Lunches Changing Lives in Madagascar

A daily meal in school is essential for growing children but the impact can ripple much further out into the wider community. Read more about how the introduction of Mary’s Meals at one school in Madagascar has also dramatically changed the life of one of the parents.

Back to all stories | Posted on 4 July 22 in NewsBlog

Eliane finishes her first day volunteering in the newly built Mary’s Meals canteen at Ambohimiarina Primary School in Madagascar. Today, she has become a valuable member of a team of parents that helps to cook lunches for all the students in her daughter’s school, with the support of our partners, Feedback Madagascar.

The meals she is helping to prepare have been life-changing, and not just for her five-year-old daughter Sandratra and her classmates. Eliane was previously working for only a few hours each day, earning about $1 per day, because she had to return home at lunchtime to give her daughter something to eat. With so little income, she found it difficult to provide enough nutritious food to feed her small family. This vicious circle seemed impossible to escape.

Then, the introduction of the school feeding program changed everything for this working mother:

“Now I can go to work every day. Since my child has meals here at school, I no longer have to go home at midday for lunch. So, I can increase my work hours and earn more money.”

Eliane has doubled her income thanks to the provision of a daily school meal, and she is keen to invest something of herself back into the development of future generations too.

Now her income has improved, Eliane is able to take a day off work each month to volunteer with Mary’s Meals, rotating the schedule with the other parents.

“I love participating in the school canteen,” says Eliane. “It is a delight to prepare meals for the children. It is not difficult since I do the same at home. And when I get home in the evening, I can now prepare a good dinner for my family, since I have earned a lot of money.”

Madagascar is one poorest countries in the world and has some of the highest rates of stunting and wasting in children worldwide. Widespread poverty is the main cause of undernutrition and, with the school feeding program, both nutrition and education can be addressed simultaneously.

Mary’s Meals has been working with Feedback Madagascar since 2018, and Feedback Madagascar have been supporting some of the country’s poorest communities for nearly 30 years.

The school feeding program has also had an impact on the wider community. Ambohimiarina Primary is the only school in the village, in the southern high plateau of Madagascar. Local parents were so motivated by the introduction of school meals that enrolment improved by 25%. ‘

’I was sad before when I knew that other schools in this area had the program and not our school,” says Eliane. ‘‘I am happy that Ambohimiarina school is now benefitting from Mary’s Meals too. This school canteen is very helpful. Not only for the children but for us parents too.”

Help us provide food for the next child waiting for Mary’s Meals as well as drive change in the communities we serve.