This morning, when the post came, I had a really great surprise. It was a really good boost to morale. There are so many charities, all chasing the same grant money so there are plenty of rejection emails. Charities are struggling with the cost of living crisis so any grants applications that are successful really do make a big difference.
The Souter Charitable Trust gave us a grant for the third year in a row. This time we asked for money for solar panels and also solar torches for the students. It gets dark year round at 6pm so how can a teenager study or even read a book for fun if they have no light source?
In Emma’s Rainbow Library are rented computers. There is mains electricity but it is expensive and only on for a few hours a day. Having solar power means that it will be free of charge and available during the day and in the evenings.
Thank you so much to The Souter Charitable Trust for believing in us and supporting us in the work we are doing to help the most vulnerable in rural Northern Malawi. We are delighted that you’ve trusted us again with our third grant, Sarah x
We were delighted to receive an email from one of the teachers at our local high school, Balfron High, asking us to go and meet with him and the headteacher.
Sarah’s blog 24/5/23
We were delighted to receive an email from one of the teachers at our local high school, Balfron High, asking us to go and meet with him and the headteacher. Jackie and I spent an hour with them and I was able to give a presentation about some of the projects we are supporting. It was really useful to meet face to face as we were able to talk about how many children and young people are needing a helping hand and how little food many of them have to eat and the daily struggles they face.
They are keen to form links between Balfron High School and Bright Futures Secondary School and communication between some of the students from both schools. We spoke about ways that we are trying to help Bright Futures Secondary School towards self-sufficiency by having projects that provide food and an income. I also suggested ways that the Balfron High students could help by donating maths sets, calculators and pencil cases to pass on to students in Malawi if they are no longer needed.
It was a really positive and informative discussion and we look forward to seeing what might happen after the school summer holidays.
In Malawi, the primary 8 students have done their national leavers exams and we have our fingers crossed that the ones supported by the Foundation will pass and therefore be able to start at Bright Futures Secondary School in September.
National high school exams are done at the end of S2 and also at the end of S4. The S2 students at Bright Futures Secondary School have been working hard. Their exams start on Tuesday for seven days. All we can ask is that they work hard and try their best. They have had such difficult lives that their school work has suffered. We have everything crossed for them!
So, looking forward to September 2023 and the new intake of S1 students. At the moment, we have nowhere to put them as we only have two classrooms. We need your help please to build another classroom. Will you help us please by donating to our fundraiser? https://gofund.me/ece5753a
All children have the right to a proper education.
All children have the right to food, clothes and warmth.
Bright Futures Secondary School is for the most vulnerable students who wouldn’t have been able to go to secondary school without support (secondary school has to be paid for in Malawi).
These students are each given a blanket as well as school uniform (and other clothes) and the supplies they need for school.
Each student is fed a nutritious and substantial meal each day (twice a day when we have extra funds). This is the only food many of them have each day so it is vital.
They have a clean water supply to drink and are able to have a shower at the shower block.
The Period Poverty Project means that all girls are given reusable sanitary towels made by a group of girls. We sent hand turn sewing machines and now no girl needs to miss a week of school each month.
All students have use of the well stocked library – Emma’s Rainbow Library and are learning how to use the computers there.
All students are learning skills for life through their Agricultural Lessons.
All students are regularly taking part in team sports.
Does this sound like a worthwhile project? As we have no admin costs or salaries because we are volunteers, all money donated goes to the projects we support. You can be sure that your donation towards a new classroom will go to that project. Foundations have been prepared and, as soon as we have more funds, work will start on building. However, we cannot do this alone. Please help us help these vulnerable children.
You can donate to phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School to build a new classroom https://gofund.me/ece5753a or you could you sponsor a student for £25 p/m? Or maybe you could commit £5 or £10 per month to the Feeding Programme? Our bank details are; Bank Of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, S/C 80-22-60, A/C 21081462 to make a donation. If you could put ‘school’ or ‘food’ or whatever project it is you are supporting as the reference please. We also have a rugby event in September that we are needing financial support with.
My email is email@example.com if you’d like more information about ways you can help us to support the children. I’ll put the links to some other relevant stories if you are new to reading my blogs. Many thanks for reading and supporting us, Sarah x
I’ve been amazed by how many wonderful, generous people support us to help the vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.
