Discover how school meals are helping one aptly-named girl in Zimbabwe to shine. 

For 11-year-old Happiness, joy can be found in a bowl of porridge.  

She is one of 18,435 children in the rural Tsholotsho District of Zimbabwe that enjoy Mary’s Meals every school day – and Happiness delights in her lessons.  

“I like everything happening in my school,” she says with a smile. “My future depends on my education. My favourite subject is English, although I learn all subjects. Getting a meal helps us a lot because we can concentrate in class.”  

Happiness and her younger siblings live with their elderly grandparents. Her mum and dad moved to South Africa in search of work. They send the family money when they can, but food is not plentiful at home, so the promise of a nutritious school meal makes a big difference.   

“We normally don’t eat during the day at home because we’re reserving it for the evening meal,” Happiness explains. “Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate when we are hungry. The Mary’s Meals food gives us energy and nutrients. It is so helpful to us as pupils.” 

The school meal helps Happiness make the most of her education. It also gives her energy to help out with the household chores and, most importantly, to play!  

She says: “When I’m not at school, I like to help my grandparents. They can’t manage to do some things, like fetching water and gathering firewood. I also like playing soccer with my friends.” 

Happiness finds pleasure in many things – but nothing makes her happier than spending time with her little brothers and sister.  

“I am a good friend to my siblings,” she says. “My younger sister is 10 years old and I have twin brothers who are eight. I play with them and look after them when our parents are not around.” 

Thank you for helping Happiness live up to her name. She asked us to pass on this message: 

 “Thank you so much for the feeding programme. We really appreciate it. I’m thinking of a bright future. I hope to pass all my exams and go to secondary school. I’d like to get a good job and help my family.”