Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow is a Scottish social entrepreneur and founder of Mary's Meals, a global charity providing meals to children in their place of education. Magnus's mission to bring hungry children to school was inspired by a trip to Malawi in 2002. He has been recognized for his humanitarian work, including being named one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world and receiving an OBE for his services to education in 2011.
Why you should book Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow for your next event
- Inspirational Story: Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow’s story of founding Mary’s Meals and providing life-changing meals to millions of children is nothing short of inspiring. His keynote will leave your audience motivated to make a positive impact in the world.
- Social Entrepreneurship Insights: As a successful social entrepreneur, Magnus can offer valuable insights on how to create and run a successful charity or social enterprise, from fundraising and scaling to team building and community engagement.
- Global Impact: Mary’s Meals is a global movement, and Magnus has traveled extensively to meet with communities and children who have benefited from the charity. His keynote can offer a unique perspective on global issues related to poverty, education, and hunger, as well as how we can all play a role in making a difference.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow OBE is the founder and CEO of Mary’s Meals. In 2010, Magnus was praised as a CNN hero and in 2015, he was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. He has also been awarded Honorary Degrees from several universities.
Mary’s Meals is a global charity providing life-changing meals to more than 2.4 million children in their place of education every school day. The nutritious meals bring children to the classroom, giving them a chance to gain a basic education that can offer a route out of poverty.
He is also a best-selling author. His first book, The Shed that Fed a Million Children, went straight in the Sunday Times best seller list after its release in 2014 and has since been published in 9 languages. He is a much travelled public speaker, having given keynote speeches at a huge variety of events – from youth rallies attended by 50,000 to CNN Heroes Award ceremony watched live by many millions Gerard Butler presenting on CNN Heroes – Bing video (this event also began a celebrated friendship between Magnus and Hollywood film star Gerard Butler who has become a devoted supporter of Mary’s Meals and who has travelled with Magnus to places such as Haiti and Liberia).
Magnus, who leads an incredibly diverse global movement including people of all faiths and none, is inspired by his Christian faith. He was granted an audience with Pope Francis in 2013 who encouraged him ‘to keep going forward’ in his mission.
Magnus started his career as a fish farmer in Argyll, Scotland. In 1992, during the Bosnian War, he and his brother Fergus were so moved by the scenes on television that they took a week’s leave from their jobs, loaded a jeep with aid and joined a convoy travelling Bosnia. On their return, they found that donations continued to flood in, resulting in Magnus giving up his job and eventually driving from Scotland to Bosnia a total of 23 times to deliver vital supplies. He set up a registered charity, named Scottish International Relief (SIR), which later became known as (and officially changed its name to) Mary’s Meals. During the early days of this work, Magnus met Julie, a nurse who volunteered to help him deliver emergency aid. Julie became committed to the charity, and its founder too. The couple married and now have seven children together.
During a trip to Malawi in 2002, Magnus met with a family whose predicament was to spark a change in not only his own life, but in the lives of thousands of others. Lying on the floor of a hut was Emma, a mother who was dying of AIDS, surrounded by her six children. Magnus asked her eldest, Edward, what it was that he hoped for from life. “To have enough to eat and to be able to go to school one day,” was his answer. These words inspired a mission to bring hungry children to school by providing Mary’s Meals. Working with like-minded people and in partnership with some of the world’s poorest communities, Magnus leads a global movement that is helping to change the story for vulnerable children.
Support for Mary’s Meals is global, with affiliate organizations operating in Australia, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as international fundraising groups in Belgium, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Slovakia.
See keynotes with Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow