Bible Knowledge & the gift of bibles

Thanks to St Michael’s Church Slateford Road, Edinburgh for helping to support the students at Bright Futures Secondary School.

Sarah’s blog 3/2/23

Last year we had a very generous donation of lots of preloved bibles from St Michael’s Parish Church, Slateford Road in Edinburgh.

Bible Knowledge is one of the subjects on the school curriculum in Malawi. Yesterday, there was time to open some more boxes and the bibles were given to the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. These will be so helpful with their studies as previously all the teenagers were trying to share only a few bibles between them. Thank you so much to St Michael’s Parish Church for supporting the students’ education.

I asked Levison when I saw these photos that he sent me yesterday why some of the students were in casual clothes. He said they got absolutely soaked through on their way to school. It’s currently the rainy season and most of these students do not have a rain jackets. You can see in the photos that some of the students have flipflops/sliders or will have walked in bare feet to keep their school shoes clean. Do you have a good rain jacket that you no longer need or that your child has outgrown that we can send to these vulnerable students please? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Also, I mentioned to Levison that everyone looked very serious in the photos. He told me it was because these photos were taken just before lunchtime and these students hadn’t eaten since the day before so they were really hungry and tired. We must try to find more support with feeding these young people. Can you commit a small monthly amount to help provide breakfast to these orphans as well as them receiving a free school lunch? There isn’t much at home for them to eat and they cannot study properly if they are hungry and malnourished. Will you help by committing £5 or £10 per month to help provide food at Bright Futures Secondary School. Because costs have risen so much, we estimate that it will cost £25 per student per month to feed them breakfast as well as lunch, so whatever you can give towards this will make a difference. We can’t do it on our own. We always say it is about teamwork and you are a valuable part of our team. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Thanks for reading and supporting these vulnerable teenagers, Sarah x

Merchiston Castle School – another rugby donation

Another generous rugby donation from Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh – thank you

Sarah’s blog 2/2/23

Bruce Aitchison, a housemaster at Merchiston Castle School, has been so supportive of our charity and of introducing rugby to the orphans and other vulnerable children we support in rural Northern Malawi. Bruce also runs the social media site for rugby fans ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’.

Rugby was only played for the first time in the far north when Jack Mphande, Malawian Rugby Development Coach visited last year. We and Community Sports Leaders Africa sponsored Jack’s visit to coach the young people who absolutely loved it. The fact that someone came from the south to spend time with the orphans was a huge deal to them. They no longer feel forgotten and they know that people are investing in their futures.

Last year Stuart, my husband, travelled to Edinburgh to Merchiston Castle School, to meet with Bruce and some of the boys who are students there to receive a big donation of rugby kit, boots and rugby balls. These have all now arrived in Malawi and the young people have modelled them and are delighted with such smart rugby kit. Bruce contacted us to say that there were more boots for us to send so we were able to meet him this morning. These donations will make such a difference to the young people’s mental health as well as enjoying playing rugby for their physical health.

Jack Mphande has kindly set aside two weeks (in May/June dates to be confirmed) to head north once again to train teachers in the 14 primary schools and also coach the young people at Bright Futures Secondary School. We estimate that to facilitate this it will cost approximately £400 so any help would be much appreciated. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

All the rugby balls, kit and boots will be able to be shared amongst the different schools. A lot of students, even though they are still at primary school, are teenagers, as they have missed a lot of school to work for a pittance to try to earn money for food. These vulnerable students love playing team sports and are able to forget about the poverty they live in and the trauma they have experienced. Spending time learning new skills and playing competitively with their friends is so good for them.

Thanks so much to Bruce and Merchiston Castle School. I’ve included some links from Bright Futures Secondary School and Jack’s first rugby visit.

