Learn about the pre-school children receiving Mary’s Meals in Malawi.

Mary Stokes
Mary Stokes
Communications officer, Malawi

Back to all stories | Posted on 9 April 18 in Messages from Malawi

Many children spend the first six years of their lives soaking up massive amounts of information from the world around them like sponges. These early years are critical and play such a vital role in shaping who they will become in the future.

In Malawi, Mary’s Meals provides a nutritious daily meal to pre-schoolers in more than 50 Early Childhood Development centres (ECD).  These ‘nazarés’ or nurseries are run by volunteer caregivers, who look after the children, and – through song, dance and play – guide them through this important time. These little ones will continue to receive phala (porridge) once they graduate to Standard 1.

“We see big changes in the children,” explains Andrew Chazuka, chairman of the school feeding committee at the Ndirande Parish under-six centre in Blantyre. “We see mental and physical changes. The learners assimilate information quickly, and their bodies grow healthily.”

Philip knows the truth of this statement better than anyone. Now in Standard 3, he first began receiving phala at the nursery centre in his village. 

“He was malnourished when he went to the under-six centre,” his grandmother, Stella, remembers. “Now his cheeks are swelling up. Phala has given him health.”

Back to today’s learners, and the smiles of the children as they received their plate of phala say it all.

“Phala tastes so good,” declares six-year-old Hope. “I love it!”