Finding the energy for education thanks to Mary’s Meals

A long day of work, study and play for Robertson in Malawi, is made possible by Mary’s Meals.

Like many 12-year-old boys, Robertson enjoys playing a game of soccer with his friends after school. His shoes might be about two sizes too big for him, but that doesn’t stop the young goalkeeper from taking up his favourite position between the posts in Malawi.

But before he gets to enjoy a kick around with his friends after school, Robertson’s already had a long and busy day.

By the time he sets off for school at 6am, Robertson has been up since 4am and has lit the fire, fetched water in the dark and had a bath.  

Every school day, Robertson can rely on food from Mary’s Meals before lessons at Makanjira Primary School in Chileka, Malawi, where he attends classes with three of his siblings.

The phala (porridge) that he gets from Mary’s Meals gives him the energy he needs to help around the house, to play and to study.

“I concentrate better in class now, because of the phala.” Robertson says.

“Phala tastes good. I like it because it’s cooked nicely.”

Asked what he likes best at school, he tells us: “My favourite subjects are English, maths and social studies.”

His family only usually have one meal together every day, at around 3pm – after school and before Robertson goes out to play.

He’s got four brothers and two sisters, and his mother and father run a small business buying and selling tomatoes. They also have a field growing maize and pigeon peas. This year they managed to grow 20 bags of maize but Robertson isn’t sure how long it will last.

Robertson wants to work for a company when he leaves school, though he hasn’t decided what kind of business or what kind of job he wants to do there yet.

He knows that an education is the key to achieving his goals, and adds: “School is important because it means I will be able to get a good job.

“I am happy when I am learning.”