Hope you enjoy the photos and videos and reading my blogs and thank you everyone who has supported us to help the children in Malawi, Sarah x

Phase 2 0f Bright Futures Secondary School – classrooms 3 & 4 – Changing Lives Malawi The link to our fundraiser for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School is https://gofund.me/ece5753a

Rugby, School & Sponsorship – Changing Lives Malawi

Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh – Rugby Kit Donation – Changing Lives Malawi (includes links to Jack Mphande’s first rugby visit)

Housemaster Bruce Aitchison who also runs the rugby social media site ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’
Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Today’s donation was two big bags of rugby boots – thanks to Bruce and everyone who donated their boots!
Some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School with the generous donation of kit, boots and rugby balls from Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh

A great photo of orphans enjoying playing rugby during Jack Mphande’s first coaching visit to introduce rugby in the far north of Malawi.

The First School Trip – football & netball

Sarah’s blog 30/1/23

The students at Bright Futures Secondary School were invited to go to Chisenga Secondary School yesterday to play football and netball against Chisenga.

I don’t think we can quite comprehend the level of excitement and how much this trip meant to the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. Levison had sent me photos and videos last night but phoned me this morning to give me details and he was so happy that it had all gone well. All the students, and teachers, had enjoyed the afternoon enormously.

Most of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School have never been in a car before. So when they found out that they were going to Chisenga in taxis they were amazed. Levison said one student asked “Sir, you mean we have to pay for this journey?” so Levison was able to say “No, this is part of your education at Bright Futures Secondary School.”

Levison said that the students were a real credit to Bright Futures Secondary School, encouraging each other and singing lots of songs together. They cooperated well with each other and were very proud to be representing their school.

So from new experiences like being in a vehicle for the first time, having nice football and netball strips, trainers and football boots, and representing their school, the students know that they are valued. They know people care about them. They know that people are investing in them and their future. Levison said they are motivated to work hard in school. The spectators and staff at Chisenga School were surprised by the kits that the Bright Futures students were wearing and the fact that Levison took a new football to be used.

Unfortunately, the netball results didn’t go in Bright Futures favour; the first team’s results were 1 – 9 and the second team’s results were 6 – 10 but they tried their best and that’s all anyone can ask of them and we are proud of them.

Bright Futures football first team won their match 2 – 1 and the second team’s match ended in a draw 0 – 0. Very well done everyone we are proud of you!

So we want to thank everyone who has made yesterday a hugely successful trip. Thank you for the donation towards the taxis. Thank you to those who have donated trainers and football boots and sports kits. We couldn’t support the children without your help. Levison was very keen for me to pass on his thanks to everyone who helped make yesterday “I would really like to thank the donors…it was the best day for our school so far”.

We still need to raise a bit more money to cover the cost of the taxis yesterday, so if anyone would like to donate then we would be very grateful contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Levison said they would have given the students from Bright Futures a special meal if they could have afforded that. Instead, each student today has been given a new pen and pencil.

One of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School, Daniel, speaking on behalf of the students said “I want to thank you about the support you gave yesterday. I’m very glad to say that we won the game yesterday. We are more than happy because we have put our school on the map. Thank you supporters. The other school was challenging us, saying that Bright Futures is just a baby school that opened some few months ago which they thought it was obvious for us to fail the game. So winning the game was a relief to put the school on the flag of the winners.”

“I, as the headteacher, speaking on behalf of my colleagues, would like to say thank you for the support that we received yesterday. We are very glad to tell you that our first team won the football. We managed to beat one of our neighbouring schools who thought that they would win because we are only a small school. Winning yesterday made our school proud. It gave us confidence that we are strong as an institution. It has put Bright Futures Secondary School on the map. We have made history at yesterday’s game not only were there students there from Chisenga, but also people from surrounding communities came and watched the game. So, when they are leaving to go to their various places, they carried news that Bright Futures Secondary School is one of the strongest school with a strong team. This has given us confidence and has encouraged the students and the teachers. Our teams looked good in their jerseys and boots. Thank you so much. Please continue supporting us.” Miss Mtambo, Headteacher.

Bright Futures Secondary School Footballers are wearing red/black – Craigshill Thistle Football Club and also green – Edinburgh South Football Club. Bright Futures Secondary School Netball teams are wearing white/navy – Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club and also yellow/black – Fakenham Town Football Club. Thank you to all these clubs who have donated kit and also to Paul Goodwin, Paul Kelly, Julian Chenery and ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’ and, of course, The Bananabox Trust for their help with getting donations to Malawi.

