“The children on this island are no longer hungry, Mary’s Meals has seen to that.” Isolated by water, the people of Likoma Island work hard to transport Mary’s Meals across the lake for their children.
Likoma Island is a beautiful island which lies in the northeastern part of Lake Malawi. Although the island is just a few kilometers from Mozambique, and are entirely surrounded by Mozambican territorial waters, it is an enclave of Malawi.
The remote island is cut off from the rest of Malawi, and is only accessible via an old boat called the Llala which has been sailing to the island since the 1960s. It isn’t all that reliable, with the boat often breaking down limiting travel to the island. Sailing can take over seven hours, the water is often dangerous and choppy, but that won’t stop Mary’s Meals providing meals to over 3,000 children on Likoma.
When the bags of maize finally arrive, local volunteers wade into the water and quickly distribute the bags, ready to make the long walk to the village. Without this willing community, Mary’s Meals simply wouldn’t be able to provide porridge in the schools on the island. Geofrey Tamayenda, Mary’s Meals Malawi Regional Manager says, “They come every month to collect the food. They wade through the water in their clothes and then walk for miles to the deliver the food to each school because there are hardly any cars on the island.”
Despite the heat, plenty of volunteers turn up and carry two 20kg bags each to the schools, it is a long and arduous walk but spirits are always high. One volunteer said, “Before Mary’s Meals came to Likoma, children were dropping out of school because they were hungry. Now our children are healthy and happy. We want to be part of making them grow up to be successful.”
It is about an hour’s walk to the first school, where the volunteers are greeted by lots of excitable children. A 12-year-old girl raises her hand, “I don’t have any breakfast before I come to school,” she announces, “Before Mary’s Meals came I was dropping out from classes because I was too hungry, now I look forward to coming because I love the porridge.”
Mayamixo Nahosi, a 14 year old from Likoma, said “I think it’s very important for the community because the parents can send their children to school without any challenges. The children want to go to school. I, for example, don’t ever miss school any more, and I see my classmates here every day. Also, the parents don’t have to wonder about how to feed the children.”
It is thanks to your fundraising, that we are able to feed over 770,000 children in Malawi. Mary’s Meals is now reaching over One Million children globally with a daily meal at school in some of the world’s poorest communities, where hunger and poverty prevent children from gaining an education. On behalf of all the children receiving Mary’s Meals, thank you.