‘If you can’t feed a hundred people then feed just one’ (Mother Teresa)

Sarah’s blog 26/1/22

It’s very true….another quote that I like says ‘Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.’

There are approximately 500 children that are fed once a week. These children are some of the poorest on the planet and all suffer from malnutrition…some worse than others. We would love for these children to have more food. The end goal is that the villagers will be self-sufficient and there will no longer be a need for a feeding programme. Until that time we must help. We cannot do it alone.

We need to grow our team. If more and more people would please donate just £5 per month then we can help feed the children more than once a week. Ideally, I would love all the children to have a mug of porridge before school in the morning. It costs £100 to feed 500 each one nutritious meal. It’s not much per child but soon adds up when there are 500 children. Imagine if we could get 100 donating £5 per month….the children could be fed another 5 meals extra per month. What a difference that would make. But think about it….we are still only talking about 2 meals a week. Can you imagine only having one or two substantial, nutritious meals a week? Or if you couldn’t feed your children every day…. it’s heart breaking. They can’t help where they were born or the situation they were born into. But each of us can help one of them.

How can they concentrate with no food in their tummies? How can they concentrate when they are malnourished? These orphans and other vulnerable children are in survival mode…things like learning cannot happen properly until a child’s basic needs are met. It’s every child’s right to be safe, warm, have enough to eat and clean water to drink. I like the visual way the theorist Maslow shows children’s needs in his hierarchy of needs. Each layer cannot happen for a child if the previous one is not met.

So please join our team of people committing to help these children. £5 is all we ask as a monthly commitment (unless of course you would like to donate more). To most of us £5 is just a meal deal or a couple of drinks or some snacks. £5 to each of these children will help change their lives. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It’s rainy season at the moment. People are struggling, the price of maize has gone up. Half of the Foundation’s crop of newly planted maize was washed away and they had to replant. Heart breaking. Levison told me today it’s a real struggle to feed everyone with prices rising. Thank you for reading and please consider joining our feeding team, Sarah x

Happy Feet

Sarah’s blog 25/1/22

I just wanted to show you some of the lovely shoes, sandals and flipflops that have been donated. These were boxed up yesterday and will make their long journey to Malawi (via The Bananabox Trust, Dundee) soon.

These little shoes still have so much life in them as children’s feet grow so quickly that there will be children in Malawi so happy to receive these gifts. It’s donations like these that are continuing to make a difference. Thank you for helping us Changing Lives Malawi. contact_us@sjk1898hotmailcom Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Naomi needs your help to get back to school

Sarah’s blog 23/1/22

This morning Levison had Gogo Nyamsukwa who is in her 90s visit the Foundation. She was upset and asking for help for her granddaughter who had just been asked to leave secondary school as her fees had not been paid.

Naomi Nyondo is 16 and has finished her first two years of secondary school and passed her second year exams. Unfortunately, the extended family can no longer afford to pay Naomi’s fees. She had no choice when asked to leave school but to walk over 10km back home. This journey in itself is dangerous for a young girl by herself.

From my facebook post this morning, a lady who sponsors another child offered to pay Naomi’s first month’s fees so she could return to school whilst we look for a sponsor to support Naomi for two years until she finishes secondary school. Levison visited her and her gogo (grandma) this afternoon and Naomi cried tears of joy and was comforted by her grandmother….then you can see the huge smile as she realised her dream of a proper education isn’t over. Levison has told her to go back to school tomorrow and he will take her a proper blanket and supplies like the other sponsored children have in a few days. He will also phone the school tomorrow and get the fees paid.

So can you please be Naomi’s sponsor? It’s only £25 per month and she’s got two years to go to finish secondary school. Please get in touch if you can help contact_us@sjk1898hotmailcom

Levison will also keep an eye on this little family as there are younger siblings and they too may need sponsored so there is some food going into that home. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Chikumbusko…one year ago

Sarah’s blog 22/01/22

A year ago a little girl was all alone and needed help after her grandad, whom she lived with, went into hospital and subsequently died. This is the story of how sponsoring a child can change their life. This is the story of hope from despair. Being cared for and no longer alone. Having food and clothes instead of hunger and rags.

Levison had been told about Chikumbusko’s situation, but then wasn’t able to find her initially. When he did discover where she was, he saw she was suffering from malaria, was hungry and dressed in old clothes. She was given new clothes from his store and fed. Levison spoke with a kind grandmother who agreed to foster Chikumbusko. Her grandson, Timothy, is already sponsored so, now Chikumbusko is sponsored too, there are now two lots of food going into that little household to make their lives a bit easier. Levison got medicine for Chikumbusko and gradually she has begun to settle into her new home and is looking and feeling better.

