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Torrance Parish Church Stitch & Enrich group

Sarah’s blog 27/7/22

I wanted to say ‘thank you’ and I am amazed at the generosity of people who have taken our charity and the work we are doing, supporting the vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi, to their hearts.

I received this message earlier from one of our charity’s friends:

“Coming your way from the Torrance Parish Church Stitch and Enrich group: 52 hats, 6 baby cardigans/sweaters, 16 teddies, 5 baby blankets, 6 scarves and 2 drawstring bags”

Members of Torrance Parish Church have also provided some secondary school uniform and we are very grateful for their kindness.

These gorgeous teddies will be able to go to some of the younger nursery children who will be delighted to have a teddy of their own to cuddle.

The baby blankets, cardigans & hats will be gifted to new mums at the local health centre for their babies.

https://changinglivesmalawi.com/new-project-3/?amp=1

Scarves & hats will help keep children warm during the colder evenings, especially those who do not have adequate blankets.

The drawstring bags will be given to teenage girls to keep their reusable sanitary towels and spare pants in, giving them some privacy and dignity.

https://changinglivesmalawi.com/new-project-2/?amp=1

Many thanks again to everyone who helps us. It’s lovely to know that this group of talented people have been meeting to chat and make gifts for the children. They are all so lovely, Sarah x

Thank you to everyone who has donated their time and talents for the children we help to support.

Getting ready for school

Sarah’s blog 26/7/22

As you know, we are trying our best to raise money to build the first block of a secondary school. Bright Futures Secondary School will be a community school for the orphans and other vulnerable young people to attend.

Education should be available for everyone. There are currently not enough places at local secondary schools. If you don’t get picked for a place, even if you have passed your primary leavers exams and can afford the school fees.

This is what happened to eleven of our sponsored young people this year. They are resitting their last year of primary school, hoping for better grades, hoping to be picked for a place.

As the local secondary school is a distance away the young people, who are sponsored and do get a place at school, have to board at school. This adds to costs and also means they aren’t available to help their families with chores.

A secondary school in the village would make such a difference to so many people. Education is their way out of dire poverty – their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Bricks are being made…about 40,000 so far, and kilns are going to be built soon to fire the bricks.

There are people working hard in Malawi and here to try our best to help these vulnerable children. As well as education, a school will help prevent teenage pregnancies and girls being married off too soon. Already, The Foundation has proved that if the young people are kept busy and given opportunities then there will be far less teenage pregnancies. The young people’s self-esteem has increased as they learn new skills, play team sports with their peers and read in the library. They know people care about them. They have hope for a better future. We need to continue supporting the projects that support them. This is absolutely vital to protect these vulnerable young people.

Here, we are trying to raise funds and awareness. It’s really hard as we know that some people have less available cash. We need to reach a wider group of people and if we all give a little, that will add up to a lot!

Also, we are trying to source supplies to provide for the young people when the school is built. We need to plan ahead as the container takes approximately 3 months for its journey.

There are over 100 chairs at The Bananabox Trust warehouse that we are sending for the first phase of the school. Someone donated boxes of new laptop bags. We are sending 80 of these for the young people to use as school bags. Pencil cases and pens are in boxes too as well as some secondary school uniform.

Stuart, my husband, delivered some boxes and 72 rugby balls to Dundee today and took a photo of all the chairs to show Levison.

I also received a photo from one of our supporters today who put a shout out on her village Facebook page asking for preloved secondary school uniform. People have been very generous as she’s collected a great amount which will kit out some of the pupils who will attend Bright Futures Secondary School.

There’s still so much to do and so much money to raise but we WILL do this. The children are relying on us. So if you can spare a few £££ we would be so grateful. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Donate here: https://GoFund.me/44a92444 or get in touch contact_us@changibglivesmalawi.com

The donations that Stuart took to Dundee today including 72 rugby balls from Annan rugby club and Merchiston Castle School. You can see that the warehouse is getting full.
The chairs that we are sending for Bright Futures Secondary School
We are grateful for this huge pile of secondary school uniform donations that we will send for the pupils when they start school

Jackie’s very wet adventure

Sarah’s blog 25/7/22

Jackie is one of the people who has embraced our kilometre challenge and has been doing lots of cycling. She is also keeping a note of the totals for me.

Jackie and family have been helping to move a boat through the locks on the Crinan Canal. There are 15 locks along the canal to move the boats from one level to the next. Jackie had her bike with her and was running and cycling between the locks adding to her total kilometres.

