Taonga’s smile will melt your heart

As we Zoom Into Zambia, little Taonga shares her story, and her joy for life.

“I love all my classes,” Taonga says with a smile. “I want to be a teacher, so I can teach people to love school too.” 

The first thing you notice about this vivacious little 11-year-old is her warm personality and joy for life. 

The second is her size. Taonga often eats just once a day at home and she is very small for her age.

Thankfully, she is one of 75,655 children in Zambia enjoying Mary’s Meals every school day.

The steaming mug of porridge that she and her friends receive at Kabila Primary School is enriched with vitamins and minerals to help give growing children the best start in life. 

“Phala (porridge) builds my strength so that I am able to write,” Taonga says. “It makes me full, and my hunger finishes.”

Kabila Primary is a small school in a remote part of rural Zambia. Taonga is one of just 300 pupils. But despite its far-flung location, the number of children enrolling here is on the rise – something the head teacher puts down to the school feeding programme. 

Like most of their neighbours, Taonga’s family have a small piece of land where they grow food but their maize plants are not doing well. The harvest has been poor in this part of eastern Zambia and the next few months will be a struggle for many. 

At times like these, the guarantee of a nutritious meal every school day is more important than ever.

Though little Taonga faces many challenges, including a disability which affects one side of her body, she is focussed on making the most of her education and finding happiness in her surroundings. 

She says: “Life makes me happy, because I am able to see the world, and the things around me.”

Thank you for bringing a smile to Taonga’s face and feeding her hopes for a brighter future.