In this blog from our content development manager Shona, we meet Lokoda, a young girl who can now go to school in rural Kenya because of the promise of Mary’s Meals.

Shona Shea
Shona Shea
Content Development Manager

Back to all stories | Posted on 20 Jun 2017 in Blog

In this remote part of Kenya, there are no main roads to speak of. In fact, when we visit Kapongeria ECD (Early Childhood Development) Centre in Turkana, northern Kenya, we must cross a large, dry riverbed on foot to reach the community where the ECD is based.

When the ECD opened in Kapongeria, it gave the local children an opportunity to learn and an incentive to do so, in the form of Mary’s Meals.

One of the older pupils is Lokoda. She is a quiet girl, until she plays with her friends. Then her smile starts to beam as she enjoys playing outside with her friend, Ajem, and they chase each other and play hide and seek behind the acacia trees.

A diligent daughter, Lokoda does her bit to help at home. When she awakes in the morning, she fetches water and then looks for firewood. She says: “If there is something at home to be cooked then I am the one who cooks. Then I also make sure I wash the utensils after use.”

In class, her favourite things to do are practising her reading and writing. “I like writing. Sometimes I write the word ‘Kenya’ and then other words from the classroom which have already been written by the teacher,” she says.

Lakoda

“I like reading because I like to receive an education because I am being encouraged by my parents to go to school and, secondly, I know I’ll get a good job when I finish my education and can support myself and the family.”

The introduction of Mary’s Meals has encouraged Lokoda’s parents to send her to school every day. She adds: “I like the food because it is good. When I receive the food I feel happy because I feel satisfied. I am also able to play with my friends when I go home. It also gives me strength to collect water for my family.”

Lokoda still faces many challenges. Turkana is a region severely affected by drought. A third consecutive year of scarce rainfall is causing thirst and hunger, leading to rates of malnutrition that are more than double the emergency threshold.

However, education is bringing hope to the community around Kapongeria ECD and with the promise of a nutritious meal every school day, the future is looking brighter for young Lokoda and her classmates.

Millions are at risk. Help us reach desperately hungry children today.