The Power of Porridge | Alinafe’s Story

A young Malawian journalist shares the moment life turned around for her and the incredible power food had in changing her story.

Back to all stories | Posted on 13 September 21 in Blog

“Porridge brought something new in me to life. It drove me to be someone, and that spirit is still in me today!”
Growing up in a small semi-urban township near the Malawian capital, Blantyre, Alinafe recalls life not being easy. She would go to school on an empty stomach and found it difficult to concentrate in class, easily distracted by hunger. However, with the help of Mary’s Meals and the power of porridge, Alinafe was able to change her story...

It was the 2nd of August 2007 when Alinafe's head teacher announced at assembly the joyful news that they would soon be receiving Mary's Meals. At that moment, the air filled with whistle and song marking the beginning of a new chapter for Alinafe and her 3,500 classmates at Zingwangwa Primary, knowing they would no longer be hungry at school. 

Porridge is helping young children change the story in Malawi

"The impact of Mary’s Meals was tremendous! Enrolment increased and there were a lot of new faces in the school. Nobody wanted to miss out on the porridge. My parents would always make sure that I had my cup and spoon with me when I left for school each morning. Before I had been absent due to hunger. Now I became more active and attentive in class. I became one of the top students and was selected for a place at Ekwendeni Girls Secondary School”.

"The promise of food at school has really benefited children in Malawi. Porridge helps them to stay in class and realize their potential. One of my friends is now in her final year at the University of Agriculture and another is an accountant."

In 2015 Alinafe enrolled as a student at the Malawi Institute of Journalism, and today she is a journalist at Yoneco FM, a youth radio station where she is a voice for the voiceless. Alinafe has no doubt that her passion for helping children was sparked by Mary's Meals.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank you. Without Mary’s Meals, honestly, the situation would be horrible. Please keep doing what you are doing so that every child can benefit from school meals the way that I have.”

With your continued support, daily school meals are helping to change the story of 2 million children every day.