Rupa may only be 12 years old, but she has a steely determination when it comes to education. 

Back to all stories | Posted on 14 November 23 in BlogChildren's stories

Rupa is the eldest of four siblings, all living with their parents in the small village of Chetma in the eastern part of India. Her parents are daily labourers who rely on finding part-time work and grow a small amount of food on their farm. In her young life, Rupa has been accustomed to the debilitating impact of hunger, and even now she does not eat until the school meals are served. “Most of the days I come to school without eating anything in the morning,” she says.

However, since the school feeding program reached her school, things have started to look up for Rupa: “I am sure of one stomach-full meal in school, and this helps me to keep alert till the last period in the class.”

These meals provide consistency to what is otherwise a very fragile supply of food for the children and Rupa’s determination to get an education is matched by other children in her village. Every morning, she is part of a group of 30 children who walk together from the village to school, encouraged by the promise of nutritious food from Mary’s Meals: “We all walk to school as we have no roads or transportation. My school is in the middle of dense forest. Mary’s Meals have played a very important role in my enthusiasm to come to the school.”

The meals provided in school are vitally important in enabling Rupa to focus on her education and her dreams for her future. These dreams are firmly rooted in her faith: “I want to be a nun to serve the poor and needy. I am very happy to have Mary’s Meals, and I am thankful to Mary’s Meals.”

Thanks to the loving contributions from Mary’s Meals supporters, the dedication of many volunteers, and Rupa’s own commitment and hard work, every school day she is stepping closer to achieving her dreams.