The Scottish founder of a charity that provides almost half a million children in underprivileged countries with a meal a day has been honoured at an American award ceremony.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, along with brother Magnus, started Mary’s Meals in 1992 after seeing harrowing images of Bosnian children left homeless and bereft by war.
The brothers’ original plan of a one-off donation of food and blankets to Bosnia changed when they returned home from the Balkan country and found that the public had continued to donate in their absence.
Eighteen years later, Mary’s Meals operates in 16 countries over five continents and gives 460,000 children one meal at school every day.
Mr MacFarlane-Barrow has now been recognised by American cable news company CNN as part of its annual CNN Heroes awards. Since 2007, the ceremony has honoured the contributions made by people who help others, as decided by a public vote.
At the award show this Thanksgiving, November 25, Mr MacFarlane-Barrow was presented with his award by fellow Scot, actor Gerard Butler.
Butler told attendees: “I’m proud because he’s a fellow Scot.
“Every day Magnus lets children know that they matter, that someone thousands of miles away cares about them.”
In addition to the award, Mary’s Meals received a $25,000 prize that will be spent on school feeding projects in Malawi, where the charity supports more than 12% of primary school children.
Mr MacFarlane-Barrow said: “It’s wonderful to be able to receive this award on behalf of the thousands of people who are working to realise the vision we have that every child in the world will be able to receive at least one meal every day in a place of education.
“I’d like to invite people around the world to join us, so that no child today will be without food and no child should miss school because of poverty.”
The glitzy event was held in Los Angeles, and those presenting awards included Butler, Kiefer Sutherland, Jessica Alba and Demi Moore. Bon Jovi and John Legend gave musical performances, and at one point in the evening all 33 of the rescued Chilean Miners took to the stage to massive applause. Anuradha Koirala, whose organisation Maiti Nepal works to end human trafficking, was named CNN's Hero of the Year.