on the event and there will be a quick Q&A session at the end. David will chat about The Quad’s unique vibe, the route, the kit, training and preparation. Nobody knows this event like David so please do take the opportunity to come along and get the inside scoop. He is also extremely persuasive so if you have a friend who’s on the fence about it - bring them!
Time: 17.30 Date: Monday 22nd February
Location: Artemis Investment Management, Cassini House, 57 St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1LD
Time: 17.30 Date: Wednesday 24th February
Location: Artemis Investment Management, 42 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7HA
RSVP - places are limited
Light refreshments will be provided. Please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating which presentation you would like to attend ASAP so we can confirm numbers for catering purposes.
More information about the legendary Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon is available on the website. Or just pick up the phone and have a chat, we love a good excuse to talk about the Quad!
Mercy Corps helps families in South Sudan access water and sanitation amidst the ongoing conflict
In Bentiu, South Sudan, weary families walk the long dirt road from the town toward the entrance gates of the U.N. compound that has become an improvised displacement site, carrying children, firewood, food, mattresses and anything else they have been able to buy or salvage on their journey.
More than 120,000 people are seeking refuge here from the violence that has engulfed towns and villages throughout South Sudan, a consequence of the civil war that has plagued the country since December 2013, and displaced more than two million people.
Desperate families often walk for weeks to reach the site and the site’s population has more than doubled in the last year. Water and sanitation infrastructure can’t meet the demands of the growing number of residents.
Areas of dirty, stagnant water are common, and plastic tents offer little protection from the hot, dry winters and stormy summers. The risk of contracting cholera, hepatitis and malaria is tremendous; the World Health Organisation calls the crisis in South Sudan one of the worst health emergencies in the world.
Mercy Corps, which works in more than 40 countries around the world on some of the toughest challenges, is improving the site’s water and sanitation facilities building latrines, water points and handwashing stations, and leading rubbish collections.
In addition, Mercy Corps has put in place a hygiene promotion programme which promotes best hygiene practices that people should use to protect themselves from disease. We hire residents to become hygiene promoters and train them to organise information sharing sessions — proper handwashing, latrine use, water storage, childcare practices — for other residents. The hygiene promoters also conduct follow-up, door-to-door visits with residents to discuss home sanitation and personal hygiene.
Families in this region are in a constant state of uncertainty — and they have been for two years. And the ongoing volatility and extreme safety concerns continue to force civilians to safer — but also crowded and insufficient — spaces like the Bentiu displacement site.
The residents of the camp have left everything behind aside from what they have been able to carry on their backs, and they are uncertain of when they will be able to return to their former way of life.
Until families return home for good, water, hygiene and sanitation services must be implemented and improved to ensure the health and dignity of these already at-risk populations.
The funds raised by you will help Mercy Corps support people all over the world who are struggling to cope amidst conflict, disaster or crisis, just like in South Sudan. On behalf of the families that your fundraising will support, THANK YOU.
“The children on this island are no longer hungry, Mary’s Meals has seen to that.” Isolated by water, the people of Likoma Island work hard to transport Mary’s Meals across the lake for their children.
Likoma Island is a beautiful island which lies in the northeastern part of Lake Malawi. Although the island is just a few kilometers from Mozambique, and are entirely surrounded by Mozambican territorial waters, it is an enclave of Malawi.
The remote island is cut off from the rest of Malawi, and is only accessible via an old boat called the Llala which has been sailing to the island since the 1960s. It isn’t all that reliable, with the boat often breaking down limiting travel to the island. Sailing can take over seven hours, the water is often dangerous and choppy, but that won’t stop Mary’s Meals providing meals to over 3,000 children on Likoma.
When the bags of maize finally arrive, local volunteers wade into the water and quickly distribute the bags, ready to make the long walk to the village. Without this willing community, Mary’s Meals simply wouldn’t be able to provide porridge in the schools on the island. Geofrey Tamayenda, Mary’s Meals Malawi Regional Manager says, “They come every month to collect the food. They wade through the water in their clothes and then walk for miles to the deliver the food to each school because there are hardly any cars on the island.”
Despite the heat, plenty of volunteers turn up and carry two 20kg bags each to the schools, it is a long and arduous walk but spirits are always high. One volunteer said, “Before Mary’s Meals came to Likoma, children were dropping out of school because they were hungry. Now our children are healthy and happy. We want to be part of making them grow up to be successful.”
It is about an hour’s walk to the first school, where the volunteers are greeted by lots of excitable children. A 12-year-old girl raises her hand, “I don’t have any breakfast before I come to school,” she announces, “Before Mary’s Meals came I was dropping out from classes because I was too hungry, now I look forward to coming because I love the porridge.”
Mayamixo Nahosi, a 14 year old from Likoma, said “I think it’s very important for the community because the parents can send their children to school without any challenges. The children want to go to school. I, for example, don’t ever miss school any more, and I see my classmates here every day. Also, the parents don’t have to wonder about how to feed the children.”
It is thanks to your fundraising, that we are able to feed over 770,000 children in Malawi. Mary’s Meals is now reaching over One Million children globally with a daily meal at school in some of the world’s poorest communities, where hunger and poverty prevent children from gaining an education. On behalf of all the children receiving Mary’s Meals, thank you.
Mercy Corps: Responding with urgency in times of crisis: How your fundraising will help people in crisis survive, recover and rebuild.
When disaster strikes a fast response can save lives. In complex crises, funds which are flexible and adaptable can allow for the most effective, efficient and innovative approaches to humanitarian needs. This year, the funds you raise will help Mercy Corps to support people all over the world who are struggling to cope amidst conflict, disaster or crisis. Places where poverty, hunger or violence keep people from realising their potential. A mother escaping war, a father trying to provide food for his children, a young woman starting a business that will help her build a brighter future. Your fundraising will help give them the resources they need to survive crisis and improve their own lives.
