Football-mad teenager insists he’ll finish school despite pressure from parents

Football-crazy teenager Gabriel is on a mission to finish school despite pressure from his parents to miss classes for farming.

The 14-year-old boy, whose favourite subject is mathematics, is determined to become a teacher so he can share the power of education with his community in rural Zambia.

The student at Chimulambe Primary School said: “During this time of famine, I am being asked to help with farming activities at home so I have to miss school. My parents ask me to stay home because they need me.

“I feel bad about missing school when I have to do farming activities.

“My parents say education is good but they’re also the ones urging me to miss it to help them farm.”

Gabriel is one of 2.4 million children who receive a cup of warm porridge at school every day – and it’s had a life-changing impact in the classroom and on the sports field.

He beams as he kicks around a football with friends in a field near the school.

Gabriel said: “I take part in the eating programme and enjoy eating porridge. I’m happy because it gives me energy. Whenever I’m in class and the teacher is teaching, I’m able to concentrate and participate because of the porridge.”

“Before Mary’s Meals, I used to be hungry at school. But when it was introduced, I’m always fed at school and my stomach is full. I can pay attention and participate in class activities.”

Gabriel takes refuge from Africa’s blazing sun under a tree surrounded by his peers who curiously listen in to his chat with the Express.

He said: “School is a good thing and people will be able to live a better life. I urge my friends to work extra hard here to progress in their future. 

“Some of my friends have already left school because they’re helping their parents with farming activities.”

  • Support fearless journalism
  • Read The Daily Express online, advert free
  • Get super-fast page loading

Nearly half (45 per cent) of children in Zambia drop out of school early.

But attendance rates have risen thanks to Mary’s Meals which feeds 420,896 children in  752 schools across Zambia daily.

Generous Express readers have already raised £12,000 for the UK charity as part of this year’s Christmas appeal.

It costs just 10p on average to provide a child with a meal – adding up to £19.15 to feed a child for a whole school year.

Donations this year will be doubled thanks to a group of generous donors.

To donate, please visit:

Source: Read Full Article