Mary’s Meals launches new school feeding program in Yemen

Yemen is in urgent need as it faces long-term, devastating conflict and increasingly difficult conditions.

Back to all stories | Posted on 01/13/22 in NewsBlog

Although there are many places in the world today experiencing enormous challenges, Unicef refers to Yemen as “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.” Of the estimated 21 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 11 million of them are children.

After the incredible work of Yemen Aid, an established nongovernmental operation (NGO), came to Mary’s Meals’ attention, we got in touch to discuss the potential impact our school feeding program might have in some of the areas they work. Currently, Yemen Aid provides thousands of food baskets to displaced people and communities and supports thousands of malnourished children. They also provide support and advice with hygiene, health and welfare issues. Additionally, they run a number of women’s programs, supporting female farmers, supplying resources to female businesses, and offering skill development and psychosocial support.

Now, in partnership with Yemen Aid, Mary’s Meals provides four schools in the Al Mansoora district of Aden with meals for more than 4,000 children. This district is particularly vulnerable as it is home to a large number of internally displaced people (IDPs) and other marginalized populations who all experience high levels of hunger.

Summer Nasser, CEO of Yemen Aid, says, “As we embark on this new relationship with Mary’s Meals, our hope is to increase support to children by tackling hunger through strategic, sustainable approaches in the education sector. The school feeding program will broaden the horizon for these students who have been losing interest in school and provide more security for parents.”

Building on Yemen Aid’s existing relationships with these communities and their leaders, Mary’s Meals successfully implemented a daily meal of a filled pitta bread sandwich with fruit or vegetables for every child in school. In Yemen, poverty and conflict often keep children out of education, and coercion into child labor can become a real threat. Serving a nutritious lunch encourages children and attracts them back into the security of the classroom.

We spoke with one of the volunteers, Mouth Banafaa, from the school feeding program in Aden, about what motivates him to lend his time and efforts. He says, “I love volunteering in humanitarian work because this supports the community. This project is important to me because it helps children from vulnerable families to have access to education and improve their learning opportunities.”

After reaching the landmark of feeding two million children in September 2021, the addition of Yemen strengthens our mission as we continue forward, steadfast in our goal to feed the next hungry child.