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Songs of joy welcome Martha

Two thousand Malawian children sang and danced for joy as they welcomed Martha Payne and her family to the school which has benefited from her fundraising efforts.

Martha was greeted to Lirangwe Primary School by rows of excited children who sang songs and called out ‘well done Martha’ as they arrived.

Martha and supporters of her NeverSeconds blog have so far raised over £115,000 for Mary’s Meals and some of that money has been used to build a new kitchen shelter at the school and feed all pupils at the school with a daily meal for a whole school year.

The nine-year-old and her family took turns to put the finishing touches on the kitchen sign by painting the word ‘NeverSeconds’ which was followed by a celebrating involving a school choir, who sang songs they had written about Martha.

Martha has chosen to name her kitchen in Malawi as ‘Friends of NeverSeconds’ in recognition of the worldwide support which she is receiving.

There was much laughter when the choir gave their take of the popular repetitive children’s song ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, instead singing ‘If You Are Happy with Martha, Clap Your Hands’ which followed them moving to verses of ‘If You are Happy with Martha Shake Your Body.’

Martha described the overwhelming experience of the whole day as amazing, and said: “I woke up this morning and was very excited. This is the day I was waiting for.”

During her visit to the primary school, Martha joined a maths class where she participated in lessons.

She also stood in a queue of children who were served a mug of likuni phala, a nutritious type of porridge supplemented with additional vitamins and minerals.

Martha then sat alongside pupils at the school as she tucked into the porridge. Next to her was Gilbert who was one of the pupils that sent Martha a message of heartfelt thanks when her fundraising efforts took off.

Gilbert, 14, is an orphan who has no-one to look after him and he lives on the street, sleeping on benches. Gilbert was motivated to come to school when Mary’s Meals started feeding at Lirangwe Primary School because he would no longer have to spend his days worrying about how he was going to eat.

He said: “I like the porridge because after I eat the porridge I am active and can concentrate in class. It really helps me because it takes me a while to get hungry and worry about food.

“I would like to become the President of my country and look after our people, so there will be no more suffering.”

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