Phala - Porridge
Discover the reason Malawian children go to school without ONE word of complaint.
If you went to school in Malawi, would you be smiling?
Do you want to build a world where no child is left behind? Could the next Steve Jobs be born and raised in poverty in Malawi, yet rise through a system victorious?
Right now, 70% of people in Malawi live below the international poverty line of £1.90. In real numbers, that is around 6 million mothers and fathers, who are unable to provide basic needs for their children.
37% of children in Malawi are affected by poor nutrition.
It’s always said that children suffer the most. And in this case, it is the hard truth. Hunger and poor nutrition destroy a child’s potential.
It stops bodies and brains from growing.
It throws up barriers to accessing school and working life.
Hunger traps children in an inescapable life of poverty.
How do you work against those odds?
You can’t help but feel overwhelmed when the UN estimates that around half the population of Southern Malawi, where we work, have insufficient food intake.
The hunger season and food crisis in Malawi are the direct result of global food insecurity caused by climate change. Malawi has one of the smallest carbon footprints in the world, yet they are on the front line of the harsh reality of a changing planet.
2023 has seen one of the largest cyclones in Africa on record.
It hit late in the rainy season, people watched as their fields full of maize - a few weeks away from harvest - were wiped away.
A families food for the year, gone.
Hunger in Malawi ONLY seems to worsen.
We believe that we have an ethical duty to educate ourselves and others to change our behaviours. Because our unsustainable lifestyles are contributing to food insecurity and poor nutritional health in countries like Malawi.
If you agree, then there is a very effective and very simple solution.
It’s not new, cutting edge and innovative like our water programmes. It is a proven remedy that has been used to combat food poverty for generations.
Free School Meals
The timeless solution to beat fatigue, banish lethargy and engage brilliant young minds in accessing education and grasping dreams now within reach.
A while ago now, we took two schools on a trip - something again that never happens in rural schools. One school had phala, the Good Food Project. The other school did not - yet.
We couldn’t believe the size difference between the children in the two schools. The school with phala filled the bus to bursting, and the children who didn’t have phala-porridge seemed lost in the space.
It was the first time we visibly saw the direct impact of the Good Food Project, and it reduced us to tears.
From Humble Beginnings
Grow Mighty Things.
We started our school breakfast programme, the Good Food Project, in 2012. Mary’s Meals had finally expanded into the area. The excitement and joy were palpable.
But only a handful of schools could be given phala.
Which left gaps, twenty schools to be precise. Unable to service the smaller, more remote schools, Mary’s Meals Blantyre offered us an olive branch.
They would help us set up the project, and we could buy their phala-porridge and deliver it to the rest of the schools we worked with. Ten years and hundreds of generous donors later, we have provided school breakfasts to over 7,000 children every year, on every school day.
Post Covid-19 we now provide phala to nine schools and one community centre.
Serving school breakfasts to children who wouldn't have been reached by anyone else.
BUT not all of them have enough funds to continue throughout 2023.
We've broken down each school and their available funds for 2023/24 below.
Feeding a child for a whole year is a choice that would cost you £13.40
If you’d like to help nourish and build up children in Malawi through porridge - the breakfast of champions -
you can become a MIGHTY giver by donating to one of the following schools:
Masuku Primary School
353 learners call Masuku school home. It is another school on a hill with incredible views and a long, winding dirt road to get to it. Masuku is a fruit in Malawi, known in English as a sugar plum. This school is as sweet and welcoming as its name.
Chimwabvi St Mary's Primary School
The primary school started out as a community initiative in a grass shelter. Now it is a full primary school of 560 learners, built by us, with a library, toilet block, three classroom blocks and a kitchen.
Nasundu Primary School
Nasundu is a long way away, an hour off-road, and the dirt road doesn’t even reach the school. A formidable flash flood river cuts the road from the school. The river has damaged the footbridge twice in the last few years and swept it clean away in cyclone Ana. but it won’t stop us from getting phala to the school when we can!
Nasundu school is currently unable to receive deliveries of food due to seasonal rains making the river unpassable.
Mbame Primary School
The largest of our breakfast-fuelled schools. Mbame is close to the main road and serves 780 children. It’s one of the first schools we started working with in 2008.
