Goodbye 2022 – some photos & videos

Sarah’s blog 31/12/22

Wow! What a year! It’s been hard work and stressful at times but what amazing things have been achieved through teamwork! If you’ve been part of the team and have donated money/goods/packed boxes/delivered boxes/bought calendars & alternative gifts/sponsored a child/supported the feeding programme/shared posts etc etc…. a huge THANK YOU! On behalf of the children you are helping us support….we are so grateful.

We are a small team of volunteers, passionate about improving the lives of hundreds of very vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. There is no money spent on salaries or admin here, so all donations go straight to the projects we help support.

Things are still really tough for the community in Ibuluma. No charities are feeding children in primary schools in that area, so all the children we support are suffering from malnutrition to varying degrees. It’s rainy season now. Maize is scarce and prices keep rising. We can send enough money for 500 children to be fed once a week. Some are walking up to 20km for this one proper meal of the week. It’s not enough but all we can do whilst also trying to support the other projects to ensure that all these children will have a better, brighter future. The end goal has always been self-sufficiency.

Here are a few of ways we have, with your help, been making a difference;

  1. Sending money to support feeding up to 500 very vulnerable children once a week.
  2. The Period Poverty Project – by sending hand turn sewing machines, fabric & sewing supplies in order that teenage girls continue to make reusable sanitary towels for all who need them. Teenage girls no longer have to miss one week’s education each month.
  3. The Nursery – 75 vulnerable preschool children have been fed each session and have had clothes, books & educational toys.
  4. The School Literacy Project – we collect reference books and fiction books to suit all ages and abilities and are gifting these to the primary schools local to the Foundation in order to help children become confident readers.
  5. Child Sponsorship – 90 of the most vulnerable children are matched with sponsors which is helping change their lives. However, many more vulnerable children are still waiting. Is this something you could do?
  6. School Uniform – we send preloved school uniform & other clothes & shoes as a way of raising awareness, reusing clothes & gifting durable clothes to children who only had rags to wear.
  7. Sports – we have been fortunate to have had some great donations to support football, rugby & netball which the children love to play.
  8. Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 1 – teachers’ accommodation and two classrooms for some of the most vulnerable children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford secondary education. The school has passed it’s inspection with flying colours and the children are enjoying their learning environment with smaller class sizes than other secondary schools. We are delighted that phase 1 was able to be built so quickly, now we need to ensure that phase 2 (classrooms 3 & 4) will be built in 2023 to ensure the children’s education continues. Education is the way out of extreme poverty for these vulnerable children, many of whom are orphans, and we will do all we can to ensure that they have the choices and chances that they deserve for a brighter future.

These are just a few ways we are helping but we cannot support these projects without your help. If you are able to make a one off donation or commit to a monthly amount then please do get in touch. Will you be part of our team to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi in 2023?

Wishing you and your loved ones every happiness for 2023. Hope you enjoy these photos and videos which are just a few of the memories from a very busy 2022, Sarah x

Madalitso made his own bike!
No guitar? No problem! Let’s make one!
Nursery children sitting on chairs and at tables for the first time in the library
A rooftop view of the buildings at The Foundation
Dancing, happy children at the Christmas Party
Catherine attends Wenya School as her grades were so good
First day at Bright Futures Secondary School
Everyone loves watching and playing football
Children learning to play rugby for the first time
This was the first time rugby had been played in the far north of Malawi
Two boys using the clippers we sent
Everyone loves a recorder….don’t they?
some of the kids had a race
we sent a preloved trainset for the nursery children…it was fascinating to watch them work out how to play with it as they’ve never seen toys like this
Nursery children in the library. We had sent tables and chairs and this was their first time of sitting at a table. They are learning how to look at books, having never had the opportunity previously
teachers (front) supporting netball and football and being great role models
Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh donated rugby kit and balls
Every student at Bright Futures Secondary School has received uniform and a school bag
We have sent some royal blue sweatshirts as well as preloved black jumpers have been collected so the students will have one of each colour
Doing end of term exams. New desks and chairs in the classrooms
Chairs being collected that we sent on the container
As part of the agriculture lessons, students have made a polytunnel by recycling trampoline frames we sent
Another PE lesson at Bright Futures Secondary School
These three children are walking miles to the nearest maize mill with someone else’s maize. No water or food to drink whilst they carry their heavy burdens. Thankfully, the two girls now have sponsors to make their lives a bit easier
These children have grown and harvested cabbages and are being shown how to cook them
making a mat in one of the skills classes
These children received preloved school uniform
17 boxes of books were gifted to Chambo Primary School as part of our School Literacy Project

Goodbye 2021 and Happy New Year

Sarah’s blog 31/12/21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading, Sarah & the Team x

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