If you want more info on the canal here is a link: https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/crinan/crinancanal/index.html

It is a beautiful place and I had said to Jackie last week that there would be lots of tourists watching them open and close the locks as the boat travelled through the different sections. There were no tourists! The rain could not have been any heavier and poor Jackie (and everyone else) got absolutely soaked. She is very brave for allowing me to post a photo of her looking a little bit wet and fed up! Well done Jackie and thank you for adding lots of kilometres to our total.

So I’m going to post a couple of photos to show you how beautiful the scenery is then Jackie’s photos and the route she was running/cycling back and forward!

The new totals are U.K. 1,250.285 kilometres, Malawi 320km = 1,570.285 kilometres which is 11.95% of our total.

To take part in our challenge to travel one of the routes the boxes of aid take from here, Balfron, to northern Malawi… over 13,000km click here https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 and to donate to help us build a much needed school … Bright Futures Secondary School https://GoFund.me/44a92444

If you think Jackie has done a brilliant job this weekend then please donate a few £££. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Internet photo – One of the locks on the canal on a sunny day
Another photo from the internet… this is what Jackie would have been doing but in the pouring rain!
Jackie’s bike and the boat they were helping to move through the 15 locks in the torrential rain
The Crinan Canal
Jackie covered quite a few kilometres running and cycling back and forward
A very wet and tired Jackie! Well done Jackie and thank you for sharing your kilometres with us!

Our website visitors

Sarah’s blog 24/7/22

Just a short post from me today as I’ve got an issue with my laptop that will hopefully be sorted by tomorrow. It’s times like this that I realise that technology isn’t my forte… but thank goodness for friends who can help.

Douglas & Lynda delivered another load of boxes to Dundee yesterday. Stuart & I spent a couple of hours yesterday packing boxes. The Bananabox Trust shed in Dundee will soon be full again and then they will book another container. It won’t be long until the current one arrives at it’s destination .

Hopefully, I’ll have an update on the kilometre challenge for you tomorrow with some photos too.

So I want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ again to everyone who supports us. We really do appreciate you.

I love this photo from The Foundation Christmas Party where younger children were all given a rain jacket, a pencil and a lolly. Smiles like this are so good to see.

Our website is having visitors from all over the world which is brilliant! This week some of the countries from which people have viewed our website are; Thailand, Spain, U.K., USA, UAE, Canada, Israel, China, Netherlands, Malawi, Ireland, Peru, Zimbabwe, Libya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Antigua and France.

You can keep up to date with the most recent news by signing up to receive my blog. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

The children need food

Sarah’s blog 20/7/22

Running a Foundation is a huge responsibility and the rural location of The Foundation adds to the pressure that Levison is under.

There are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the far north of Malawi. The responsibility has fallen to The Foundation to feed 500+ children once a week. Children are walking from up to 20km away to have that one substantial meal each week.

This is all we can afford at the moment. There are so many calls on finances as we try our best to support a community back to self-sufficiency.

The Foundation teaches life skills to the children and young people. Growing crops is part of the skills the children learn. Unfortunately the crop of maize was affected by the flooding earlier this year and part of the crop was washed away. This year’s crop will only feed the children for two months.

The price of buying maize fluctuates throughout the year depending on availability and time of year.

The Malawian Kwacha was devalued a few months ago and all prices have gone up. However, maize is more than double the price it was this time last year.

Thank you to the few people who have given £5 per month towards the feeding programme as we have been grateful for this to top up the money we send each month to feed the children.

We know that we are asking for a lot of help but the more people who know about our charity and The Foundation, the more we can spread the help we need across more supporters. So I urge you to please share our posts and also tell your friends about us and the help we need.

All of us in the U.K. are volunteers and no money is spent on admin costs as we donate our time, petrol for transporting boxes to Dundee etc. So you can be sure if you donate money for feeding children, that’s where it will go.

Please, please can you donate £5 per month towards our feeding programme? I need 20 people to commit to £5 per month to enable the children to still be fed a substantial meal each week at The Foundation.

Please, if you can, donate £5 p/m by emailing contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details. The children have come to rely on that one substantial meal each week…we can’t let them down.

Please help us continue helping the children by donating £5 per month for food. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to help feed the 500+ vulnerable children today. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the children having their one nutritious meal of the week.

Traci’s reached 200km

Sarah’s blog 18/7/22

Traci has just logged her second 100km… you are amazingly dedicated Traci, even in this hot weather! Very well done and thank you for supporting us.

