Meet Jennica from Haiti and discover how daily school meals are giving her something to smile about.

Jennica from Haiti has the most incredible smile. It’s hard to believe that this happy little eight-year-old lives in a part of the world where basic necessities that many of us take for granted – like clean running water and electricity – are a luxury.  

Despite the daily challenges she faces, Jennica has plenty to smile about because she is one of 36,097 children in Haiti who eat Mary’s Meals each day at school.  

“The food makes me healthy,” she says.  

Jennica lives with her aunt in a small timber-framed house in a remote part of rural Haiti, far from the beaten track. For many families in their community, every day is a struggle for survival.  

The promise of a nutritious daily meal encourages Jennica and her friends to come to school, enabling them to gain a precious education, which could pave the way towards a brighter future for the whole community.  

Jennica’s aunt, Emilia, has seen a marked improvement in the local children since the school feeding programme was introduced.   

“Before Mary’s Meals it wasn’t good because the children didn’t go to school,” she says. “I see a big difference now. The children aren’t hungry, so it’s easier for the family. My hope for Jennica’s future is that she will go further in her education.” 

The plate of rice and beans that Jennica and her friends enjoy for lunch each school day helps to fill their empty tummies, giving them energy to concentrate on their studies – and play with their friends.  

“Writing is my favourite subject because I like it,” Jennica says. “Guervendiat is my best friend. We play together a lot and we live very close to each other.”  

Mary’s Meals isn’t just helping Jennica to make the most of her education, it may also have influenced her choice of future career.  

“I want to be a chef when I finish school,” she says. “I want to work in a restaurant.”