Friday, December 28, 2012

A Belated Merry Christmas!!!

I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas!!! and a early Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How do donate to Mary's Meals online

Some people have asked me how they can donate to my Mary's Meals fundraising online.

here is what you do:
Go the
Go to the donations page you will see a something that looks like this:

Go to the tab that under fundraising groups
Select "Allison's Malawi/IA kitchen
Your donation will go towards my feeding/kitchen goals

If you have any questions let me know in the comments


Monday, November 5, 2012

Our premiere of Child 31

Last night (Nov. 4th) we hosted a premiere screening of Child 31
We had 20 attend including our family of 5.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CHILD 31 Screening

A screening of a powerful new documentary film about the work of international charity Mary’s Meals is being held at our house.

The screening at our house is one of over 300 being planned by people all over the world, who are taking part in events to share the film Child 31, the story of Mary’s Meals.

Americans are joining enthusiastic supporters in countries around the globe, from the UK where Mary’s Meals is based, all the way to the Philippines.  In the US, from NY to California,  volunteers are hosting screenings of Child 31 with events set for Florida, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, Texas and more.

Child 31 is the latest project for award-winning Brooklyn-based production company, Grassroots Films, who visited the charity’s projects in Malawi, India and Kenya to see its life-changing work in action.

Mary’s Meals feeds over 650,000 children a meal every day in school in some of the world’s most impoverished regions where hunger and poverty can prevent them from getting an education.

Featuring stories about the work of the charity, Child 31 is a captivating, uplifting and inspiring viewing experience that focuses on the difference just one meal every school day can make to children living in extreme poverty.

The film tells the stories of children like Lette who, at the age of 12, has the sole responsibility for looking after her family and Muksi who lived on a rubbish dump alongside other orphans in Kenya before starting at a school where Mary’s Meals is served.

Commenting on the film, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, chief executive of Mary’s Meals, says: “Child 31 tells the story of Mary’s Meals through the eyes of children – children who benefit from receiving Mary’s Meals and children who fundraise on our behalf.

“All over the world, there are people who will not accept that any child in this world of plenty must endure a day without a meal.

“As a result of their good deeds, thousands of children, who would otherwise be hungry and working for their next meal, are instead sitting in a classroom with a full stomach, learning how to read and write.”

The local screening will be held on Sunday November 4th It will start at 6:30PM 

You can contact me :Allison Ockenfels. (319) 646-6583
RSVP is appreciated but not required.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Christ Our Life Conference 2012

Last weekend our family attended the 2012 Christ Our Life Conference in Des Moines Iowa.
I got to help at the Mary's Meals table.

Here are some pictures:
                                                The Mary's Meals mug my brother made
                                                          The Mary's Meals table
Magnus (the founder of Mary's Meals) with relatives of Ellen Miller (one of the co-chairs of the conference.

                                                       One of the Mary's Meals T-Shirts
                                                        Magnus speaking on Sunday
                                                                       Magnus and I

                                 Patty Decker (who is the Mary's Meals USA coordinator) and I 
                                         I had the privilege of meeting Immaculee Ilibagiza 
                                         Immaculee survived the Rwandan genocide

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Total amout of money I've raised!!

I have raised a total of $33,032 in the past 2 years for Mary's Meals!!
Balance need to feed the children at a Kitchen: $3,968

Monday, August 20, 2012

Christ Our Life Regional Catholic Conference

I wanted to let everyone know that the Christ Our Life Conference is coming up. The conference will be held Sep. 22 and 23 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa at the Wells Fargo Arena.
They had the first conference two years ago. Our family attended this wonderful conference. Two years ago at this conference I first heard about Mary's Meals. The founder of Mary's Meals (Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow) speak. He inspired me to raise money for Mary's Meals.

Magnus will be speaking at the conference again this year. He will speak on Sat. at 1:00PM

For more info visit: Facebook, Blog, Website. 

I hope to see you there!!! I will be helping at the Mary's Meals table!!