Thank you for reading and supporting the students of Bright Futures Secondary School. I hope you enjoy the photos and videos, Sarah x

World Education Day – Changing Lives Malawi

Phase 2 0f Bright Futures Secondary School – classrooms 3 & 4 – Changing Lives Malawi

Many thanks to Edinburgh South, Craigshill Thistle & Fakenham Town football clubs and also Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club for these kits.

Football & netball matches

Sarah’s blog 27/1/23

The students at Bright Futures Secondary School have had an invitation from Chisenga Secondary School to play football and netball against them. Bright Futures teams will go to Chisenga Secondary this Sunday and, at a future date, the Chisenga School teams will play at Bright Futures Secondary School.

The Bright Futures students are really excited to be playing against another school at netball and football. It will be so good for them to be having fun with their friends playing team sports. Everyone is looking forward to Sunday.

We need some help please. It would be far too tiring if the students were to spend hours walking there, playing their matches and then walking back…so they will need to go in taxis to Chisenga School. We have already had one donation towards this but need approximately another £150. So if any of our supporters love football or netball or both, or just want the teenagers at Bright Futures Secondary School to be able to represent their new school playing sport, we would be so grateful for any donations towards the cost of taxi fares. contact_us@changinglivesmalaw.com There will, of course, be lots of photos from the matches on Sunday.

Thank you so much for helping us to support these vulnerable teenagers, Sarah x

Fakenham Town Football Strips donated by Wear A Sports Shirt Day

World Education Day

On World Education Day, we thank our supporters who are helping us provide education to some of the most vulnerable orphans in rural northern Malawi.

Sarah’s blog 24/1/23

What does education look like where you live? How many years do children go to school? Is it provided to all children, at no cost?

Where you live, what happens to children when they leave school? Do most go to college or university or an apprenticeship? Or they might go straight into employment? All of these opportunities happen after children have completed primary AND SECONDARY education. What would happen if they didn’t have these opportunities?

Not all children will pass all of their exams. As long as they’ve tried their best and worked hard, that’s all anyone can ask. They will still have been learning whilst at school.

Imagine that there are schools… but not for your children. In Malawi, primary school is free. However, if you cannot afford food then your children will have to miss school so they can earn a pittance to try to help buy food for the family.

Imagine your child walking all day to the nearest maize mill with a heavy bundle of maize balanced on their head. It’s not even your maize… they are walking 15km or 20km all day with their heavy burden to be paid a pittance for carrying someone else’s maize to the mill. No clean water or food to drink or eat all day, at risk of being attacked along the way. They have to miss school. How does that feel?

Laston, one of the boys we have matched with a sponsor, worked for a farmer, helping to look after his cows, for approximately £1.50 per month. There was no school for Laston – school was for other children – until we found a sponsor to support him.

In Chambo primary school, where the majority of orphans and other vulnerable children attend, whom the Foundation supports, they have minimal resources. No desks and chairs, apart from primary 8. All other children sit on the floor in their classrooms. They have hardly any books. They have no clean water supply and no latrines. We gifted 17 boxes of books to Chambo primary school to support literacy and help children become confident readers.

Children have to sit exams when leaving primary school. If you don’t pass then you don’t go to secondary school. There are not enough places in secondary school, so if you don’t get picked for a place then you don’t go. If you do pass your exams and are lucky enough to be picked for a place but you can’t afford to pay the fees… it’s heartbreaking. That is your formal education finished at the end of primary school.

That’s why Bright Futures Secondary School was desperately needed. To ensure all the orphans and vulnerable children, supported by The Foundation, had the chance of a secondary education without having to pay. Education is everything to these children. They know it is their escape from the dire poverty they live in.

Bright Futures Secondary School is being built in phases, as it’s obviously a big and costly project. Phase 1 has been successfully completed – staff accommodation, staff latrine and classrooms 1 and 2 and passed with flying colours when the inspectors came from the Education Department.

