When Martha Payne’s blog NeverSeconds was catapulted into the limelight last year, I’m sure she never imagined how it would have changed her life, or improved the lives of countless other children across the world.
Less than a year on, Martha (now just 10 years old) is responsible for raising the massive sum of £129,000 for Mary’s Meals – a Scottish-based charity fighting world hunger by providing school dinners for children in some of the world’s poorest communities.
If you haven’t followed Martha’s story, you’ll find a summary on my earlier blog, NeverSeconds Allowed to Have Thirds. When Martha started to blog about her school meals, the powers that be at Argyll & Bute Council made the somewhat ill advised decision to stifle her right to free speech … or free blog … in this case.
But they say every cloud has a silver lining. Instead of muzzling her, the council’s bullyboy tactics put her on the front of newspapers everywhere and soon Martha was even trending on social media. As the naked truth about Martha’s school dinners was revealed, so her fundraising campaign gathered momentum.
Through her efforts, Martha has helped feed nearly 2,000 children in Malawi. It’s no wonder she’s attracted worldwide acclaim because of her work:
- Observer Food Monthly’s best food blog of 2012
- Liberty’s Human Rights Young Person of the Year 2012
- The Herald Scottish Politician Public Campaigner of the Year award
- Just Giving’s Young Fundraiser of the Year Finalist 2013
Martha has also been appointed an ambassador of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign.
In October 2012, Martha spent 3 weeks in Malawi where she saw how Mary’s Meals were spending the money raised. She opened a new school kitchen in Lilongwe, and her travels to Malawi were charted in a BBC documentary, shown on Boxing Day last year. And needless to say, Martha is supporting the International School Meals Day on Friday 8th March.
You could be forgiven for thinking any child this age, being the object of so much attention, would be… quite frankly… a brat. But Martha’s clearly just an ordinary, endearing little lass with her head screwed on, who has a large helping of guts and determination.
At the Observer Food Monthly awards, she appeared to be unimpressed with the fundraising to date. She is quoted as saying, “”No it’s not great. There’s a lot more money out there in the whole world. I think we have to get some more.” So you heard what Martha said – get that plastic out and make a donation here.
I’ll be continuing to watch Martha’s adventures unfold. One thing’s for certain, a lot of this credit must go to her parents and I know, if I was her Mum, I’d have burst with pride by now.