Broxburn’s backpack bonanza

There’s been a backpack bonanza in Broxburn to help children in Malawi and Liberia get the best out of school.

Nearly 250 bags crammed with items such as pens, notepads, toiletries and t-shirts were donated by Ss John Cantius & Nicholas Church in 2019 to the Mary’s Meals Backpack Project. And since 2014, parishioners have packed more than 1,000 bags.

Organiser Pauline Steyn said: “Parishioners led the project and the wider community responded brilliantly. St Nicholas Primary in particular has been great in getting children involved.”

Pauline, from Uphall, has been leading collections with volunteers since 2014, when over 550 bags were donated, meaning she had little room left in her house! Now she focuses on smaller, more regular, targets to help support children abroad.

She said: “I was aware of the good work Mary’s Meals does, and when I first heard of the Backpack Project I realised it wasn’t too difficult for people to donate items already in their home that can be reused. So it’s not about asking for money.”

Mary’s Meals sends the filled backpacks to children who really need them. It enables them to attend school and gain an education that can help them escape from poverty when they grow up.

Main image: Pauline Steyn, right, with mum Kathleen and niece Holly. To find out more about the Backpack Project visit