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Bringing Malawi’s School Feeding Programmes into the Home

Elementary school children in Malawi, one of Africa’s poorest countries, normally get free meals at school; but, when the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close in March, families were left with the added cost burden. The international charity Mary’s Meals, which runs the feeding program in one-third of Malawi’s elementary schools, has started distributing food to poor communities to help them cope. Mary’s Meals has been feeding thousands of children in the schools for the past 18 years. The young learners receive hot porridge made from maize or soya bean flour mixed with salt and sugar. The aim is to increase enrollment for children who might fail to attend classes because of hunger in their families, and to meet the nutrition needs of the students. The closure of schools in March because of COVID- 19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, deprived students of this source of nutrition, posing a threat to their health. The organisation says this has forced the charity to find new ways of feeding the children in compliance with COVID-19 preventive measures.