Sarah’s blog 16/6/22 (I wrote most of this post on 16th but as it was a very busy day I ran out of time so had to add the photos this morning 17th)
Today we remember all the vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi who are supported by The Foundation and those who will require support in the future.
We want all children to have the best possible start in life and be the best they can be. Unfortunately, life has been very difficult for the community we are helping The Foundation to support. Through a variety of projects, these children’s lives are changing for the better. We are passionate and committed to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Here are some of the ways life is improving for the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children that The Foundation supports.
- Mother & Baby project. We have received beautiful hand knitted blankets and baby clothes as well as lots of generous donations of preloved baby clothes. This is an ongoing project with the health centre local to The Foundation. Mothers are given some clothes and a blanket for their new born baby. They can return at a later date to receive some more baby clothes. This gives staff at the health centre another chance to have an informal check up of each new mum and her baby.
- Agriculture – The Foundation grows a variety of crops and the children and young people help with planting, weeding, harvesting. This gives the children skills for their future and also provides some food to be used at The Feeding Programme.
- The Feeding Programme – many of the approximately 500 children who attend every weekend do not eat every day, or eat very little. They are given a substantial, nutritious meal once a week using food that has been grown at The Foundation if possible. Lots of maize and soya beans and vegetables still have to be bought as 500 children is a lot of mouths to feed. We wish we could afford to send money to feed them more often as there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the far north of Malawi. Some children are walking up to 20km to have their food and 20km back home again.
- The nursery – was set up for 50 of the most vulnerable preschool children. It now has 75 children meeting three times a week. They are fed at each session. Feed the Children occasionally provides some porridge for the children to help but it only lasts a couple of weeks each time. All nursery children have been given clothes, nursery uniform, shoes, a blanket and a waterproof jacket. In future, all children starting nursery will receive a bag containing; a blanket, 2 red tshirts (uniform), 2 pairs of pants, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste, and a picture book.
- School Uniform & preloved clothes – all children supported by The Foundation receive preloved or new clothes. We have sent lots of shoes but not enough…more shoes are needed in all age groups including adult sizes. Children are more confident and have better self-esteem now they aren’t wearing rags. They are warmer at night time because they have warm clothes. Eventually we won’t need to send so many clothes as they can start making their own as we have sent vintage hand turn sewing machines. The aim has always been to give a helping hand towards self-sufficiency.
- Period Poverty Project – why should teenage girls have to hide in shame at home for one week every month and miss out on lessons at school? Why should there be such an inequality just because of gender? Some girls have been making drawstring bags containing; 5 reusable sanitary towels that they have also made, 3 pairs of pants, soap and a health information leaflet. These have been given to every girl who needs one and will be an ongoing project. A small project making a very big difference.
- Apprentices – some teenagers are learning all about agriculture as Levison has a degree in this subject. They are learning about animal husbandry, making bricks and building, carpentry and other skills. These skills will help them with future employment.
- Child Sponsorship – currently there are 90 of the most vulnerable children and young people who have been matched with sponsors. They receive a monthly food parcel, clothes, a blanket, welfare checks and their school fees are paid.
- Sports – the children love playing team sports; football, netball and rugby. Generous people have donated sports kits/balls/equipment to enable the children to learn and play these sports. They are learning new skills, being part of a team, being healthy and active and able to forget their problems whilst having fun with their friends.
- Library and School Literacy Project – previously the children had little or no access to books. How are children supposed to learn to read without having books to practise their reading.
- WASH – (water, sanitation & hygiene) Latrines, a clean water supply & a shower block have been built at The Foundation.
- School – we have started fundraising to build a much need secondary school. There are not enough places for students in the nearest secondary school, so even if children have passed their primary school leavers exams and have a sponsor to pay their secondary school fees, if they don’t get picked for a place at secondary school then they don’t go. The young people know that education is vital as it is their way out of poverty. We want education to be available to all.
- Eco stoves are being made for the villagers. These are safer than open fires, retain more heat and use far less fuel.
- Fruit tree saplings have been planted as a future source of food and income and are a way of helping towards the climate crisis. More trees will be planted each year.
These are just some of the ways the most vulnerable children are being supported to have a better future. We are grateful for all the support we have had so far but, unfortunately, all these projects require funding. If you can donate we would be very grateful and please share our posts so others can learn about these amazing children in rural northern Malawi. Self-sufficiency is always the end goal and Levison and team lead the way on what is appropriate and most needed in their village. Thank you for supporting the children and enjoy the photos, Sarah x