Without thousands of volunteer cooks, Mary’s Meals’ school feeding programme would be impossible. 

Bendu Kai is a volunteer cook at Vincent Ward Public School in Bomi County, Liberia

Bendu Kai is a volunteer cook at Vincent Ward Public School in Bomi County, Liberia – and so are her two sisters, Fatu and Kula. 
  
The three sisters live in houses right beside the school kitchen and, each school day, Bendu, Fatu and Kula give up their time to prepare rice and peas, or cornmeal porridge, for more than 350 children. 
  
The women all have children at the school; Bendu has four. She said: “I come every day to cook. I am doing it for the benefit of my children, and for the other children in the school. I care for all of them.” 

 
Photo: Bendu Kai and her sister Fatu, Vincent Ward School.

Photo: Jebbeh Kiazolu cooks (left to right): Ma Pai Johnson, Tenneh Hortin, Musu Kromah and Sando Johnson.

Ma Pai Johnson is one of four cooks who give up their time to make food for around 300 children at Jebbeh Kiazolu School in Grand Cape Mount County.. Ma Pai has been volunteering in the school for ten years and has been a cook for as long as Mary’s Meals has been feeding there. 

She said: “We are doing this job because we don’t want the children to suffer and the community in which the school is located is where we are from, so we don’t want people from outside to say we don’t help them. We are looking at other people who have education and we see what they can do, so we want our children to have the best of education.” 


Photo: Jenneh Blamah has two children at Kamada Town public school, aged ten and seven. She is chair of the community committee. 

Jenneh Blama cooks every day for the children at Kamada Town school in Bomi County. She is the community chairperson for the school. She said: “I was cooking for the school in a camp for displaced people  and I noticed that children came if there was food, and if they came they could learn. So, when I came back to the community, I wanted to do something. 
  
“I don’t want our children to be behind. I want them to learn. Even if they’re not my children, I would still be behind them, telling them to go to school in the morning, so they can eat and so they can learn.” 
   
For some of the cooks, they feel it’s their duty, for others, they are providing support to their own children and those of the families nearby, and for others still, it’s just a pleasure to be with the children every day. 
  
Without these little acts of love – from the thousands of volunteer cooks in Liberia – the Mary’s Meals programme here would not exist. 
  
Thanks to them all for their time, skill and commitment.