By serving nutritious meals in places of education, Mary’s Meals is bringing food, joy and hope to 2,429,182 children living in some of the world’s poorest communities.
It’s important that our meals are nutritious, cost effective and simple to prepare. To ensure we can keep our promise to the children we serve, the ingredients must also be reliably available at scale and – where possible – sourced locally. Of course, it’s also essential that the food we offer is appropriate to local tastes, which is why our meals can look quite different across the globe.
Today, we want to focus on the variety of meals served in our programme countries and to highlight what young people think about their school meals.
Lapukeni, from Malawi, eloquently shares the difference a daily school meal is making in her life.
The meal we serve in Malawi is CSB (a corn and soya blend porridge fortified with essential vitamins and minerals). Known locally as likuni phala, children just call it ‘phala’ (pronounced pa-la).
Lapukenisays, “I like eating phala here at school because it gives me freedom from hunger and worries.
“I am confident that I will work extra hard in class because of the peace (of mind) that I get from Mary’s Meals.”
Rimas, a pupil in Yemen, expresses her joy over the school meals.
A typical school meal here consists of a filled pitta bread sandwich with a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable.
“Our school receives delicious meals with Mary’s Meals including cheese, bread, and fresh fruit. I love it because I do not have this kind of food at home. I hope that the school feeding programme will continue at my school because it makes us all very happy.”
Sarah, who attends school in Liberia, explains the impact the meals are having on her.
In Liberia, we serve rice and peas with vegetable oil and salt. Meals can also be supplemented by fresh vegetables from the school garden (where there is one).
“The impact that Mary’s Meals has had on my education is enormous. I have been eating Mary’s Meals for three years now and the food makes me grow healthy and strong.
“My favourite thing about Mary’s Meals is that I have the opportunity to eat nutritious food every school day. This gives me the energy to come to school on time and stay in school all day.
“If I had not received Mary’s Meals, hunger would have overtaken me, and I would struggle to complete the day’s activities of school or perhaps the school year. I would have been depressed and malnourished.”
And Mehjabeen, a learner in India, shares his enthusiasm for the Mary’s Meals menu.
In the communities where we serve in India, volunteers prepare vegetable curry or lentil dhal with rice for the children.
“I eagerly wait for the day on which we get Daal Chawal (Lentils and Rice). I know the menu for all the days!”
Our vision is that every child receives one daily meal in their place of education and that all those who have more than they need, share with those who lack even the most basic things. Thanks to our low-cost model and the hard work of tens of thousands of volunteer cooks from the communities we are working with, the cost of preparing one of these life-changing meals is just 10p GBP / 11c EUR / 13c USD.