(Let me know if you will be there!!)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Mary's Meals Poster

I put together a poster about my Mary's Meals fundraising for the Iowa County fair. The poster received Award of Excellence - Considered for State Fair - Honorable Mention. It was not selcected for the State Fair :(

Here are some pictures of my poster:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More Mpondasi School Pictures

I hope you enjoy these pictures!! To see the rest of the pictures go here

Nasiyaya School Picture!!!

Here are the pictures from the Nasiyaya school.

 Children with their porridge mugs underneath the feeding sign at Nasiyaya Primary!

Volunteer cooks by the rocket stoves in the temporary kitchen shelter at Nasiyaya

Children gathered around the porridge pot to get every last bit of Likuni Phala!

A class of children being taught by Mrs Storey (Headteacher) in a temporary outdoor classroom

The classroom block at Nasiyaya Primary, with two classrooms inside

This is the letter I received from Mary's Meals:
Nasiyaya Primary School
Blantyre District, Southern Malawi

Sponsored by Allison Ockenfels and friends in Iowa

School information:

Your school is located in the southern district of Blantyre.

Nasiyaya Primary School currently has 708 children enrolled, out of which there are 357 girls and 351 boys. Your school is situated on the top of a hill about ten kilometers off the tarmac road outside Limbe, making it a very rural school.

There are ten teachers but at the moment they only have two classrooms at Nasiyaya School, which is not enough space to tech the number of children enrolled. UNICEF is at the moment building more classrooms for the children and staff at your school and they will also build teachers accommodation.

Nasiyaya Primary has a borehole for water access and the children have ten sports balls to play with!
The feeding program:

Feeding is organized by the Head teacher who sets up a Mary's Meals Committee with the guidance of the Mary’s Meals staff in Malawi. In rural areas like where Nasiyaya School is located, a committee member from each of the nearby villages will mobilise a team from their village. Each team will then cook one day a fortnight. 

Volunteers often arrive at the school as early as 5am to start fetching water, getting the pots ready and then start cooking.  A vat of porridge takes about three hours to cook on a rocket stove. They then put the porridge in buckets before serving to stop the children crowding around the hot stoves and serve. The volunteers stay on to wash the pots and put away the stoves, finishing about 2pm.  This is a big commitment and the whole scheme would not be possible without the dedication of the volunteer cooks.

Primary Education in Malawi:

All children in Malawi are entitled to free primary education. Children are allowed to start Primary School at the age of 6. As many births are not registered, the age of a child is often decided by checking if the child can touch their ear with their opposite hand over their head - a developmental indicator.  If the child is able follow that instruction they are considered old enough to enroll in Primary School.
The two national languages in Malawi are Chichewa and English. Children in Standard 1-4 are taught in Chichewa while also learning English. In years 5-8 they switch to lessons being taught in English with the addition of Chichewa classes.  The curriculum includes English, Chichewa, Maths, Life Skills and Agriculture.  The Malawian Government has a target of no more than 60 pupils per class, something most schools are not currently able to achieve.

Mary’s Meals at Nasiyaya Primary School:

Mary’s Meals began feeding at Nasiyaya Primary in October 2011. With the fantastic support of Allison and Friends in Iowa, we are continuing to provide every child here with a mug of the nutritious Likuni Phala porridge every day!

Enrollment has increased as the School Mother's Group has been going around the villages finding children who are not enrolled and telling them to get into school.  Children are also coming from other nearby schools (which also get Mary's Meals) because of the quality of the teaching and smaller class sizes at Nasiyaya School.

Below is a table of enrollment rates, starting one year before feeding began. As you can see enrollment has been rising since feeding started:

Enrollment rates
2011 (feeding started)

The school also report that more children have been sitting their exams in 2011 compared to 2010. In 2010, 22 children took their Standard 8 Exams (children can sit these at the end of Primary School) and in 2011 this went up to 40 children.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the rise in enrollment and in the number of children sitting their exams is great news!

On behalf of everyone at Mary’s Meals and especially on behalf of the children at Nasiyaya Primary School, we would like to extend a very warm thank you for your wonderful generosity and kindness.

What you are doing for these children is truly life changing – thank you!