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School lunch blogger Martha Payne off to Malawi


Michelle Wright
WVoN co-editor 

A Scottish schoolgirl is off to Malawi to visit the kitchen shelter her blog has helped build.

Martha Payne, nine, has been posting pictures and reviews of her lunches online to raise money for Mary’s Meals, a charity which provides food to schoolchildren in some of the world’s poorest countries.

In just a few weeks she has collected over £100,000, enough for a kitchen to be built and serve children at Lirangwe Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi, for a year.

Donations soared after a controversial ban imposed on the blog by her local authority was lifted.

Bosses at Argyll and Bute Council told Martha to stop updating the site, called NeverSeconds, claiming it was causing school catering staff to fear losing their jobs.

But they overturned the ban after thousands of people pledged their support for Martha’s appeal, including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Now Martha is looking forward to visiting the school kitchen with her family later on in the year, which will be named Friends of NeverSeconds.

“Calling the kitchen ‘Friends of NeverSeconds’ is important as it’s a thank you to everyone who has supported me and Mary’s Meals,” said Martha.

“It’s really good because it can feed lots of children for a long time.”

Until then, Martha intends on celebrating by holding a small porridge party where she will serve up likuni phala, the nutritious porridge dish Mary’s Meals feeds to children.

She is also inviting children from around the world to write about their school dinners for NeverSeconds whilst she takes a break over the summer holiday.

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