Crossing continents: the story of Sandra

Sandra first encountered Mary’s Meals in her home country of Malawi, and now volunteers her time with the organisation in her new home in Ireland 

Back to all stories | Posted on 3 May 22 in Blog

Sandra has been a voluntary member of Mary’s Meals Ireland since September 2021, but you could say she is somewhat of a Mary’s Meals veteran.

Born and raised in Malawi, Sandra first witnessed Mary’s Meals in action back in 2009 at a primary school in the city of Blantyre. The sight of students flocking to receive their plate of porridge at the school piqued her interest. Fast forward seven years and Sandra’s studies in nutrition and health cemented her desire to work for Mary’s Meals to better the health of children in Malawi and beyond.

Sandra worked for Mary’s Meals Malawi for a few years, supervising school feeding activities and meeting with different stakeholders and partners in the northern, central and southern areas of the country. She then made the move to Ireland last year to complete her master’s degree in public health. Here, she made contact with the Mary’s Meals Ireland team and has volunteered her time and skills ever since. As a volunteer, Sandra focuses her attention on fundraising and her responsibilities include consolidating data on deposits from donors and assisting in fundraising activities.

She says: “I became more interested [in the work of Mary’s Meals] in 2016 when I was completing my bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Health,” Sandra explains. “Since then, I always wanted to be a part of Mary’s Meals in achieving its main mission of providing daily meals to school children, hence improving their nutrition.

“In Malawi, I had the chance to participate in developing action plans for the Covid-19 preparations both at the national and district levels. My role was quite exciting because it challenged me to make tough decisions and regularly interact with the team. It was amazing to see most of my team members thriving and growing as they moved to other high positions.

Open quote mark The best part of my role as a Mary’s Meals volunteer is that every day it reminds me of the generosity of the people who are giving their time, money and other resources to make sure that Mary’s Meals keep on achieving its mission of feeding the children in various schools across the world. Close quote mark

“Marys Meals Ireland has an amazing small team that has welcomed me as their own team member, and I am so glad to meet such amazing people that give me the confidence to continue learning the work and acquire international skills. I like working with Excel data, and I am acquiring more Microsoft Excel skills each day as I keep volunteering with Mary’s Meals Ireland.”

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