Martha Payne: “Changing The World, One School Dinner At A Time”
At MAD3, we learned that an unassuming ten-year-old has more guts than most of us. Yet Martha Payne, who has helped raise enough money to feed 14,000 impoverished children in Malawi, doesn’t consider herself particularly brave. “I’ve just been a little brave,” she says. “You should meet the kids in Africa.”
It all started with a blog. Payne wanted to hone her journalism skills by documenting the lunches at her elementary school in western Scotland. With the help of her father David, she quietly launched Never Seconds (the name “More, Please” was already taken). She set off to post regularly and bring as much attention as possible to her favorite charity, Mary’s Meals, which provides food to children in 16 of the poorest countries in the world.
The first photo Martha published on the site — a sorry platter made up of a slice of pizza, a single croquette, and some bits of corn – was accompanied by a simple question devoid of cynicism or anger: “I’m a growing kid and I need to concentrate all afternoon and I can’t do it on 1 croquette. Do any of you think you could?”
And so began a cycle of viral posts, media attention, and efforts from the local council to quash Never Seconds. It all came to a head when Martha was eventually banned from posting on the site. In what she thought to be her “Goodbye” post, Martha wrote, “I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either.”
The farewell post received more than 2 million hits, and reader donations to Martha’s Mary’s Meals page ended up hitting £131,636.9 — 1880% of its original funding goal.
Watch Martha’s presentation from #MAD3 above to hear her full story and learn about the work she’s done with Mary’s Meals.