Striving to make a difference

Mums like Miriam from Malawi are going to great lengths to build a better future for the children in their communities.

For families in Malawi, food is often scarce at home and there can be many mouths to feed. The situation for 41-year-old Miriam Limbani’s family is no different.

Miriam looks after her younger sister’s four children and has two grown-up sons of her own. Like many mothers in Malawi, Miriam depends on farming to survive. She owns a piece of land where she grows maize, ground nuts and pigeon peas.

Last year she harvested six bags of crops, which will not be enough to see her family through the year. When their harvest runs out, Miriam will have to take on piecework (casual labour) to earn money for food. During the lean season when supplies are running low, she eats just once a day, so the children don’t have to go without meals. 

Despite the grave situation at home, Miriam manages to remain upbeat. She has seen first-hand the difference daily school meals can make to children’s lives.

As chair of the Mary’s Meals feeding committee at Lirangwe Primary School, Miriam oversees volunteers from 15 villages to ensure the food is cooked and served to the children each day.

“The programme has encouraged many children to come to school,” Miriam says. “Now they will learn with full bellies. Even if they don’t eat at home, they know they will eat here. The children are healthy, and they are doing well in class. They are full of energy, and they don’t fall asleep anymore.”

Miriam understands the importance of education, particularly for young girls hoping for a future free from hunger.

“If there wasn’t any porridge here, many children would get married early, especially the girls,” she says. “School is important because it makes them literate, and it moulds the children’s future.”

Our work is only possible thanks to remarkable volunteers like Miriam, who make daily sacrifices to ensure the children in their care can enjoy a nutritious meal in their place of education. Their passion and commitment are helping to change so many lives.

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