Food Changes the Story for Dalitso

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Back to all stories | Posted on 1 June 21 in NewsMessages from MalawiChildren's stories


Mother of four Dalitso Francis told us about the day the parents at Changalu Primary School in Dowa, Malawi were first introduced to Marys Meals:

“They invited all parents to the school. When we went to the school, we had a meeting with Mary’s Meals staff who told us that Mary’s Meals would like to come to Changalu School to help learners by giving them porridge so they can eat before starting classes.

“I was excited about the coming of Mary’s Meals because many children go to school without eating anything and they would now be able to eat porridge at school. We even encouraged the Mary’s Meals staff to bring the school feeding program to Changalu quickly so that our children would benefit sooner. I was chosen to be secretary of the School Feeding Committee that was elected that day.”

Dalitso and her husband are farmers, and the Covid-19 pandemic has stopped them from being able to sell their produce at the market. Their family eats once a day, either lunch or supper.

She explains the difference she sees in her children now they receive Mary’s Meals. “In the morning, we do not eat anything. I can say that the school feeding program is very beneficial because the children were leaving home for class without eating anything, but now they eat porridge and are able to concentrate in class. Even when they come home, we notice the difference. They do not complain about hunger as they did when they were not eating porridge at school. The performance of the children at school has improved because of the porridge.”

For Dalitso, the porridge provides hope that her children will complete their education. “Education is very important, and I tell my children that I failed school, but I will try my best to ensure that they should not fail school because of the challenges I met.”

Dalitso’s 16-year-old daughter Lenia is also aware of the positive change that the porridge has provided and shares her mother’s ambition. “When the porridge started, I was excited because I used to feel hungry, but now I do not feel hungry. I do not doze off in class or run away from school because of hunger. During the Covid-19 pandemic, if we were not receiving the take-home rations, I could have felt hungry and gloomy that we were not in school. But this porridge gives me strength and I feel happy.

Lenia says, “When I finish school, I would like to become a teacher. I admire my teachers and would like to teach children like I have been taught. I also want to be a teacher so that I can help my parents.”

Without Mary's Meals, Lenia would still be missing classes due to hunger, or dozing off because it's too hard to concentrate on learning when you are hungry. Dalitso and Lenia's story is one of millions of examples of how food changes the story



‘The Story’ is a group of monthly givers who are determined to end global hunger, by providing hungry children with life-changing meals in a place of learning, helping those suffering the effects of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. Learn about how you can become part of 'The Story' and change the story for families like Dalitso's and children like Lenia. Read more about 'The Story' here.