Now we need people to show support for Traci’s effort to help raise funds to build a much needed school in rural Northern Malawi. Please read what Traci says:

“I’ve just logged my latest 101.64km for Changing Lives Malawi, walked over the last 8 days, bringing my total for the first 18 days of July to 229.21km – so I’m well on schedule to smashing my 500km by the end of August. I’d like to proudly boast that 4 of those km were done in high heels on Wednesday in Dundee! The rest were done locally in East Dunbartonshire in sensible walking shoes, but todays 11.5km were particularly challenging in Sahara-like conditions!
If you’d like to show your encouragement, and more importantly help build a school in Northern Malawi, please make a small donation at https://gofund.me/44a92444
It would also be great if you could support the cause by logging your own km – it can be a one-off walk, run, cycle, swim, row etc – we really need more people to get involved to reach the target of 13,144 km to Malawi. You can log your km at https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9
Thank you!”

Please donate here: https://gofund.me/44a92444

And to read more info and take part in the km challenge: https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9%20

Thanks for reading and supporting and thanks Traci for your dedication, Sarah x

Traci on her walks in sensible shoes and her lovely high heels that walked 4km!

Imagine a world with no school

Sarah’s blog 18/7/22

Imagine a world with no school. Lots of children might initially be cheering. But think of your life…if you’d not been to secondary school, would your life look very different now?

Would you be ok if your children didn’t have the opportunity to go to secondary school? I think we can all agree, no matter whether you liked secondary school or not, secondary school enabled us to learn more. Whether you liked science or languages or PE or arithmetic or music, or whatever subjects you had at your school, you had the opportunity to learn and to try different things.

You may have gone on to college or university or gone straight into the workforce. Could you have done that with just your primary school education?

The point of my rambling is that education is every child’s right. All children, wherever they live in the world, whatever their background or circumstances, should have a chance to go to school. We would be different people to the people we are now if we hadn’t had those opportunities. Please help us ensure that the children The Foundation supports have access to education. It’s their way out of poverty. It’s their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Currently, there are not enough secondary school places available for the young people whom The Foundation supports in rural northern Malawi. Secondary school needs to be paid for. None of the children supported by The Foundation can afford to pay school fees, which is why we try our best to match children with sponsors to help pay their school fees.

Children can only go to secondary school if they pass their primary school leavers exams. However, because there aren’t enough secondary school places, even if you’ve passed your primary school leavers exams, if you don’t get picked for a place at secondary school then you can’t go. It’s heart breaking for these children who have so many problems in their lives not to be picked even though they have tried their best.

Also, as the nearest secondary school is a distance away, pupils who are supported by The Foundation and who are picked to go to secondary school, have to board at school making it even more expensive. Families and caregivers who rely on these teenagers for help with chores or looking after younger siblings also miss out on having them at home.

Bright Futures Secondary School is going to make a difference to so many. It is going to change lives. It will be in the village, for village children who cannot afford school fees. The first year classrooms will be built during the first year, then the second in the second year and so on until all four years are built. However, we cannot do this without you. We know it is a huge project and a huge ask but we have a responsibility to ensure that all children have an education. We want the same things for the children supported by The Foundation that we want for our own children.

Can you help us please? Can you make a difference? Can you change lives? Here is the link to our fundraiser for the school. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Even just a few £££ will make a difference. Here is the link to our kilometre challenge https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 and we would love you to get involved. It’s always about team work and we cannot do what we do without your help. Please?

We don’t want children leaving primary school and going straight into work. They would be working for a pittance with what prospects of a better future? One boy, who is now sponsored, was working for a farmer for the equivalent of £1.50 per month. We need to ensure all children have a childhood and have the opportunities they deserve. Please help us to continue Changing Lives Malawi.

Laston, the boy in the video, was the boy who was working for £1.50 per month and only had rags to wear. He is thriving since being matched with a sponsor. There are hundreds of children like Laston who need our help. What will you do today to help a child like Laston? Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Laston had no other clothes. His shoes had huge holes in them.

Thank you to The Souter Charitable Trust

Sarah’s blog 17/7/22

We were extremely grateful to receive our second grant from The Souter Charitable Trust. We had a cheque for £3,250 to spend on secondary school text books.

