Food fears impact families in Malawi

Earlier this year some of the worst flooding in Malawi’s history hit the country. Here, our founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow explains the lasting consequences of the floods and how Mary’s Meals is continuing to bring hope to so many affected families.

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow
Mary's Meals founder and CEO

Back to all stories | Posted on 23 Nov 2015 in Update from Magnus

The UK government is currently doubling every donation made to Mary’s Meals! Your incredibly generous response to this amazing opportunity is providing hope and life to thousands of families who battle each day for survival. Children who would otherwise go hungry are being fed every day at school through your kindness.

In January, some of the worst floods in Malawi’s history swept away Joyce Petro’s home, her crops and everything she needed to support her family. On the first night of flooding, as the waters swirled around them, she clung with her children to a tall ant-hill. The next morning some men in canoes rescued them and took them to higher ground at Mchenga Primary School, where we have been providing Mary’s Meals since 2011. There, we started to serve our nutritious porridge twice a day, feeding both the pupils and the many displaced families who arrived, having lost their homes.

“If it wasn’t for Mary’s Meals my children would have no food at all to eat. I believe some of them might not be with us today,” Joyce said recently outside the one room where she and her family now live. “We had no home, crops or fields to return to. It’s because of Mary’s Meals we are now living close to the school, so at least my children can eat porridge and remain in education.”

But now another threat, perhaps even greater than the floods, is starting to grip Malawi. This year’s harvest has been a disaster and yields have been pitiful. Food prices are soaring and families are terrified about how they will feed their children in the coming months. More than ever, our promise of a daily school meal provides hope to families; hope that they can get through this, and hope for a better future.

Joyce’s nine-year-old son Yohane has been attending Mchenga Primary School since they sought refuge several months ago. He tells us: “I have not missed a single day in school and I really enjoy the porridge. Maybe if I continue to attend school and eat Mary’s Meals, I can become a doctor one day. Then we won’t have to worry about where my next meal will come from, but help other poor families instead.”

Even all the water in the enormous deluge that devastated this land could not extinguish the hope that burns bright wherever children eat Mary’s Meals. We are more desperate than ever to bring Mary’s Meals to more suffering communities across Malawi – and other places in the world where people lack even the most basic things.

On behalf of Joyce, her children, and a multitude of other grateful parents and children around the world, I thank you with all my heart.

P.S. The UK government continues to match donations from now until 28 December. Please let everyone know. Our website includes further info and fundraising resources to help you on your way.