We are facilitating Jack Mphande, Malawi Rugby Development officer to return to the rural north to work with teachers and children in primary schools as well as spending time with the children we help to support. Jack will be visiting for two weeks. His first visit was the first time rugby had been introduced and played in the north. Everyone loved it. They are looking forward to the end of September when he will visit again for two weeks.
Here, we have had people helping to provide kit, boots, balls and driving to pick donations up, box them up and drive them to Dundee to The Bananabox Trust to await the next container.
Some of the rugby clubs we have had support from include; Strathendrick Rugby Club (our local club who also raised money through a bake sale), Annan Rugby Club, Grangemouth Rugby Club, Hillfoots Rugby Club, Stirling County Rugby Club, Blaydon Rugby Club (Newcastle), Glasgow Warriors and Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh. We are very grateful for all the donations we have received and these will be able to be shared with different school teams in Malawi.
This week we also had a huge donation from the Scottish Rugby Union; 200 tops/jerseys/jackets + socks and shorts! Plus some new Scotland jerseys to auction. Many thanks to Scott at SRU for your help. Also to Michael and Gordon and everyone else who has helped to collect and donate kit. Bruce at Merchiston Castle School (and Happiness is Egg Shaped) has also been a huge help in sharing posts as well as donating kit, balls and boots.
What we also need is for people to share posts to raise awareness. We’d love rugby clubs to be able to raise £50-£100 each to pay for the cost of sending kit to Malawi and cover the cost of the two week rugby event in September. We will need to feed all the children who are taking part in the rugby training & tournament as no big charities are feeding children in schools that far north.
Can you ask 50 people at your club for £1 each? Could you have a bake sale for us? Or have a carwash or a sponsored event? If lots of clubs can help us a little bit then teamwork will make it happen. Please mail me for more info or to offer your financial support. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for reading & supporting, Sarah x
Strathblane Parish Church are just one of the organisations who have been very supportive of our charity. I am asked to contribute regularly to their quarterly church magazine, Cornerstone. Here is the article I have just written. I also attach the link to the magazine. If you aren’t able to see my screenshot properly, it will be much clearer in the original copy.
some of the sponsored children with their food parcels today
Sarah’s blog 15/5/23
I don’t think any of us realise exactly how busy Levison is each day. One of his many tasks is doing welfare checks for the sponsored children and young people. Two sponsored young people have had bereavements in their families recently. The custom is that everyone who is able goes to the funeral which takes two days. Levison showed his support for both these families by attending. Another young person needed some medical treatment. Levison spent time with them prior to this talking with them to establish that they would benefit from a trip to the health centre. He needs to visit another family tomorrow to check on another sponsored child after not finding anyone at home today when he visited.
Also one of the key members of staff had a bereavement in their family last week and Levison attended that funeral. Days of planned work can go out of the window due to someone in the village passing away and also welfare checks on the young people. Several days have been spent trying to find enough maize to purchase for the children and young people’s monthly food parcels. Food is scarce and prices are high. It is not easy when so many people are relying on you.
Here are photos of some of the sponsored children and young people who came to collect their food today. I’m hoping for more photos later this week in order to get up to date photos of all sponsored children. If you would like to sponsor a child then please do get in touch. It’s only £25 per month and you can share that cost with a friend or family. email@example.com Thanks for reading and supporting us, Sarah x
The children and young people are looking forward to another visit from the Rugby Development Officer.
Sarah’s blog 13/05/23
Yesterday Stuart and I went to The Bananabox Trust Warehouse in Dundee with a car full of boxes and rugby balls. We are really grateful to all the volunteers at The Bananabox Trust who process everything and then order and pack the container once their warehouse is full. We are charged £17.50 per box to cover the cost of the container so if you would like to sponsor a box then please do get in touch…we can write your name on the box!
Thanks to Bruce Aitchison, housemaster at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh for supplying us with rugby balls, boots and kit.
Thanks also to Gordon and Michael for collecting kit from Grangemouth RFC, Hillfoots RFC, Stirling County RFC, Blaydon RFC (Newcastle) and Glasgow Warriors kit. Michael is also going to Edinburgh to the Scottish Rugby Union this week to collect lots of training kit. The SRU are also kindly giving us some new jerseys to auction. Well done and thank you!