When Levison was in Mzuzu this week, he was able to call in at the book store to collect the order. That is a very large number of books and is a huge contribution. Thank you so much to The Souter Charitable Trust for helping us support some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

However, prices keep rising and Levison wasn’t able to get quite as many books as he thought. There are 12 subjects in the curriculum. He managed to get 10 books in some subjects, 15 in other subjects. So we will need to spend the same again or more just to make sure that students at Bright Futures Secondary School have the textbooks they need. Ideally, we would love all students to have their own books but we know this is far beyond our means at the moment. So our aim would be that we get enough copies for two students to be able to share a textbook. https://gofund.me/44a92444 is the link for our school fundraiser (and you can leave a comment ‘books’ or email me)

Each text book costs approximately £8-£9 currently. So to continue with our gift of education we really do need your help. Can you buy a book for a vulnerable student? If every person reading this blog donated their own coins and asked their family and friends to donate their loose change, I wonder how many text books we would be able to buy? Let’s give the gift of education. Let’s give our loose change to continue Changing Lives Malawi. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Thanks to The Souter Charitable Trust, Levison was able to purchase all these textbooks

An Amazing & Busy Week for Levison

Sarah’s blog 16/07/22

Levison Mlambya is a humble man. He is an incredibly hard worker and he has a vision to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in his community. His friendship with William Stewart helped to make this vision a reality and Levison has been hard at work for long hours every day serving his community.

Since William died in January, 2021, Levison has had a difficult time, but he has kept plodding, day by day, ensuring he does everything he can for those in need who come to The Foundation every day.

There has been a lot happening for Levison this week and we, at Changing Lives Malawi, are delighted that he has had these opportunities. We are also very proud of him. He is making some great connections with people and what he and his team do at The Foundation, through the various projects, is getting recognised.

On Sunday, Levison and the children had a visit from author, Ndongolera Mwangupili who wrote ‘Sons of The Hills’ and who kindly donated a copy of his book to Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation. Ndongolera was impressed with the library and spent time chatting with some of the children. Visits like this are so important so the children can see that they can aspire to be writers if they wanted to.

Levison was en route to Mzuzu and stopped off at Karonga on Wednesday. He was delighted to meet and have a meal with Mercy Sibande, Manager of The Maime Martin Fund in Malawi, and Alan Laverock, Treasurer and Trustee of The Maime Martin Fund and also Chair Person of The Bananabox Trust in Dundee. They had a good chat before Levison set off again to The Grand Palace Hotel, Mzuzu.

He was honoured to have been invited to ‘The Regional Consultation of The National Book and Reading Policy in Malawi’. Even more of an honour, Levison was asked to be a speaker about the literacy initiatives that are being implemented at The Foundation. We are so proud of you Levison for making a difference to so many children.

Of course, none of this could happen without our supporters. So if you have donated books, paid for the transportation of a box, driven boxes to Dundee, sponsored a vulnerable child so they can go to secondary school, or donated to the new school project….or anything else…THANK YOU! We value your help and support and we are glad you are on our team as we all do our own little bit to help some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

However, there is so much more to do and we need even more support. Here are ways you can get involved and help us:

  1. Donate £££ to our new school fundraiser https://gofund.me/44a92444
  2. Join in with our fundraiser by walking, running or cycling and logging your kilometres for our kilometre challenge https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9
  3. If you live fairly local to me…can you donate children’s books? They must be in good condition and a few £££ to help towards transportation would be really helpful. Seventeen boxes of books were already gifted to Chambo Primary School and lots more schools have said they would like books too.
  4. Could you sponsor a box of books please? It’s £15 per box on the container.
  5. Pencils/pens/rubbers/sharpeners/pencil cases/maths sets/scientific calculators/English pocket dictionaries are always needed.
  6. Soap, toothbrushes & toothpaste are always needed and very welcome.
  7. There are lots of vulnerable children still waiting to be matched with sponsors. It’s only £25 p/m to be a sponsor, or you can split that cost with a friend or extended family. Also a club or a business could sponsor a child.
  8. Can you organise a fundraiser for us? A coffee morning? A sponsored event?
  9. Sharing our posts online is a great way of helping more people find out about the projects that are happening in rural northern Malawi.
  10. Can we come and speak at your event and show photos & videos from Malawi?

If you’d like to help in any way then please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Author Ndongolera Mwangupili gifted a copy of his book to the library

Levison met Mercy and Alan at Karonga for a meal
Levison (next to lady in green skirt) and other delegates outside The Grand Palace Hotel, Mzuzu
The invite to the conference

More Kilometres!

Sarah’s blog 15/07/22

Some more kilometres to add to the total…. but we want more people to get involved! We know you aren’t lying in bed all day! Some of you will be tracking your fitness anyway….give us your kilometres please!

