“When I play football, I feel free”

Jen Gloria is a young football-loving girl in Kenya who dreams of being a neurosurgeon. 

Thirteen-year-old Jen Gloria lives in Eldoret, Kenya with her family. With three brothers and one sister, Jen Gloria loves having siblings but says she is the boss of the family!

A happy girl, her favourite things to do include playing football and spending time with her best friend, Cynthia. The two can often be seen hand-in-hand in the school yard, giggling or challenging the boys to a football game.  

“I like playing football because when I play I can forget problems and I feel free. Sometimes the girls team play against the boys’ team. The boys are better, we’ve never defeated them but I will feel so happy if we defeat the boys – one day!”  

Thanks to generous funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Jen Gloria and Cynthia receive a filling meal every school day, which gives them the energy to study and learn – and to take on the boys at sport!

Jen Gloria is a diligent student and works hard in school and at home. She has dreams of being a neurosurgeon and says she would love to help save people’s lives.

“I like studying. I study for one hour in the mornings before school. I am not tired; I’ll have enough time to rest when I’ve finished my exams!”

Life has changed for Jen Gloria since Mary’s Meals started serving meals at her school. While her father – who sells oil and kerosene for a local pipeline company – sometimes brings home some bread that Jen Gloria can eat for breakfast, the promise of a nutritious meal every school day is encouraging her parents to send her to school more frequently.  

This means Jen Gloria can focus on her education and upcoming exams, rather than spend more time working in the fields. “I had to cut the maize, collect it together and then put it in sacks and carry it to the store. Sometimes it’s tiring in the hot sun, but you have to do the work. Now my family are happy that I am coming to school.”  

Jen Gloria understands the value of education, especially for the career she aspires to. “People, like teachers and doctors,” she explains, “you have to have certificates.”  

“My favourite subjects are mathematics and science – the teachers are easy to understand and are good. I used to hate science but I have a new teacher now and I love it. Education is important because you can’t get a job without it.”  

Looking to the future, Jen Gloria smiles: “I hope to go far in the future, achieve my dream and help many people. But for now, I am so excited to go to secondary school. I want to see other countries and people.”