In September we are facilitating Malawi Rugby’s development officer, Jack Mphande, to pay another visit for two weeks to coach and train teachers and students at several primary schools. Jack will also spend two days working with the older orphans we help to support. We do need help with financial support for this event and it would be a good opportunity to advertise your business. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to everyone who is helping us to support the projects in Malawi and make lives brighter for the hundreds of orphans who we help to support. Thank you, Sarah x
Agriculture Classes at Bright Futures Secondary School
Sarah’s blog 10/05/23
Agricultural Classes are a core part of the curriculum in Malawi. The students at Bright Futures Secondary School are amongst the most vulnerable in Malawi and would not have been able to attend secondary school as this has to be paid for in Malawi. Bright Futures Secondary School is free of charge.
Today is the start of the primary school leavers. These are national exams and you cannot progress to secondary school if you have not passed these exams. But you can’t go anyway if you cannot pay – even if you have passed your primary school exams.
Because of the huge level of poverty, children and young people drop in and out of school to help their families/carers earn money for food. They earn a pittance for a full day’s work with no food or water. Laston (pictured in one of the photos) worked for a farmer looking after his cows for the equivalent of £1.50 per month. Thankfully, Laston now has a sponsor and is doing well at school. So students are probably 2 or 3 years older than expected becaus they have missed so much school. The older the student, the poorer their family. Most students in these photos are still needing a sponsor to support their education. This will help us pay the teachers salaries, provide uniform and the supplies they need for school and pay for breakfast and lunch each day. It’s £25 per month to sponsor a student. Can you help give one of these students a brighter future? Or you could split the cost with a friend and pay £12.50 p/m each. email@example.com
Thanks to our supporters, phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School was completed and opened in November 22. Students (and teachers) have been working hard and will have exams in a few weeks time. We certainly aren’t expecting all students to pass their exams. We just expect them to do their best. We will obviously be delighted for those who are able to pass exams. These young people have been so malnourished and had such difficult lives that basic survival was all they could manage. Things are improving. Now all students will have a brighter future by being in school. Even if they do not excel in exams they are more literate. They will have better numeracy skills. They will also be learning skills for life. There will be far less teenage pregnancies and child marriages due to young people being in school and being fed in school even if their families cannot afford to feed them.
Self-sufficiency is the end goal for the community we are working with. However, no children in primary schools in the far north of Malawi are being fed by big agencies. All are malnourished and all are hungry. We support a Feeding Programme that feeds 500+ orphans a substantial meal once a week. We wish we could provide more money for food but we are also investing in their education. We would love you to commit to £5 or £10 per month to support the feeding programme as food is getting more and more expensive firstname.lastname@example.org
The Agricultural students at Bright Futures Secondary School have already built a polytunnel using an old trampoline frame we sent. They have started growing vegetables. They have also planted a field of sweet potato vines to produce food to eat. Now, the teacher has set them the task of clearing an area of ground by their homes to plant some vegetables. More skills for life and, hopefully, food to share with their families. Also, if successful, they will have a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement and be more confident about their skills for a brighter future. The photos are just a few of the students. We will look forward to updates from the teacher.
If you’d like to sponsor a student, contribute to the feeding programme or donate towards phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School to build the next classrooms then please email email@example.com or donate to the school fundraiser at https://gofund.me/ece5753a . Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x
Grateful to the student who made these short videos for us.
Sarah’s blog 27/4/23
We always knew that, if we were to help to build a school in Malawi, it would have to be done a bit at a time as, unfortunately, there is no big pot of money either here or in Malawi. But, time and again, thanks to hard work and our very generous supporters, we manage against the odds.
It is a struggle when there are hundreds of malnourished children who need feeding too, but we cannot spend all the donations on food or there would be nothing in place for their futures. Crops are planted to help provide vegetables. The fruit trees that were planted a couple of years ago are starting to produce fruit. No children are being fed in primary schools in the rural far north of Malawi. Everyone is hungry and malnourished. If you would like to support the feeding programme which feeds 500 children a substantial meal once a week then please do email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are a very small charity, run by volunteers who are passionate about helping to improve things for the most vulnerable children and young people in rural northern Malawi. As we are volunteers, we have no salaries or admin costs so 100% of all donations go to the projects we help to support.
Phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School opened in November 2022 and the vulnerable students have been benefitting from free uniforms, school supplies food and education. Secondary education usually has to be paid for in Malawi which means that it is usually out of reach for the young people we support.
The Form 1 and Form 2 classrooms were built, along with some staff accommodation. There were already latrines, a clean water supply, a shower block and a library that had been previously built, thanks to generous donations. Now we need to start thinking about phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School. The rainy season is almost over so it is the ideal time to start building in preparation for the new term in September.
Two more classrooms are needed for Forms 3 & 4. The Form 3 classroom is essential for September when everyone moves up a year and the new students start Form 1. More latrines are needed, more staff accommodation and hopefully a dormitory for these most vulnerable girls who have the furthest to walk. Will you help us please? These young people deserve our help. They deserve chances and choices. They deserve a brighter future.
Can you do a sponsored event for us? Will you host an event for your friends in aid of our charity? Could you invite us to speak at your club or church? Anyone who donates £500 or over can have their name, company name or the name of a loved one painted over a classroom door. Or how would you like to have a whole building named after your family or business? Or something painted on the roof of one of the buildings? As a team, we can do this together. Do you have a jar or coins that you’ve never got round to counting? We’d love to have them….every little helps.
I’m delighted to have another short video to share with you, made by the student who has been using his skills to help us. We’d be grateful if you were to share this with your friends and contacts on social media. I look forward to hearing from anyone with any ideas of how to raise some funds for phase 2. Thanks for your continued support, Sarah x
These two photos show the importance of clean water. The first photo was taken at the weekend. The second photo was taken on the day the tap was first connected to the clean water supply at The Foundation. The nursery children in that photo were the first ones to drink from it – actually the little girl, Josephine, was first.
So it’s the same tap with photos taken a few years apart but they are almost identical. A group of young children who are able to turn on a tap and delight when fresh, clean water flows out. (I altered both photos to black and white as it is easier to see the water droplets.)
These children attend Chambo Primary School where there is no water. We want to be able to replicate these scenes at Chambo Primary School. Clean drinking water should be available to all children. Thanks to a grant we have received from The Kitchen Table Charities Trust, soon there will be a tap just like this outside Chambo Primary School. We know that something we take for granted will bring those children great joy. We look forward to sharing those joyful photos with you.
WILL YOU HELP US? We are still hoping for more support with feeding these vulnerable children. If you can spare £5 per month towards our Feeding Programme you can either text FEEDING to 70480 or contact me for bank details to commit to a monthly amount. email@example.com . Thank you for helping us continue to help these malnourished children, Sarah x
As part of trying to raise funds for our charity, I am regularly applying for grants. I’m not just thinking about The Foundation but about the whole community so when I saw a grant that the criteria was for a primary school, I thought of Chambo. However, lots of other charities are applying for the same grants so it isn’t often that good news comes back from an application. Thankfully this time the answer was ‘YES’.
Chambo Primary School, which is nearest to The Foundation we help to support, has only one classroom with desks and chairs. The children sit on the floor in the other classrooms. There are not many resources. We have already provided 17 boxes of books to help the students become more confident readers.
Lots of these children are orphans and make up the 500 children and young people we help to feed every weekend. This is the only substantial meal many of them get each week as no big charities are feeding children in primary schools in this area. At Chambo Primary School there is no water supply. There are no toilets.
We have secured a grant of £6,000 from The Kitchen Table Charities Trust, a small charity set up by John Humphries, to help the students at Chambo Primary School. This grant will provide them with a clean water supply and also two more classrooms will have desks and stools. We are so delighted as having clean water to drink will help their concentration and they will also be able to wash their hands. Thank you so much to The Kitchen Table Charities Trust for enabling us to help the hundreds of vulnerable children at Chambo Primary School.
I will keep everyone updated as this project progresses and there will be lots of photos coming regularly from Malawi. The headteacher, staff and students at the school haven’t even been told about this yet….Levison is looking forward to sharing this wonderful news on Monday morning.
