Meet the children

Learn more about the children whose lives will be changed by Run As One. 

The distances that children receiving Mary's Meals walk in order to arrive at school can be startling, but it is our hope that these stories help you to realize just how important you are to our mission to provide meals to these children in the hardest-to-reach places of the world. 

Longoria - Journey to school, 1 mile 

Like many families living in desert plains of Turkana in northern Kenya, Longoria’s parents scrape together a living herding sheep and goats. Longoria helps to tend the goats after walking home from school.

Sometimes, he gets so hungry when he’s out herding that he eats the sap from trees.

Children in this community often drop out of school to herd animals full time, but Longoria is determined to make the most of his education. And, thanks to the guarantee of a nutritious daily meal at school, his studies are off to a great start.

He said: “I love Mary’s Meals because the food is helping me come to school and learn. When I eat it, I feel full.”

Olivia - Journey to school, 4 miles

Olivia wakes at dawn and goes to work on the family's plot of land (where they grow maize and cotton) before coming home to do her household chores. 

She goes to school in the afternoon and eats Mary’s Meals as soon as she arrives, before settling down for her lessons.

Olivia’s family lives in a very dry part of Zambia, which makes farming difficult, and they spend every penny they earn on food and other essentials.

She said: “Mary’s Meals fills me with energy. I feel good when I eat, because I come back from the field in the morning on an empty stomach. I feel very hungry when I get to school. The porridge helps me to concentrate.”

Birandr - Journey to school, 5 miles 

Birandr collects water from the well every morning before setting off on the long walk to school.

His dad works away from home, so Birandr helps his mom with the household chores and takes care of his three little brothers while she’s working in the fields.

It’s a lot of responsibility for a 12-year-old, but Birandr hopes that by working hard at school, he can help lift his family out of poverty.

He said: “I enjoy eating Mary’s Meals. Most days I come to school without having eaten. By educating myself I can do useful work. My dream is to be a policeman, to help my mum and dad better their situation so they don’t have to worry about money.”

Famatta - Journey to school, 10 miles

It takes 13-year-old Famatta, from Liberia, three hours to walk to school. It’s a long and lonely journey over rough terrain, but she knows how many opportunities an education could help to unlock in the future. 

The family scrapes a living by selling charcoal and pineapples, but they often rely on foraging to put food on the table. Often, the Mary’s Meals served at Jenneh Public School is the only thing Famatta will eat all day.

She said: "We really appreciate Mary’s Meals. If I came to school and they were not cooking, I would feel bad. Food can help you learn. If I am without it, I can’t see the board.”

If you are moved by these children's journeys, join the Mary’s Meals family during November and Run As One