Right To Life is pleased to announce that the Westminster Award for Human Life, Human Rights, and Human Dignity, will be given to the Scottish charity founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow. This will take place in a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster on the evening of Tuesday 07th of February
The Westminster Award recognises extraordinary and notable work and achievements that safeguard the dignity and right to life of human beings. Its recipient is chosen by the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and the Trustees of Right To Life, having taken advice from senior Parliamentarians in both Houses.
Previously, the Award was given to the blind Chinese human rights lawyer and campaigner Chen Guangcheng, for his heroic work defending the rights of Chinese women and children who are victimised by their Government’s population control policies. This year, a person has been chosen due to his hard work, over more than two decades, to make sure that the necessities of life are provided to those suffering from some of the worst deprivation in the world today.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, with his brother Fergus, started his charity efforts in 1992 during the conflict in the Balkans after the breakup of the state of Yugoslavia. The two brothers were both fish-farmers in their mid-to-late-twenties when, touched by the plight of those affected by the conflict, they began a local appeal for food and blankets. They then drove to Bosnia with a jeep filled with the cargo they received and kept in their parents’ shed, and delivered it to those in need.
When they returned, they found that more donations had come in, and so Magnus took a year out from his job to continue delivering the aid. The donations never stopped however, and so Magnus took on his project full time, turning it into a charity initially named ‘Scottish International Relief’ and recently renamed ‘Mary’s Meals’.
In the 25 years that the charity will have been going by the end of 2017, it has become a school feeding charity, working with some of the world’s poorest communities to set up school feeding programmes, which enable children to come to school and gain an education that can offer a route out of poverty.
In 2015, the number of children served by Mary’s Meals reached the milestone of 1,000,000.
Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group and a Patron of Right To Life, said:
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow exemplifies what the Westminster Award aims to celebrate: the valuing and active safeguarding of human life. By his efforts, and those of Mary’s Meals, many people have been delivered from hunger and malnutrition. The basic right of every human person to the essential elements of life, is part-and-parcel of their right to life itself, and fundamental in respecting their human dignity.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Recipient of the Westminster Award, said
I am deeply honoured and moved to receive this award and so very grateful for this recognition of Mary’s Meals as a mission focused on the right of each child to life – and life to the full. Without enough food to eat or the chance of at least a basic education, a child is denied the chance to grow and become the person they are meant to be. Our daily meal in a place of education helps meet those most basic needs of every child and helps set them free that they might live with dignity. I thank sincerely those who decided to recognise our work in this special way.
Lord Alton, senior member of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, and a Patron of Right To Life, said:
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow has a passion for human rights, human life, and human dignity and his work and beliefs demonstrate how this trinity of concerns come together as one. An extraordinary humanitarian, on a daily basis, Magnus saves lives – believing that, from the womb to the tomb, we must honour, respect and uphold the sanctity and worth of every human life. He’s incredibly inspiring and we can all learn a great deal from him.
Robert Flello MP, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said:
For I was hungry and you gave me food. Magnus has shown by his actions how to live your faith and is an inspiration to those of all faiths and none. By feeding over one million children each day he has brought hope and real, positive change to some of the most vulnerable people in our world. This award will hopefully go some way to recognising Magnus and Mary’s Meals within Parliament and help to spread hope to even more communities. It is profoundly deserved.
Councillor Chris Whitehouse KCSG, a Trustee of Right To Life, said:
At Right To Life, we campaign against direct violations of the human right to life, and the dignity of the human person itself, in the law’s refusal to protect the vulnerable or attempts to remove vital protections. Yet this Award to Magnus helps to illustrate that the very same ethic which drives our efforts for the elderly, the disabled, the terminally-ill, and the unborn child, amongst others, is one that also brings concern for a broader respect for humanity. This is why we celebrate the charitable efforts Magnus has led, which show true solidarity to those members of the human family who most need assistance to live.