Thankfully, a sponsor came forward quickly after reading Chikumbusko’s story, and she will have a better future now she is supported. It’s just £25 p/m to change the live of a child like Chikumbusko so if you can help then please do contact me at contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com I hope you enjoy looking at the photos of how a little girl’s life has changed for the better because of teamwork. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Donations…..

Sarah’s blog 21/1/22

We have lovely supporters donating in lots of different ways. Some give money to help feed the children, others sponsor young people so they can attend secondary school. I have a donation box in my front garden that people will leave things in if I’m out, and people will knock on the door with bags of preloved clothes and shoes or books. Occasionally, someone will proudly bring a bag of bargains that they’ve managed to pick up in a sale. Some supporters collect pencils, pens and soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste whilst doing their shopping. We are grateful for monetary donations to help cover transport costs as we are charged £15 per box on the container. These are all ways you can help us help the hundreds of children we help to support in Malawi. A few of our kind supporters knit lovely blankets or hats to keep babies and children warm and others help take the boxes of donations to Dundee to await the container to Malawi.

Whatever you choose to do to help and support us, ‘Thank you’. We are grateful you are part of our team. There is still so much to do…so if you want to get involved we would be very glad to have you on our team….Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

A big donation of preloved sports clothes was recently collected
We love it when people add things to their shopping for us….the children always love receiving a new pencil or some soap….and with up to 800 children to support….that is a lot of pencils needed!
Someone very kindly left these preloved teenage boys school shoes and two maths sets in the donation box in our front garden
One of our supporters has been busy knitting again….beautiful blankets

Watching your football team

Sarah’s blog 18/1/21

There seems to be something that is the same almost wherever you are in the world….cheering on your team when they are playing football. Malawi have been playing Senegal today. Unfortunately it ended up 0-0 but these children and young people enjoyed watching their team on the tv at the Foundation (until a power cut near the end). Levison has a wind up radio thankfully. The tv was installed for educational programmes (and for a treat like watching your country play football).

Hopefully, with your help, we will be able to provide more food for these children to eat and match more children with sponsors to pay for their secondary school fees. These children are just like our children and deserve the same chances. £25 p/m provides food and education for a young person or a commitment of £5 or £10 p/m will help feed the children more often. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Boxes and boxes

Sarah’s blog 14/1/22

It’s been a busy 10 days packing boxes since the schools went back last week. Stuart and I took 20 boxes to Dundee last weekend to The Bananabox Trust Warehouse. The boxes are processed and wait there until there are enough donations from lots of charities and individuals, going to several recipients in Malawi. Once the warehouse is full, a container is ordered and packed by volunteers and then spends approximately 3 months (or slightly less) on it’s journey until arriving at Ekwendeni near Mzuzu. That’s still a long drive from the Foundation for Levison to collect the boxes but so much easier now he’s got the truck.

So today we took another 15 boxes and met Lilian and Stewart, volunteers who were processing the boxes today. Tomorrow, one of our supporters is taking another 10 boxes for us. Each box costs £15 to cover the costs of the container so we have to carefully balance the cost of sending boxes with the need of Levison, his team and the 800 children and young people they support and also the most elderly in the community. 800 is a huge number of orphans and vulnerable children and they have been very grateful for the preloved school uniform, other clothes, shoes, books, and sports kit that has been sent….along with lots of other items. If you’d like to pay for and sponsor a box or boxes to go then we can write your name or a loved one’s name on the box. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

So here are a few photos of our boxes. Today we had an hour to spare and, as it was a beautiful, sunny day, we had a sandwich and an ice cream in St Andrews and a little walk on the beach with the dog. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

17 boxes of reading books donated to Chambo Primary School
fun on the beach at St Andrews after taking a car full of boxes to Dundee
January sunshine and a quick walk on the beach at St Andrews, after delivering boxes to The Bananabox Trust, Dundee
Unloading the container and collecting boxes at Ekwendeni nr Mzuzu. Levison in the new truck.