Now we need to continue our fundraising commitment to build classrooms 3 and 4 to ensure these vulnerable students have the opportunities the deserve. That they have choices and chances. That they have a brighter future.

All students at Bright Futures Secondary School are provided with a uniform, a school bag, other clothes. They receive a free school lunch. They have access to clean water and showers. Girls are given reusable sanitary towels (made at The Foundation) so they don’t have to miss one week of school each month. They are allowed to borrow books to take home from the library at The Foundation. Their dreams are coming true. They are working hard. With your help we are changing lives in Malawi.

On World Education Day we are saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who has helped us to support the students this far. Without your help, these students would not have been able to attend secondary school and have a free lunch each day. The school lunch is vital as it’s probably the only meal for many of them.

We need your help to build the next phase of the school. Two classrooms and more latrines will cost £25,000. Will you be part of the team supporting these vulnerable students to succeed and achieve? Will you be part of the team allowing them to have more choices and chances? Will you be part of the team helping them to help themselves out of poverty? https://gofund.me/ece5753a

If, on World Education Day, you would like to show your commitment to some of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi, please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or donate to our fundraiser here

We are passionate about helping these children to help themselves out of poverty and giving them a better start. The nursery has 75 preschool children (age 4-6). As well as clothes and blankets, each child has just been gifted a book to take home. We want children to learn that books are a wonderful resource that can be used each day for information and escapism. Who knows if any of these children will become authors in the future and write books for other children?

As you might imagine, running costs, as well as capital costs for these projects need to be found. The children need more people fighting their corner and supporting their education. Here are ways you can get involved;

1. Can you donate to our fundraiser to build classrooms 3 & 4? https://gofund.me/ece5753a

2. Can you commit to £5 or £10 monthly to help pay for food for the nursery or secondary school?

3. Will you organise a fundraiser for us? Can you involve your friends? Can your family help? What could your children & their friends do?

4. Would you like us to visit your club or school and show photos & talk about the projects we are supporting in Malawi?

5. Would you like to be matched with a vulnerable child to support their education and wellbeing? It’s only £25 p/m and you can split this cost with a friend.

6. If you are selling preloved clothes or toys… could you do it on behalf of our charity?

7. Can your business sponsor an event? Or donate towards a building? Or pay for the feeding programme for a week? We would, of course give you publicity. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

You can be sure that all money goes to the projects we support. Our charity is run by committed volunteers. So we have no salaries or admin costs. Thank you for reading and supporting us to help continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Gifts for the nursery children – Changing Lives Malawi

Rugby, School & Sponsorship – Changing Lives Malawi

children at the nursery have all been gifted a book to support their literacy
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School in the rugby kit donated by Merchiston Castle School
Some of the girls with their new school bags
Students showing off the new rugby kit and balls supplied by Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Students in a practical science class
we sent school uniform for the students at Bright Futures Secondary School
Exam time
Practical agricultural lesson – preparing the ground in the new polytunnel for growing crops.
The library has a good selection of books and computers
Laston, one of the sponsored teenagers. The photo on the left shows Laston in the only clothes he had. His shoes had holes in the toes so he could continue to wear them as they were too small. He missed a lot of school and worked for a farmer, looking after his cows, for approximately £1.50 per month. Laston is now doing really well as he’s been matched with a sponsor and is working hard at school.
Stuart, one of our trustees, collecting rugby balls and kit from Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh

Phase 2 0f Bright Futures Secondary School – classrooms 3 & 4

Sarah’s blog 21/1/23

We are absolutely delighted with Phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School – as are the students, their families and the community. Thanks to your help, staff accommodation, a staff latrine and two classrooms were built to ensure that the most vulnerable teenagers are able to attend secondary school without having to pay fees which they cannot afford. Now they have chances and choices for the future. They will each have a brighter future.

So we are now thinking about classrooms 3 and 4 for September 2023 when the new academic term starts. We need to start raising funds so that building work can begin after the rains stop and in plenty of time for the new term in September.