So thank you again to The Kitchen Table Charities Trust for trusting us and helping make a difference to very vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. There is still much to be done but, bit by bit, we are Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x
Well it has taken longer than we originally planned….but the small, dedicated team has done it! What an amazing and fantastic group of dedicated supporters!
We planned, in order to raise money for Bright Futures Secondary School, to run, walk, swim, scoot, cycle and sail to add together kilometres to cover the distance that the boxes travel between here and Malawi. It was a bigger challenge than we anticipated, for a small team, and the container covered the distance way before we reached our target, but the challenge is now complete!! Well done team!! We never give up!
As of yesterday, the total kilometres travelled was 13,161.195km! That was 17.195km more than was actually needed.
As you know, Phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School was built and opened in November 2022. This comprised of staff accommodation and two classrooms to add to the other buildings that we had previously fundraised for which included the library, shower block and clean water supply.
Now fundraising is well underway for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School. We need at least one more classroom to be in place for the new term starting in September 2023. We also need some more staff accommodation and a dormitory block for the most vulnerable girls to be able to stay on campus. This will enable them to be safe rather than risking being attacked on the long walk to and from school. These are big plans but education is the way out of poverty for these very vulnerable children and young people, many of whom are orphans.
The photos below are just some of the lovely people who helped us achieve our goal. Thank you to everyone who took part. You are all brilliant and we couldn’t do what we do without you. If you would like to contribute towards phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School then you can either email me for bank details firstname.lastname@example.org or donate at https://gofund.me/ece5753a Thanks so much for supporting, helping, donating, volunteering, sponsoring….whatever you do to help us….thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Sarah x
Sustainability and self-sufficiency for the community we are working with in rural Northern Malawi is always the end goal. So much is being achieved but there is still so much more to do.
Because no children are being fed in primary schools in that area, all children are malnourished. All children are hungry. No children and young people whom we help to support have enough to eat. We MUST ensure they get food NOW to help them begin to thrive whilst also ensuring that there is food for the future.
This is why we are asking for more people to join our feeding team. By committing to just £5 per month, you will help us feed 500 malnourished children and young people more than just once a week. They deserve our help. They deserve food. They deserve to thrive. They need us. Please will you help us help them? email@example.com Our bank details are: Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, Sort Code 80-22-60, Account Number 21605268. By donating £5 per month you WILL make a difference. You WILL help a child thrive. Please put ‘feeding’ as the reference.
It is a juggling act because we cannot spend all of the donations we receive on feeding the 500 orphans and other vulnerable children and young people. That just isn’t sustainable and there will be nothing to help the community be self-sufficient in the future. So whilst we are investing in this vulnerable community’s future, we need more help from our supporters to be able to provide enough food for the children now.
A couple of years ago, over 100 fruit tree saplings were bought and planted at The Foundation. The orchard was named after my lovely mother-in-law who had recently passed away. We made a personal donation towards buying some fruit tree saplings and lots more were bought by other people through an appeal. Unfortunately, the weather and also termites have killed some of the saplings. However, the majority are thriving and I was delighted with these photos that Levison sent me yesterday.
Amazingly the guava saplings are producing fruit now, even though the plants are still quite small. The orange and lemon saplings are doing well but have no fruit yet. Some more saplings are going to be planted soon. We would also love people to help pay for more saplings firstname.lastname@example.org Our bank details are: Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, Sort Code 80-22-60, Account Number 21605268. £5 will buy two fruit tree saplings. Please put ‘saplings’ as the reference.
The hope is that this project will be sustainable for people and planet. Planting more trees is obviously vital for the planet and climate change. It will also help prevent against soil erosion in the heavy rains. Levison will send photos of the children eating the guavas when they are ready to be harvested in about a month’s time. In future years, especially if you help us plant more trees, there will be fruit for the children to eat and there will be extra fruit that will be able to be sold which will bring in an income for The Foundation. It’s really exciting to see the trees bearing fruit….may this be the first of many harvests supporting the 500 malnourished children.
I’ve put the links to previous posts about the fruit tree saplings and the orchard. I know Levison would like to also grow bananas in addition to the fruit trees in Isa’s Orchard. Who is driving you bananas that you would like to name a banana plantation after? Enjoy the photos of the first guava fruits and thank you for your support, Sarah x