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School meals

Bringing relief to families in Zimbabwe

As the sole provider for her family, Perpetual Nyamande has a huge number of responsibilities. For Perpetual, hope comes in the form of school meals.

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Soaring prices are crippling families like Perpetual’s who rely heavily on farming to make ends meet. Now, food insecurity is a daily challenge in Zimbabwe, and with worsening conditions, children are bearing the brunt of the lack of food and work. For Perpetual, hope comes in the form of school meals.

As the sole provider for her family, Perpetual Nyamande has a huge number of responsibilities. 

She and her four children live in Goromonzi, a district in the East Province of Zimbabwe. Because of poor rains and unpredictable weather patterns, food insecurity is very high in the country. When farming season ends in March, Perpetual faces a never-ending struggle to put food on the table for her children. This has become almost impossible over the last few years.

 

Perpetual and her children

“Here in Goromonzi, we are a community that heavily depends on farming,” she explains. “The sharp increase in fuel, fertiliser and other farming inputs has made us lose hope. Moreover, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic have worsened our situation.

“We are not sure what led to price changes, but some mention the war in Ukraine. I hope and believe at one point the war will end. We need prices to stabilise so that we can work and feed our children.” 

Perpetual, like many across Zimbabwe, is feeling the weight of illness and disease, poor agricultural seasons and a lack of paid labour opportunities – factors that hit the most vulnerable communities especially hard. Two of her children, as well as Perpetual herself, are reliant on medicine to treat HIV. A nutritious diet is essential for the medication to work as it should, and with food insecurity ravaging communities across Zimbabwe, the promise of daily meal at school for her children makes life a little more manageable for the family. 

“As a family, we require a balanced diet since my two children and I are on ART (antiretroviral therapy). Our hunger is only eased in the rainy season, but because of climatic changes, it’s now not always certain.

“I’m pleased to have the meals. It’s a relief to my children; I can see that their confidence levels have increased, they are happier and taking their medication is no longer a hinderance since they have nutrition in their diet. 

“This community suffers when there is no farming. When there are no farming jobs there are no other avenues to generate money. The most disadvantaged are the children, who suffer a lot.”

Mary’s Meals has been helping to change the story for some of the most disadvantaged families in Zimbabwe since 2018. Working together with local partner organisations Mavambo Orphan Care and ORAP, our meals reach more than 120,000 children every school day across urban areas of Harare and rural areas like where Perpetual lives. In some areas the country, children need to walk anywhere between seven and 17km in each direction between home and school. Without the promise of a daily meal, they will regularly skip class and go off in search of something to eat in order to survive. 

Perpetual’s son, Marlon, cannot hide how he feels about the meal he receives from Mary’s Meals. He says: “When we would go to school without eating, we would come back home hungry, without anything to eat at home as well. Going to school now is fun!”

 

Perpetual's children walking to school

 

With your continued support, Mary’s Meals can continue to lighten the burden of families across Zimbabwe by providing children with these life-changing school meals.