Slightly built, with a smile that’s bigger than his face, Manuel Chemba, from the district of Inhassoro, Mozambique is excelling in the classroom.
He wasn’t always such a happy, active and voracious learner. In fact he was the opposite says his mother, Fernanda. Teachers considered him capable, but a “trouble maker and nuisance”, she comments.
However, after their family moved to a new village to seek better opportunities, Manuel enrolled in a JAM supported school near their new village of Maimelane. The transformation has been miraculous according to his new teachers and family members since he joined. Fernanda was certainly perplexed when she heard the good news of her son’s transformation at school.
Like any good mother, she endeavoured to investigate her son’s personal revolution. She asked herself, was it the teachers, new friends, better facilities or their new village that had resulted in this new son of hers?
The answer turned out to be not one factor, but many with a common denominator, she decided. She discovered that the school had better facilities, passionate teachers, energetic students hungry to learn, and all the children received a nutritious meal each day from JAM. The idea that a child got a meal every day was a shock to her. It was the first time any of her children had received a school meal at school, and she asked the schoolteachers, “What difference do the meals make to the children and school?”
The teachers told her that the meals help improve enrolment and attendance and they are able to learn better as they are not constantly hungry, and no longer as disruptive. All these factors, led to the Mozambican Education Department funding that more infrastructure and teachers to better run schools.
For the children that JAM supports, the “Red Bowl” marks the beginning of a better quality of life and a new limitless future to enjoy.