So this is where we need your support again to help us help the vulnerable young people. Education is their way out of poverty and malnutrition. Please help? We need £25,000 to build two classrooms and more latrines as phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School. These vulnerable children need a team around them, giving them the support they need. Can you be part of their team?

This is the link to the new fundraiser for classrooms 3 & 4. https://gofund.me/ece5753a The other fundraiser is still open, so if you’ve got the link to that it’s ok, just that we will be able to monitor funds easier by having a new fundraiser for each phase of building Bright Futures Secondary School.

We are looking for donations, big and small, and also for people to raise funds on our behalf. Can you help the children? Can you take part in a sponsored event? Can you have a bake sale? Can you organise a fundraiser for us?

If you or your company donate £500 or more, then you can have your name put above a classroom door or on a building. We can advertise your company if you want to sponsor desks, uniforms, free school lunches for a week….or anything else. So please do get in touch and together we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading and all your support, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

We were able to send school uniform for the students
Merchiston Castle School generously donated rugby kit and rugby balls
science class
exam time

A few people to thank – word is spreading

Sarah’s blog 19/1/23

It has been so busy in recent months, with so much happening and so much to write about. Here are a few ways that news is spreading about how we are helping the hundreds of vulnerable children and young people in rural northern Malawi. We are truly grateful to everyone who helps us.

I am asked to contribute a regular article for Strathblane Kirk who are always very supportive of what we do. So a big thank you goes to Reverend Murdo Campbell and the Congregation of Strathblane Parish Church for their help and prayers. Here is the link to their church magazine. Our charity features on page 4 and page 8. cornerstone-winter-2022.pdf (wordpress.com)

A big THANK YOU to the Drymen Reporter and Parklife Magazine. Both of them featured our charity in their latest edition and we are very grateful to them for helping raise awareness for the projects we are supporting in Malawi. https://issuu.com/parklifescotland/docs/park_life_jan_feb_2023_web/s/17760215

I was contacted by Jack Lyon of West Group Technical Services Ltd, a local company. Jack explained that he provides his employees with new workwear every year. They didn’t want to throw away clothes that were still ok to use so wondered if we would like to have them. Of course, I said ‘yes please’. These will be great for some of the older teenagers who are doing practical work and learning skills to help with future employment. I’m very grateful to Jack for making contact and being willing to partner with us to support the young people we help.

I am looking forward to seeing photos of the preloved workwear when it arrives in Malawi. I explained to Jack that it could be up to 6 months before items arrive, depending whether the warehouse in Dundee belonging to The Bananabox Trust, is nearly full enough to order a container or still waiting for people to donate to the various charities they are supporting in Malawi. Once the container leaves Scotland, it usually takes about 3 months to arrive.

As I have said previously, we are now fundraising for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School to ensure that classrooms 3 and 4 are built in time for the new school year in September 2023. £20,000 is needed for these two classrooms so any help with fundraising will be much appreciated. Or if anyone wants to commit to a monthly amount to help provide free school meals then please do email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

We are holding a fundraiser on Friday 24th February in Balfron. So if you are local (or fairly local) please do get your tickets and come and support our quiz and band night. We are grateful for Douglas who is the quizmaster and is generously giving his time to help us and to a brilliant local band, Acoustic Station, who have kindly agreed to play for us free of charge and always provide a great night. So come and have fun with your friends and support the building of the next two classrooms at Bright Futures Secondary School. To buy tickets or to donate raffle prizes please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

The link to the school fundraiser is here https://gofund.me/44a92444 Thanks for reading and your continuous support. Please share our posts and tell your friends to ensure we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks, Sarah x

We would love you to join us at our fundraiser to raise funds towards two new classrooms at Bright Futures Secondary School

Very sad news from Ibuluma

Sarah’s blog 16/1/23

We have had some very sad news. One of the volunteers who helped at The Foundation has passed away. Eliza Silumbu was a lovely lady with a very kind heart who was generous with her time. Despite her and her family being very poor, she understood and agreed with everything Levison was trying to do for the vulnerable children in the village and she volunteered to help right from the start.

