Gift hopes to be the first person in his family to finish school – find out how we’re helping him to reach his goal.

Gift wants to be the first person in his family to finish school. His most prized possession is the tin pencil case, filled with pens, which he keeps tucked safely in his shirt pocket.

Gift’s mum is a farmer who scrapes together a living by growing maize and cotton on her small piece of land in southern Zambia. The rains have been poor this year and the maize crop has failed, leaving her struggling to support her five children.

Before Mary’s Meals reached Kabila Primary School, 11-year-old Gift would often skip lessons and go scavenging for food. Now, even when there is very little to eat at home, Gift knows that he can rely on a nutritious mug of porridge every day at school. This is his story, in his own words:

“I’m happy that even though she is a farmer, my mum can send me to school. Most of my family members have not gone to school.

“I admire my head teacher because she is educated. I want to become as educated as she is. I want to make a better future for myself. School is the only way to do that. If I fail, I’ll just have to start farming.

“My favourite subjects are maths and social studies. When I finish school, I want to be a doctor. I want to be in a position where I can help my family.

“Before Mary’s Meals I would go home during the school day and see if I could find groundnuts to eat. I don’t feel as hungry at school anymore. I get energy when I eat the porridge.

“I like to listen to music and I sing gospel songs. I’m in the children’s choir.

“My best friend is Dalitso. We are in the same class. He is bright and understands the lessons. He can help me with anything I have failed. Sometimes we play football together too.”

Thank you for giving Gift the energy to stay focused in class, pursue his hobbies and play with his friends. Your support is making such a difference.