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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

CNN Heroes

Got this from Margaret today.  (Voting closes tomorrow Thursday!  Not much time but hope you’ll consider giving Magnus of Mary’s Meals your vote.)

Dear Supporter,

There are only a few days left until the vote for this year's CNN Hero closes. If you have already voted for Magnus, Mary's Meals' chief executive, thank you.

We are getting in touch for the last time before the ballot finishes, to ask if you would consider casting a vote online, or voting one more time if you have already done so, at http://heroes.cnn.com/vote.aspx (voting several times is within the rules).

If Magnus is named the Hero of the Year, his prize of $100,000 will feed 7,055 hungry school children in some of the world's poorest countries through 2011 (we are now feeding 459,600 children worldwide).

We are very grateful for the support we have had already had from our friends, volunteers and fundraisers. This message, from Father Gary Jenkins, who founded Mary's Meals in Liberia, explains better than we can, the impact of Mary's Meals and the significance of Magnus' personal contribution:

I am delighted that Magnus has been nominated as a Top Ten Hero, he is someone I deeply respect, who listens with compassion to other people.

In the late nineties, Magnus and I visited a small school, the walls of which were covered with bullet holes. Of the thirty or so children there, some had returned to their town from refugee camps in Sierra Leone and others had recently emerged from a secret hiding place in the forest.

Magnus asked the children if they had eaten before they came to school. Only a few children raised their hands; most hadn't eaten since the previous day. Magnus was very worried, and said that children had the right to eat in the mornings. We discussed what could be done.

When I telephoned Magnus in 2004 to say that the St Dominic's school in Tubmanburg was to reopen, he immediately agreed that we should start Mary's Meals there. Behind the mission at St Dominics, there is a large cross that marks the site where over three hundred children are buried - they died of starvation in 1996. We never want a repetition of that tragedy.

Lessons, and school feeding, started on October 1, and St Dominics was packed with 750 students. Some had recently arrived from displaced camps, others were disarmed child soldiers who had been forcibly taken from their villages.

Despite their different backgrounds, their common goal was to attend school, and they didn't have to worry anymore about hustling for food to survive. It was a modest beginning which today is helping around 24,000 children in Liberia alone.

Your vote could help us to reach even more children. http://heroes.cnn.com/vote.aspx.

If you have a blog, a website, a Facebook page, or work in the media and would consider covering the story, we would value any help you can give us to spread the word. You can read more about Magnus in this article in yesterday's Daily Record http://bit.ly/aWSE3Y.

The CNN Heroes Tribute show will be broadcast on CNN International (available with Freeview if you have digital TV) on Friday, October 25th at 1am and 10am (UK time). Voting closes on Thursday, November 18th.

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