Eliza cooked for 500 children every weekend which must be a huge task and extremely tiring. Every weekend she volunteered to do this and every day she cooked for the nursery children and more recently the teenagers at Bright Futures Secondary School. The Foundation would not have got off the ground and flourished if it wasn’t for members of the community like Eliza, totally understanding that people must help to make things better for themselves and the most vulnerable in their community. She had been there whenever she was needed, willing to make the lives of hundreds of children slightly better, feeding and nurturing them.

Eliza had an asthma attack and passed away at the health centre. The whole community is shocked and saddened. Levison said that Eliza’s husband is a peasant farmer and is very poor. They have children. Levison is going to take food and supplies to the family to help them in the short term. We hope that some of you may find it in your hearts to help us help them. I will do another post to appeal for sponsors to support Eliza’s children. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Eliza will be missed so much by her husband and her own children…and she will also be missed by hundreds of other children whose lives she touched and made just a little bit better.

We send condolences to Levison, the staff and other volunteers and the children and, of course, to Eliza’s family. Rest in peace, Eliza, and thank you for everything, Sarah x

‘The time is always right to do what is right’ – Martin Luther King Jnr

Sarah’s blog 15/1/23

I absolutely love volunteering for Changing Lives Malawi and helping to support some of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. It is hard work and a huge responsibility but very worthwhile. They are in a very rural location so there are no big agencies working in that area yet. There are no big charities feeding children in primary schools that far north.

Everyone is hungry. Most are suffering from malnutrition and don’t eat properly every day. 500 children come to The Foundation each weekend to be fed at the Feeding Programme we help to support. They are given a nutritious, substantial cooked meal. Some of the 500 children walk up to 20kms for this one proper meal of the week. We can only afford to send enough money for the feeding programme to run once a week for that many children as we are also trying to address other issues for them like education, skills for life, clean water and projects that will help the community be self-sufficient.

If there were less vulnerable children needing support, it would be easier. Five hundred hungry, malnourished children of all ages is a big responsibility. We need to grow our supporters so that these children have a team of people lifting them out of dire poverty. We need you. The 500 vulnerable children need you.

So how can you help?

  1. 500+ children are fed once a week at the feeding programme. Can you make a one off payment to support this? or can you commit to a monthly amount of £5 or £10 each month? Can your business sponsor the feeding programme one day for a donation of £100. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
  2. The nursery – for 75 vulnerable preschool children, They are fed every time they meet. Can you commit to a monthly payment of £5 or £10 to support nursery feeding? Or can you help by buying a bag of gifts for a child for £12 (each child receives a gym bag containing a blanket, 3 pairs of pants, 2 red t-shirts, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste and a book). contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
  3. Bright Futures Secondary School – Phase 1 recently opened and the students are being given a nutritious hot meal each lunchtime which is probably their only meal of the day. Can you commit to £5 or £10 per month towards continuing to provide free school meals at the secondary school? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
  4. School Literacy Project – we are sending boxes of preloved books to the primary schools that are nearest The Foundation. Please could you sponsor the cost of sending a box of books for £20? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
  5. Could you sponsor a vulnerable child to help provide them with more food and help towards their education? It’s £25 p/m and you can share the cost with a friend. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
  6. Bright Futures Secondary School – through very generous support, we raised enough money to build phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School (two classrooms and staff accommodation). We now need your help to raise funds for classrooms 3 and 4. https://gofund.me/44a92444
  7. Chickens & Eggs – now we have the incubator connected to solar power, it’s ready to be used to hatch chicken eggs. It can hold approximately 500 eggs and a tray of fertilized eggs costs £10. If you’d like to buy a tray of eggs then please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com The incubator was bought with a generous donation from Lochlie Construction Ltd.