Paul, one of our trustees, is on holiday and we are very impressed that he has sent photos from the hotel gym….10km…well done Paul!

Douglas, a great supporter of ours and who helps take boxes to Dundee, has been out walking. Since the start of July he has walked 98.975km… thanks Douglas and that’s a great amount to add to our total.

Jackie is keeping the totals and we are now 8.74% of the way…only 166km to go until we get to 10%! UK 828.335km + Malawi 320km = 1,148.335km….well done everyone….great effort so far! here is the link for all the information and to get involved https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

We need you all taking part in our 13,000km journey…following one of the routes the boxes take from here to The Foundation. £1 per km sponsorship money will really help us build this desperately needed school for some of the most vulnerable children in Malawi. To donate: https://gofund.me/44a92444

The more people who take part, the quicker we will do this. The more people who share posts, the more people will see it. By sharing we can reach a new audience and more people can get involved and or donate to our challenge. That way we aren’t always relying on our same generous group of supporters. So, who is up for the challenge? https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

Every child deserves an education. In fact it is every child’s right to have an education. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen for lots of children. Let’s make it happen for the children whom The Foundation supports. You can make a difference today. We can make a difference today. Let’s give the gift of education. Let’s give these vulnerable children a way out of extreme poverty. Let’s build a school! Let’s build Bright Futures Secondary School! I’m looking forward to seeing photos of your walk, gym visit or run. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x To donate: https://gofund.me/44a92444 to get involved: https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

Paul clocked up 10km in the hotel gym…well done Paul!

Juliet is asking for a secondary school as there are currently not enough places for all students

100 hats!

Sarah’s blog 14/07/22

My Auntie Margaret, who has previously been knitting lovely blankets to send to the children, has decided it is a bit easier on her hands to knit hats for the children. So that’s exactly what she’s done. She lives in Birmingham but is staying with my parents who live near me. She gave me a whole suitcase full of hats….100 of them! She told me that she counted them to double check there were 100 and there weren’t…only 99. So she counted them again….only 99. So she had to quickly knit another one to make it to 100!!

There are hats in all different colours and for different ages, from babies and toddlers right up to older children. 100 heads will be kept very cosy during the cold nights and early mornings. Many thanks and very well done Auntie Margaret! We appreciate all the knitting we receive. As well as it being a practical gift, the children will know people care about them enough to send them a gift.

Also, we have been showing some photos recently of the different skills the children have chosen to learn. The knitting group have been working very hard and, on Sunday, some of them were able to show the hats they have made. We think they’ve done a brilliant job and how proud they must feel to be able to wear something they have made for themselves! Brilliant! To donate wool or sewing supplies, or do some knitting for the children or anything else you can get in touch via email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . Thanks for reading, Sarah x

some of the knitting group showing off the hats they’ve made…brilliant!

a suitcase full of 100 hats! thank you so much.

More kilometres completed!

Sarah’s blog 13/7/22

As well as being good at cycling, Jackie is good at numbers so she is very kindly keeping a record of how many kilometres have been completed….however she does need people to record their km on our form https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 or if you aren’t able to do that then please message me so we can make sure your kilometres are counted contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

We need more people to join us as there are over 13,000km to cover. We are aiming to cover the distance from Balfron where the boxes of aid start from to The Foundation. One of the routes the container takes is from Dundee where the container gets loaded at The Bananabox Trust, then Grangemouth Docks, Antwerp all the way to Beira in Mosambique and through Malawi to Chitipa District where The Foundation is. So any kilometres you can add will be gratefully received….and we will be grateful for any sponsorship money too so we can help build a desperately needed school. To donate here is the link: https://gofund.me/44a92444

Jackie tells me that (including the 320km the children in Malawi completed in their run) 934.42kms have been completed so far…which equates to 7.11% of the total required. It’s a great start but we need more of you to join our team. Whether you are walking your dog, walking round the shops, running after your children or going for a jog…. get a pedometer or track your kilometres on your phone…. you can help us by just doing what you do each day!

Paul is on holiday and has recorded a lovely 5km walk on the beach. Who else is on holiday and having a stroll? Or are you in the gym and can add your cycle or running machine efforts to our total? Looking forward to hearing from you. Today’s photos are of Paul’s beach walk and Jackie’s bike ride with her eldest son Ben. Very well done all three of you! Thanks to all who are continuing to help raise funds to build a school. We really do make a great team! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

https://gofund.me/44a92444 https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

Ben and Jackie both cycled 23.51km

Paul’s late evening walk on the beach
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