Michael loves to play; he says it makes him happy. He finds schoolwork fun and interesting too but worries when he feels like he can’t focus on it properly. 

Back to all stories | Posted on 12 September 22 in NewsMessages from MalawiBlogChildren's stories

At 17, he is one of the older pupils at his school in the Eastern Province of Zambia and he knows how important his education will be for life after the classroom.

The hunger felt by him, and his classmates would often be a barrier to them making the most of their education. “In the past, as learners, we would get very hungry, and we would opt to go home to search for something to eat,” Michael says.

Since Mary’s Meals arrived at his school however, Michael and his friends stay for all the classes because of the porridge they eat each day.

“I like the Mary’s Meals porridge because it helps me concentrate in class. I learn better and I can spend longer hours in school. This is important to me because it will help me achieve my dream of being a doctor,” he explains.

Michael comes to school to gain knowledge that he wants to use as a ladder out of the poverty he has grown up in, and he has his sights set on becoming a medical doctor. This is motivated by his mother who has been getting ill recently and he says he wants to understand the reasons why and learn how to heal her. A few years ago, this ambition was just a pipe dream. Now he says he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“It is hard to concentrate on schoolwork when you are hungry. You can’t focus. Now, even when some of us have to leave home without eating, we know that we shall not go hungry once we get to school because of Mary’s Meals porridge,” Michael says.

He has felt the benefit of receiving a daily meal at school and knows the difference it has made to his life, so Michael has started encouraging his friends who dropped out of school to re-enrol. “I explain to them that there is no more hunger at school because they can have some porridge that will help them acquire some knowledge to better their lives.”