Dalida from Haiti hopes she’ll make it as a top chef – discover how Mary’s Meals is helping to nurture her dream.

Food is never far from 13-year-old Dalida’s mind. “I want to be a big chef when I am older,” she says. “I like to cook different types of meals. I want to work in a restaurant.” 
 
In Haiti, where one in three people live in poverty and more than half of the population do not have enough to eat, Mary’s Meals gives girls like Dalida the ingredients they need to create a brighter future.  
 
Like many children in her community, Dalida usually eats just once a day at home. Before school feeding was introduced at École Communautaire La Ruche, she often felt hungry and found it difficult to concentrate in class.  
 
“I come to school without having eaten at home,” she says. “I used to leave school to try and find food. Now that there is Mary’s Meals, I am encouraged to stay at school and I work much harder. 
 
“My favourite subject is French. I want to learn to speak it.” 
 
When lessons are over, Dalida helps her dad to tend their small patch of farmland, collects water from the well, and prepares the meal for her family. Then she does her homework and, if there is time, plays hopscotch or skipping games with her friends. 

I am happy when I am playing with my friends,” she says. “I don’t feel any frustrations or anything. My best friend is Valencia. We’re in the same class. I can trust her. She supports and encourages me.” 

Dalida knows that education is her best option for a better life.  
 
“School is important,” she explains. “If you go to school it’s easier to find a job in the future.” 
 
The promise of a nutritious daily meal helps to draw children like Dalida into the classroom, giving them the energy to learn, play and follow their dreams – and we’re confident that this creative young cook will soon be bringing her own unique flavour to the world of catering.