Photos of the children for the children

Sarah’s blog 13/1/22

These are some of the photos I sent to Levison, in an album, to show to the children on his laptop as a slideshow on a continuous loop. It occurred to us that they don’t know about some of the things that happen and will enjoy looking at the photos anyway. I think Levison will set this up at the weekend when the children are at the Foundation for the feeding programme. Hope you enjoy the photos, Sarah x

Off to Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 7/1/22

It’s been a busy time for Levison, trying to get all the children sorted with what they need for school. He’s also had malaria for which he’s had medication and is now on the mend. Some last bits of school uniform are on order and should be with the young people next week. Boys shoes in big sizes had all sold out, luckily Levison had trainers to give them. Usually, the new school term doesn’t start until February, giving time to order and buy everything for those who have passed their exams and have a place at secondary school. Because of schools having been shut due to covid, they are playing catchup and that’s why the new term has started early.

A record number of students across Malawi have passed their primary school leavers exams which is good news. However, that means there are more children than places at secondary school and children are selected to have a place at secondary school. Also, more places have been made available for boys to be able to board at school, so all the boys and girls going to school, who are supported by the Foundation, will be boarding.

Unfortunately, 11 of our sponsored young people were not chosen for a place at secondary school, despite having sponsors to pay their fees and having passed their leavers exams. Levison has been twice to talk to the education department who are delighted that so many children are being supported. He has been asked to wait for a few weeks until they see how many other children have not taken up their offered places at secondary school due to lack of funds for fees and uniform. Hopefully, all the 11 young people on the waiting list will all be given places. I have written to these sponsors and will, of course, keep in touch to update them.

Currently there are 21 new starts and 12 returners to secondary school. That is 33 young people in secondary education, with another 11 hopefully gaining places too. Four girls (from the first sponsored young people) have completed their education and are now awaiting their exam results to see what their next steps are. That is an amazing achievement for Levison and his team at The William Stewart Foundation. This is only the third year that children from Ibuluma have been able to attend secondary school, previously everyone’s education stopped at the end of primary school if they even managed to finish primary school. THIS IS THE DIFFERENCE THAT HAVING A SPONSOR MAKES. YOU ARE CHANGING THESE CHILDREN’S LIVES FOR THE BETTER BY PROVIDING FOOD AND EDUCATION……THANK YOU! WE COULDN’T HELP THESE CHILDREN WITHOUT YOU.

**(11/1/21 – update. I must apologise for an error I made in the above paragraph that has been pointed out. I’ve just inserted this one paragraph subsequently. What I meant to say is that children that the Foundation supports have only been able to attend secondary school since they have had sponsors. The first few girls who were sponsored had in fact completed some secondary school before dropping out due to lack of funds. Only when sponsors were matched with these girls, and fees were therefore paid, were the girls able to restart their education. To be clear, they have not dropped out since being sponsored as fees have continued to be paid. This is the third year that the Foundation has been able to send sponsored children to secondary school. I said everyone’s education stopped after primary school. I should have said ‘most people’. I’m sorry if I misled anyone. Sarah)**

Because Levison hadn’t been well and was busy getting so many children ready for school, he didn’t manage to take photos of the returners. Once the shoes and other bits of outstanding uniform that have been ordered are in stock then Levison will take photos of all the Foundation children when he visits the school with these supplies.

You will see that BENJAMIN and LAWRENCE aren’t sponsored yet. We are hoping that generous sponsors will come forward to take over the school fees for these two young men. It’s only £25 per month. Thanks for reading, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Can you spare £5?

Sarah’s blog 4/1/22

As you will have seen from previous posts, I’m trying to think ahead and find ways of increasing awareness and fundraising for the work Levison is doing, along with his team, at The Foundation in rural northern Malawi. Approximately 800 orphans and vulnerable children and young people receive support through various projects, with on average 500 receiving their one substantial, nutritious meal of the week through the feeding programme.

It costs approximately £100 to feed 500 children each time….a tiny amount of money for a big plate of food…but when 500 children are being fed then the cost soon escalates. One meal a week isn’t enough but that’s all we can afford and there are no big agencies feeding children in this area, so malnourished children are walking from as far as 20km away to receive food.

I’ve been trying to think how to raise money to support the feeding programme happening more often. I’m hoping that people might help with this and if lots of us commit to a little bit every month then, together, we can make a big difference.

Teachers have noticed a difference in these most vulnerable children already from eating one good meal a week. They are able to concentrate more and their grades have improved. Imagine if we could feed them more than this? Imagine if malnutrition was a thing of the past?

Please can you commit to £5 per month to help? If we can get 100 people donating just £5 per month then that’s an extra £500 to feed the children each month. For most of us, £5 a month won’t be missed. It just needs that initial decision that you would like to help these children have a better future. To banish malnutrition. To know you are helping them concentrate at school. You will be helping them and future generations. Food and education are essential. We take no admin fees and are volunteers, so every penny you invest in these children goes to Malawi. Many of us aren’t going out as much as we used to because of the covid situation…so does that mean you might be able to spare £5 to help these hundreds of children have two nutritious meals a week instead of just one?

