One year ago, ten-year-old Scottish schoolgirl Martha Payne made headlines for blogging about her school meals and challenging food kids eat every day. At first, her primary school in Lochgilphead, western Scotland, forbade her from taking photos of what was on the lunch menu. But after her blog NeverSeconds went viral worldwide, the school gave in and announced all students would be given unlimited servings of fruit and vegetables.
Today, Payne is using her media success to champion food causes and raise money for a Mary's Meals, a charity dedicated to support projects aimed at the poorest communities of the world to prevent child hunger.
The little blogger-activist told Metro how the internet and social media have been essential in helping others, and invites kids to be altruistic and visionary.
Q: How did you face the critics when you reported your school food in your school?
A: It was hard at times because not everyone was happy I was blogging. I did have permission from the school so I kept at it and didn't give in. Because I was always honest it made it easier to face people.
Q: How did you realize the food in your school was unhealthy?
A: I live on a small farm and we grow some of our food. My food at home is very different. The food at school is very processed and I think simpler food is better.
Q: Now you support other kids worldwide. Can you tell us a little bit about that work?
A: My grandfather was a volunteer for Mary's Meals and I have grown up knowing about it. Before my blog I made soaps and sold them to raise money for the charity. When someone commented on my blog that I was lucky to get any school lunch at all I decided to tell the readers about Mary's Meals. I am glad I did!
Q: Do you consider yourself a role model for kids?
A: I didn't plan to be a role model but if kids decide to do more to be heard and for others then I am happy!
Q: How would you encourage other kids and teenagers to join to this cause?
A: Kids are really good at sharing and getting along. We do it everyday in the playgrounds at our schools. We should remember we are the experts at that. Because of the internet we can share beyond our playground and countries. Also, don't be scared to start a blog. You can change what you write without smudges, you can say what you care about and you can publish it!
Q: How important is social media for you?
A: My dad tweeted once about my blog and that's how it started becoming famous. It is so quick to share stories that they can travel very fast. People do care about what children eat and about children that can't get enough.
Q: Which is your favorite gadget?
A: My camera! I don't have any other gadgets and use the family laptop to blog.
Q: Do you already know what are you going to study when you grow up?
A: I think I'd like to be an author or a journalist or a runner. Maybe I could be all three!