AS WE approach the International Day of Friendship (30 July), Mary’s Meals is celebrating heart-warming stories of hope and camaraderie from around the world.

Mary’s Meals is a charity that serves nutritious school meals in 20 of the world’s poorest countries. The promise of a good meal attracts hungry children into the classroom where, instead of working or looking for food, they can gain an education.

As your readers will know, the classroom is also where lifelong friendships are made. Friendships like that of Fridah and Annette, from Zambia. Fridah’s life changed forever when she fell ill with an undiagnosed illness, losing all ability to move and communicate. Luckily, she has a wonderful friend in Annette.

The two girls attend school together, where they eat Mary’s Meals. Despite the challenges she faces, Fridah is determined to get an education. She uses her toes to write and turn the pages of her books. Fridah dreams of becoming a professional footballer when she is older. With our nutritious school meals giving her the energy to learn and play, and a good friend like Annette by her side, we hope she will achieve her dream.

It costs just 8p a day to feed a child with Mary’s Meals, meaning every donation – no matter how small – will make an enormous difference. For more information, please visit

Thomas Black

Head of major giving and partnerships, Mary’s Meals