We all have the ability to do our little bit to help. We all have the ability to help others and do what is right. Each of us has different skills we can use. Even if you are unable to donate financially, could you keep sharing our posts with your friends? Thanks so much for reading and supporting us to continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Some of the pre-school children having received their bags of gifts. You can provide a bag of gifts for a child starting nursery in September for £12

Each preschool child received a bag containing; a blanket, 2 red t-shirts, pants, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste and a book. Can you help us continue to provide these gifts for £12 per child? These children also receive preloved clothes at least twice a year.
Secondary students at Bright Futures Secondary School enjoying lunch at their Christmas Party – paid for by two generous supporters.
More of the 500 children who all received a nutritious meal at the Christmas Party.
Some boys enjoying their meal. This will be the most food they will have in a week. We wish we could run the feeding programme more often than once a week.
Phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School has opened, providing free education for the most vulnerable. We now need your help to build classrooms 3 & 4.
You can’t help but smile when you see that these vulnerable children are happy and relaxed and having fun with their friends. At The Foundation they can forget their worries for a while.
This was when the incubator was first bought with a donation from Lochlie Construction Ltd, before the power supply got even worse. Thankfully now that it is running on solar power there will soon be more eggs and chicks for the nursery children to look at.

Solar Power & the Incubator

Sarah’s blog 14/1/23

A while ago we had a very generous donation from a company called Lochlie Construction. They gave money for the purchase of an incubator so that eggs could be hatched on a larger scale and then the chicks/chickens could be sold as a form of income for the Foundation. Self-sufficiency is always the end goal but not many plans are straightforward! The Foundation has electricity in some of the buildings, however, the supply of electricity has been very sporadic…only being on for a few hour at a time. After successfully hatching one lot of chicks the electricity supply was even less…certainly not enough to keep the eggs warm in the incubator.

We tried to source solar panels in Malawi to power the incubator but this wasn’t possible. So when we had enough money spare, we purchased solar panels and a generator and sent this on the last Bananabox Trust Container. The electrician attached the solar panels to the nearest building roof (so they are less likely to be stolen) as the chicken shed roof is much lower. However, as we know nothing happens easily! We had no spare money to pay the electrician to connect the solar panels, generator and the incubator until a chance conversation I had with someone earlier in the week on the subject of self-sufficiency. I had said about the chicken project that would be going ahead as soon as we had the money to employ the electrician. They then offered to pay for the electrician to connect the solar power supply to the incubator. We are very grateful for this generosity.

As you know, we are volunteers and do not have admin costs, so all monies donated go straight to the projects we support in Malawi. The electrician started work yesterday and finished off today. Some of the teenagers from Bright Futures Secondary School kindly helped dig the trench for the cables to keep costs down. Fertilized eggs will now need to be purchased at £10 per tray of 30 eggs and then, hopefully, this will be a sustainable project bringing in a source of income for The Foundation. There is room for approximately 500 eggs at one time.

When we have more money, the electrician will do some more wiring so that the solar power can run other things, like the computers in the library, lighting, recharging the hair clippers that we sent and the projector for showing films and educational programmes. We mustn’t forget the television too as everyone loves watching football! Lives are changing and the children’s futures are looking brighter. We hope that you will keep being part of our team, supporting them to have choices and chances that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.

Thank you to Lochlie Construction for the incubator and to the donor who paid for the electrician. Thanks also to Bananabox Trust who organise the container and ensured the solar panels were packed carefully and arrived safely in Malawi. If you would like to support this project by purchasing some eggs for the incubator or you’d like to support any of the other projects then please do email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .

Hope you enjoy hearing about what is happening at The Foundation and hope you enjoy looking at the photos. Thanks, Sarah x

This photo was taken when the incubator first arrived at The Foundation. There is room for over 500 eggs.
This lovely photo was when some of the children at the nursery were looking at the first batch of eggs that had been carefully placed in the incubator. Hopefully, there will soon be lots of chicks for them to see.
Some of the students helping to dig a trench for the power cables. The chicken shed is on the left of the photo, in the centre is the staff latrine that was built recently and the staff accommodation on the right of the photo.
Some of the students kindly helping to dig a trench to the chicken shed which is on the left of the photo
The electrician busy at work
The incubator now has power….yay!
You can see the solar panels that have been installed on the roof of the staff accommodation which is the building nearest to the chicken shed where the incubator is.

