A schoolgirl who was banned from blogging about her school meals by her local council has raised £100,000 for a children's charity.
Martha Payne, nine, was told to stop taking photographs of her school meals because the council did not approve. Argyll and Bute council said her activities had made the school's catering staff fear for their jobs.
The council backed down following international outrage at Martha's treatment and charity donations funnelled through her NeverSeconds blog began to increase. Before the ban, she had raised £2,000 for Mary's Meals – a charity that helps feed children in the world's poorest countries – but after a week the total had reached £100,000.
Martha thanked everyone who had donated. "This is totally awesome and will help so many hungry children. Mary's Meals is a very simple charity and it can achieve so much with so little as it costs just six pence to provide one meal.
"That meal can make a big difference. I've been told children receiving Mary's Meals have to walk two hours to get to their school every day – I couldn't walk that far every day," she said.
Martha has already raised enough to build a kitchen shelter and feed an entire school for a year at Lirangwe primary school in Blantyre, Malawi, as part of Mary's Meals' Sponsor a School initiative.
Martha and her family are also planning to travel to Malawi later in the year, when they will visit the school kitchen, which is to be named Friends of NeverSeconds.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow of Mary's Meals said the donation would transform the lives of thousands of children. "This is incredible and I can't thank Martha and her supporters enough for everything they have done. Instead of being hungry and working for their next meal, these children receiving Mary's Meals will be sitting in a classroom with a full stomach, learning how to read and write."
The charity says it can feed a child for a school year for £10.70 and it feeds 650,000 children every school day in 16 countries, including Malawi and Haiti.
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