Nankhufi Primary School
Noble Nankhufi II is one of the most rural schools we work with, and it takes a precarious car journey to get there. The community faithfully maintain the narrow track to the school, to ensure phala can be delivered to its 295 learners.
Tilitonse Community Centre
The hub of local life for children around Fisherman’s Rest project base. The centre has anywhere from 50 to 120 children on a daily basis. It has been described by volunteers as the happiest place on earth.
Next door to Chimwabvi Primary, Horton is a day secondary school, built from scratch again and offers 200 places. Malawi has a horrific secondary school shortage, Horton creates opportunities for education that simply would not be there otherwise.
Kachere Primary School
Past Madziabango, Kachere falls on the furthest border of the Madziabango educational zone. With 434 learners, it is a large school, with several government-built classrooms. It has a football pitch to envy and a beautiful forested entrance.
Ntayamwana Primary School
Perched up on a hill with a beautiful view over the mountains, Ntayamwana has 235 learners enrolled. This school has been neglected for years, but with a beautiful kitchen, team of committed volunteers, the BRAVE programme and a working water pump, Ntayamwana has grown in size and stature!
Mtemaumo Primary School
Mtemaumo school is nestled at the bottom of the hills overlooking a gorgeous valley. The school boasts 396 students that are always happy to see a delivery of Phala. With many mouths to feed it has a dedicated group of volunteers which cook for the children from the local community as do all our schools.
What Teachers, Students and Volunteers have to say about the Phala Project
I am Chikondi Mwale.
I want to let you know how porridge is helping us here at school
Porridge is helping us in terms of hunger and attendance as well as good health. It’s our request to the organization responsible for the provision of porridge not to quit but continue providing the porridge
Chikondi Mwale 13
I am Mercy Chilophwe from Masuku and I have 3 children who are learning at Masuku. Some children have gone and are learning at Secondary school
I am here to talk about porridge.
What I manage to do in the morning is make them ready for school and they eat porridge before classes and remain strong till they finish the day and even the time they get back home if they find food not yet prepared they don’t get worried.
Porridge is helping that even in the classes, the children are doing well because they are not struggling with hunger. Things are going on well and we are so thankful because learners are all eating porridge in all standards
All our projects work under one premise: If you invest in any one of our projects, you impact the whole community.
We are an upside-down Charity
Traditionally charities are specific to one focus, water, girls' empowerment, and school classrooms - the list goes on. A charity typically will provide this service across a country or multiple countries.
We are different.
We serve one location, Malawi - more specifically, Madziabango and Nankumba zones in Blantyre Rural and implement multiple holistic programmes that feed into and complement each other. Supporting communities on a deep relational and consistent level.
By working with us, you are meeting needs on a multitude of globally recognised touchpoints:
Clean water prevents diseases.
Forest to protect houses, reduce the strain on firewood and create long-term financial stability.
Improved access to education and improved infrastructure.
School breakfasts, supporting child development.
Combat period poverty and women’s safety.
The Power of Your Donation
We live in the area we work in. We are friends, neighbours and family.
We know where to put your donation, so it goes directly to the next family or community in need.
In fact, there are times, we don’t decide where funding goes. It’s communities together identifying needs and informing us where we should be headed next.
30 years of building relationships and investing in projects and seeing results, means partnering with us you can be confident that 98.95%* of all our donations go straight to Malawi.
Because Malawi is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the only place your donation should be.
*1.05% covers processing fees, webdesign, fundraising platforms & some admin costs.
How far your £13.40 donation to The Good Food project will go.
Provide a cup of phala to a child every school day for a year
Provide parents with an active role in school life, helping establish essential positive attitudes towards the importance of education.
Help combat hunger and increase a child’s capacity to learn.
Help combat malnutrition, The phala is fortified, ensuring growing children are getting the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy minds, bones and bodies.
Become part of the Fisherman’s family. A cross-continent community of game-changing humans with hearts as big as the world - impacting rural communities with effective people-centred projects.
Give us the capacity to plan for tomorrow, make projects more sustainable and gives you hope for a better world.
We invite you to come and visit, meet the team, meet families and communities and see for yourself the AMAZING changes, opportunities and support work going on every day in Malawi through Fisherman’s Rest Community Projects.