Five reasons we love to volunteer for Mary’s Meals

What motivates our volunteers to serve Mary’s Meals to more than 880,000 children across Malawi, every school day? Fatima finds out in her latest blog.

Back to all stories | Posted on 18 Nov 2016 in Blog

More than 80,000 volunteers in Malawi help to cook and serve Mary’s Meals every school day! I’ve had the privilege of spending many a morning with some of them, listening to what drives them to wake up at 4am (sometimes even earlier) to make their way to school and begin preparing nutritious Mary’s Meals phala (porridge) for hungry and eager learners.

Listed below are five of the most popular reasons why our volunteers love being involved with the school feeding programme:

1. “It’s a duty!” 

“I have a duty to play to make sure learners don’t have hunger stopping them from accessing education. It’s difficult for many families to provide food in their homes and to their children. I’m simply fulfilling my duty to our children.”

Jack Chilenje is a full-time bricklayer at a building construction company. The father of three is also a Mary’s Meals volunteer at Chimbaluka Primary School in Chikwawa where his daughter, Tadala Chilenje is a learner in Standard 6.

2. “With Mary’s Meals we’re helping to give our children a better future. This makes us very happy!"

There’s a great feeling of happiness and togetherness amongst our volunteers. It helps to create some great moments like the one shown in this video!

3. “Well of course, I make the best porridge so the other volunteers need me!”

“I make the best porridge! I know the children will refuse if I stopped. I like making good porridge so the children feel inspired to stay in school!”

Father of five, Mackford Nicks volunteers at Khokwa Primary School where he feels he makes the tastiest porridge to energise his children and their fellow learners at the school.

4. “We’re giving our children willpower to come to school.”

“We volunteer without fail, solely to give our children willpower to attend school without being absent. If they see us – their parents – making an effort to make phala for them, they will make an effort to learn. If we step back and don’t cook porridge for them, that means they will also step back.”

Lisnet Hassan, lives in Njodomo Village. Lisnet has no children of her own and volunteers two days a week at Mpapa Primary School so that she can encourage the children in her community to attend school.

5. “The porridge gives our children energy in class to learn and gain knowledge.”

Catherine Abraham lives around Namame Primary School where she volunteers one day a week to help cook and serve Mary’s Meals’ nutritious likuni phala to eager learners including her two young children.