Gifts for the nursery children

Sarah’s blog 10/1/23

There are 75 vulnerable pre-school children, ages 4-6, in the nursery at The Foundation. All are malnourished, some have stunted growth. We are doing what we can in order to help them have a better start in life.

Today, because of the rains, only about half of them were there to receive the gifts we had sent. The others will get their gifts another day. Proper records are kept to ensure none of them miss out.

Today is an exciting day for them…it’s the first time they have received a book of their own to keep and take home. This is part of The Literacy Project. I am an Early Years Educator and so am passionate about these children having the opportunities that our children have. When we have access to books pre-reading starts when babies are on an adult’s knee, having a story read to them. They look at the pictures and can anticipate certain points in the story because of the way the adult reads and shares this special time with them. Toddlers will bring their favourite storybook to an adult in order that they can share the story together. They can point to things in the pictures, they know that you turn the pages and they ‘pretend’ to read by tracing the words with their fingers. They know that these letter shapes are where the story comes from.

The children at The Foundation nursery have missed out on all of these experiences. We want story books to become an every day part of their lives. We want every home to have at least two books to support literacy. I had a video call with the headteacher of Bright Futures Secondary School yesterday and she was delighted that books were being given to the children in the nursery. She said they are trying to ‘play catchup’ with the students at Bright Futures Secondary School as they have missed out on having access to reading materials from a young age. Many of the students missed a lot of school to work for a pittance to buy food….it’s been so hard for them. We look forward to seeing how having books at home makes a difference to these children and their families.

Today, each child received a drawstring bag containing, a blanket, 2 red t-shirts, pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap and a picture book. As I said in a recent post, in future, we want to be able to include a knitted teddy in each bag for children starting nursery. If you are able to help support this nursery project in any way then please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Here is the link to Sunday’s post 10 Teddies – supporting the nursery children – Changing Lives Malawi Enjoy the photos and thanks for your support, Sarah x

10 Teddies – supporting the nursery children

Sarah’s blog 8/1/23

I’ve had a lovely donation today from a lady who heard me talking about Malawi, and showing photos, at church one Sunday. She has been busy knitting teddies for the children in the nursery as well as a baby blanket and two quilts. We are always very grateful when people have spent time & used their talents to help us support some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

This week, the 75 children in the nursery will receive the gifts we have sent for them. Proper records are kept, so any children who are absent, will receive their gifts another day. This way, we know that all children have had gifts when starting nursery and again when starting at Bright Futures Secondary School.

Each child will receive; a gym bag, a blanket, 2 red t-shirts (nursery uniform), 3 pairs of pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap and a picture book with some words in it. These children have missed out on all the stages of pre-reading that we take for granted with our children. We would love for every home to have at least two books. So you should see a post later in the week of the pre-school children receiving all these gifts.

As this is an ongoing project, I would love to be able to send a knitted teddy or other small soft toy for each of them. This would be the first toy they would have of their own. Can you help us? It would be lovely if they each had a teddy to cuddle as they go to sleep at night. please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you would like to support this project by knitting teddies for the 75 children we help to support who are age 4-6.

Or when you are shopping, could you buy some bars of soap on a regular basis? Or toothbrushes & toothpaste? Quite often, at this time of year, there will be packets of pants in the sales…we need age 3-6 please if you’d like to buy some. Are your children tidying out some of their books they’ve finished reading? Then we’d like pre-school ones for this nursery project and older books for the school literacy project please. The plain red t-shirts we are sending are either round neck or polo t-shirts that are ages 3 – 6 and are in the school uniform department of shops & supermarkets.

As these children are fed each time the nursery meets to try to reduce the malnutrition all the children suffer from, this obviously has an ongoing cost. Could you support helping to feed these children please? Could you commit to £5 or £10 per month towards food for the nursery? Any help you can give will make a huge difference. We need to build a team to support this project and these children to give them a better start. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for your support and commitment to helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

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