Who we are: We live and work in more than 40 countries facing the world’s toughest challenges. We’ve learned and grown alongside extraordinary people—more than 190 million individuals who understand their own needs better than anyone else. Our decades of experience show that individuals are best able to strengthen their communities from within. In everything we do, we look for moments of transition to connect people to resources and expertise that can catalyse transformative change. Together with your help we are making change. By linking big ideas, bold action and local insights; we help people survive and thrive.
Here is one example of how your funds could be used; we hope it will inspire you on your fundraising journey.
The current refugee crisis is staggering. Our teams have been working inside Syria since the conflict erupted in 2011. Despite ever-changing and evolving challenges inside the war-torn country, we are reaching over 600,000 people every month.
In the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon, Mercy Corps is helping up to 4 million refugees – making sure families have nutritious food, clean water, shelter and safe places for their children to play - helping them to heal from the trauma they have experienced and forge new relationships while they develop critical life skills.
In Europe, Mercy Corps is meeting the needs of refugees on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Kos and in the Balkan states of Serbia and Macedonia. Whether providing hot meals to families struggling on their arduous journey, or through the information services provided online in six different languages – Mercy Corps is helping people find safety as they flee violence, poverty and persecution in their homelands.
Work like this only possible with your support, thank you for taking part in the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon!
A group from Artemis Investment Management, tell us about their trip to see first-hand the difference Quadrathlon funds are making to impoverished children receiving Mary’s Meals.
In November, we travelled to Malawi and Zambia to visit Mary’s Meals and to witness the impact of Artemis Quadrathletes’ fundraising.
Mary’s Meals is a global movement that sets up volunteer-led school feeding programmes in some of the world’s poorest communities, enabling impoverished children to gain an education that can help set them free from poverty. It costs just £12.20 – around the same price as a single main course in a UK restaurant – to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year, and 93% of funds are spent on charitable activities.
The funds raised through the Quadrathlon currently support four schools in the southern region of Malawi.
Our trip began with a visit to Dowa, about a 90 minute drive away from the capital, Liliongwe, where we were staying. Chiletso – the Mary’s Meals coordinator for Malawi Central Region and our guide while in Malawi – drove us to a refugee primary school where Mary’s Meals has been providing porridge since August 2007.
This was by far the largest and most diverse school we visited, with 5,190 students in attendance. Many pupils hailed from Somalia and Rwanda, but the majority were from the Congo. During our tour with the headmaster, the positive impact of Mary’s Meals was clear. Attendance is growing week on week thanks to the feeding programme.
Volunteer cooks spend around four hours each day cooking up large quantities of maize porridge, making the kitchen very hot and smoky. Despite this, the cooks were smiling and friendly and one of them even gave us a little dance! When the porridge was ready, the excitement was tangible, with children keen to fill their mugs, then hastily gulping down the meal. It was difficult to not feel a little overwhelmed at their joy.
Chiletso then drove us to Ndunje Primary School. The atmosphere here was very calm and disciplined. Mary’s Meals has only been working with the school since 2014, but the positive effects could already be seen. Attendance has risen to nearly 1,300 – as have the pass rates of students – and more pupils now continue on to secondary school than before. Classes consist of nearly 100 students, yet there was none of the restlessness we had witnessed in the refugee school. The children patiently waited in their classrooms and formed orderly queues to collect their meal.
Many children in Malawi do not have basic learning tools such as pencils and notepads. To complement its main activity of school feeding, Mary’s Meals encourages supporters to donate backpacks for the children filled with essential items such as toothpaste, pens, notebooks, flip flops, and teaspoons.
We were invited to witness a backpack distribution. The team had driven five hours from the Mary’s Meals office in Blantyre with a truck piled high with sacks of backpacks! We visited two schools to distribute the gifts: Mgonda Primary School, where more than 700 students attend from 24 villages, and Chingondo Primary School, which has 441 pupils and has been helped by Mary’s Meals for eight years.
At both schools we split into two groups and helped unload the truck. The classrooms were tightly packed and we counted the number of boys and girls in each class, sometimes two or three times just in case we’d missed anyone, the pressure to get the numbers right was immense!
The children bent down to us as they received their bag, a sign of gratitude and respect. They patiently sat clutching their new backpacks, looking a little bewildered (Mary’s Meals doesn’t inform the schools they will be visiting so the bags are a huge surprise).
Once the bags were handed out, the team started a countdown. Watching the children’s expressions change from confusion to excitement was heart-filling. There were beaming smiles all round as they pulled out the first item from their bag, and the buzz in the atmosphere was amazing. The children started chattering amongst themselves and showing their friends what they had been given. Some even started singing to say thank you!
The trip was an unforgettable experience in so many ways. It was incredibly humbling to visit Mary’s Meals, see the good work they are doing, and witness the benefits the students, schools and communities are reaping. It was especially brilliant to be involved in the Backpack Project. Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate the effect that such basic items can have on people’s wellbeing when you are physically removed from the situation, but none of us will forget the excitement and gratitude the children had when they opened up their backpacks.
We were made to feel so welcome everywhere we went and it was sad to leave such warm friendly people. We are extremely grateful to Mary’s Meals for organising an amazing, memorable trip and massively thankful to the Quadrathletes, whose fundraising is transforming the lives of these children and their families.
Read what one team had to day about the 2015 Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon… If you don’t want to enter after reading this, nothing will make you!