Let’s start 2022 by making a positive decision. If we all act on that decision and commit £5 it will be really interesting to see the difference we will have all made by the end of the year. Message or email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to be part of the team that changes lives in Malawi this year. Together we are Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, now let’s act. Sarah x

Happy New Year & Happy Birthday

Sarah’s blog 2/1/22

https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/3M60EKZX9R3LQ?ref_=wl_share

Happy New Year!! I hope this year brings you all health & happiness.

Levison is busy getting young people ready for going to school this next week and I hope to bring some photos soon of them in their uniform before they set off on their big adventure, thanks to their generous sponsors who have paid for them to continue secondary education.

We still have a few young people waiting to be matched with sponsors so if you can help then please get in touch.

It’s my birthday on 4th January… when you have a birthday straight after Christmas you don’t really need any presents. I was very lucky with all the gifts I received for Christmas. So I wouldn’t usually tell people it’s my birthday but, i thought it might be a nice idea to buy something for the orphans in Malawi if you’d like to. There is an Amazon link at the top of the page or if you are at the supermarket and want to put some bars of soap or toothbrushes, toothpaste or pencils in your trolley, they would be very much appreciated. When there are approximately 800 vulnerable children and young people being supported there are never enough pencils or bars of soap!!

Many thanks and best wishes for 2022, thanks for reading, Sarah x

Goodbye 2021 and Happy New Year

Sarah’s blog 31/12/21

It’s been a busy year and a very mixed year. There have been far more positives to outweigh the negatives so that’s what we are concentrating on. People will be able to see by our actions how hard we are working and how committed we are to changing the lives of the most vulnerable who are supported by The Foundation. We are all part of a team, each with our own skills and talents.

Last January, William Stewart, co-founder of The William Stewart Foundation sadly passed away age 93. His friend and co-founder Levison Mlambya continues to work tirelessly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in his village. It’s been a hard year for Levison but he continues to support his community to the best of his ability. He is an inspiration to many and is improving hundreds of lives.

William used to send a monthly amount to Malawi to help pay for wages until the Foundation was more self-sufficient. Since last January, it has passed to our charity to cover these payments in addition to other fundraising, the feeding programme and the child sponsorship programme. It’s been hard at times, but we’ve managed. We have successfully negotiated our way through difficult circumstances and the situation in Ibuluma keeps on improving.

Can I tell you what has been a tremendous help during difficult times? Your support. I truly mean that. Whether it has been a kind word or a thumbs up, someone sharing one of our posts, a donation of some books or pencils or a few baby clothes…. it shows that you believe in us and that means the world. We couldn’t send money to feed the children without you. We couldn’t send clothes or books without you. Thank you for believing in us and being a part of our team and helping us to change the lives of the most vulnerable in Malawi.

Next year is going to be even busier as we put any negativity firmly behind us where it belongs and concentrate on each child who needs our help. Each of these hundreds of children has a name. They are individuals, now with hopes and dreams of a better future. A better future involving things we take for granted like food and education. Whether it’s playing football or netball, or helping look after the chickens or learning to sew or painting, each of these children feels safe at the Foundation. They can forget the dire poverty for a little while.

We will continue to help feed them. Help clothe them. Help educate them. Working closely with Levison and his team, we will continue to raise funds for what is most needed to improve the extreme poverty in Ibuluma. £300 has just been sent to buy fruit tree saplings for future food and income. We need to provide more but it’s a good start. An extention is being built to house more chickens, thanks to one of our trustees and artist, Christine Cresswell, who donated the proceeds from the sale of her beautiful paintings.

We have over 80 children and young people matched with sponsors and Levison is currently getting lots of them ready for secondary school next week. 17 boxes of books had been delivered to the local primary school recently with more being on the next container which will go to another primary. Children are enjoying reading books in Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation. Education is the key to a better future for each of these children. A better future for them and their families and future generations. To have helped in a small way to make this happen is a privilege and we are very glad to be in the fortunate position to be able to help. We are fortunate and thankful to have you helping us and being part of the team around these malnourished children.

Have a very Happy New Year. We wish each of you health and happiness in 2022 and look forward to you journeying with us in 2022 to continue Changing Lives Malawi.

Thank you for reading, Sarah & the Team x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com