“Actions speak louder than words”

Sarah’s blog 24/11/21

I’ve been reviewing and editing some documents today for Levison in which he was mentioning some of the projects and it’s made me think. It’s also made me thankful. Because of my involvement in this little charity, I have met some wonderful people. I’ve also met many more brilliant people ‘virtually’. There are so many people doing their bit to help others and making the world a better place.

Whether it’s some of the ladies in Malawi that volunteer to help at The Foundation to cook the food for hundreds of children, someone taking an orphan into their home and helping them through the trauma of losing a loved one or volunteer sports coaches or Levison working every waking minute to help those in his village so they don’t go through what he did. So many people in Malawi care and want to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. All are part of a bigger team and show by their actions their care for others.

Here, we have more caring people, also part of that team. People contacting us to donate pre-loved clothes and shoes, knitting beautiful baby clothes or blankets. People bringing books that their children have finished reading to help the literacy project or sponsoring a young person to go to school. There are people giving time and talents and money. We have volunteers packing boxes and driving them to Dundee to the container. All are showing by their actions that they care.

Then there are the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet who are also volunteering their time with other charities and organisations; The Bananabox Trust who organise and pack the container is just one of the charities who are part of our team. There are people and organisations who collect sports kit and have made donations, people who have helped with fundraising, and many, many more lovely people who I would never have met if it hadn’t been for Changing Lives Malawi.

So thank you all for your support and care. Your actions speak louder than words and the orphans and other vulnerable children supported by The Foundation know that people care about them. If you would like to help us then please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting us. Sarah x

World Children’s Day – “A better future for every child”

Sarah’s blog 20/11/21

This year’s theme for World Children’s Day is “A better future for every child”. This was chosen because all children have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. I thought this was a good opportunity to reflect on and highlight how life has changed for the orphans and vulnerable children supported by The William Stewart Foundation.

Life has improved for the 800 children whom the Foundation supports. These are just some of the ways we have been supporting The William Stewart Foundation to provide “A better future for every child”. It’s always all about teamwork so a big ‘thank you’ to those who are on this journey with us as part of the team making “A better future for every child”.

  • The Feeding Programme – so many children were (and still are) suffering from malnutrition as the situation has been so dire. Things are improving but we are currently only able to afford to run the feeding programme once a week for the approx 500 children who turn up for their one substantial, nutritious, meal of the week. As there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in this area, some children are walking up to 20km for their meal. The teachers have noticed that the children are able to concentrate better now. It costs approx £100 to run the feeding programme once a week.
  • Girls who have started their periods are no longer missing a week of school each month. They have been given a drawstring bag with 5 reusable sanitary towels (all made by girls at the foundation) with 3 pairs of pants, soap and a health info leaflet. They have also been given back their dignity and self-confidence through The Period Poverty Project. We have had support from ‘Smalls for All’ charity with providing new pants.
  • Agriculture -crops have been planted, skills are being taught and food is being successfully grown and eaten. Children are actively taking part in this project for skills for their own futures. Fruit tree saplings are being planted for a sustainable future, providing food and a future income for those at the Foundation. This is a current appeal asking for support to help buy hundreds of fruit tree saplings that will provide food and nutrition and help the planet.
  • Eco-stoves are helpful for the planet and for the people and the apprentices are making these for villagers. They use less fuel, they are more efficient and far safer for families than cooking on an open fire. People spend less time gathering wood as they don’t need as much for their fires and this is obviously beneficial in their lives as well as for the environment.
  • The nursery – for 50 children age 4-6 is paid for by a monthly donation. The children meet three times a week and as well as playing and learning, they are fed at each session. ‘Feed the Children’ charity periodically supply porridge for the nursery children. This is greatly appreciated but only lasts a short time, but the children are always fed, giving them a better start in life than the older children. Levison commented “we are trying to make sure they don’t pass through what we passed through.” Life is and has been extremely hard. But little by little, things are improving. The nursery children have also been given blankets and uniforms. Flipflops, toothbrushes, toothpaste and more clothes for them are on the way.
  • Clean water – this time last year the first tap was turned on providing fresh, clean drinking water after funds were raised and a borehole dug. This has made a huge difference to so many who no longer have to drink from the river. From this project, plants have had water to grow and the shower block has been built providing washing facilities for all the children and young people.
  • Goats and hens are being raised and the children are learning to look after them. An incubator has recently been bought to help hatch more eggs which will also then be a source of income for The Foundation, helping them towards self-sufficiency.
  • 72 children and young people are currently sponsored which is a great achievement, and we are very thankful to our sponsors, but many more children need our help. Being sponsored means they get a monthly food parcel and secondary school education paid for. This is the main way we can try to improve these children’s futures by supporting them to access education which will help provide better employment prospects.
  • School uniform, clothes & shoes donations. School uniform donations have been a way of reusing preloved clothes and also engaging with those schools. There are a lot of clothes needed for 800 children and young people and their self-esteem is better now as they are no longer in rags, as well as having warm clothes when needed. Clothes are also given to the elderly in the village.
  • Sports kit & coaching sessions – providing a sense of belonging to a team and the young people are able to forget their difficulties whilst they play football or netball with their friends. They know that the people who have made donations care about them.
  • Mother & baby project – thanks to generous donations, Levison has been able to donate lots of baby clothes, blankets & beautiful knitting to the maternity ward at the local health centre. If the mothers come back a few weeks later then they are given some more clothes for their baby and this gives the health centre staff an opportunity to see them that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
  • Emma’s Rainbow Library – in memory of a lovely girl who would have liked to visit Malawi and who loved stories. The library is a great hit with the children & young people and proving to be a great resource. The young people want to learn so much now they have access to books. More books are on their way as are tables and more chairs. Hopefully, next year some computers will be an addition to the library.
  • School Literacy Project – how can children learn to read properly if they don’t have books to practice with? Levison recently delivered 17 boxes of books to the nearest primary school. The children can take these home to practice their reading skills, hopefully literacy levels will improve. More books are on their way for another school.

Please read these answers to four questions I asked some of the children;

  • What is better in your life since the Foundation started?
  • Suggest two things that you would like the Foundation to do in the future?
  • What is your favourite thing to do at the Foundation and why?
  • What are your hopes for the future? For your own life and your village?

They are very insightful. What struck me is their thirst for knowledge and how much they appreciate the library and that they are all desperate for education. The two girls Eunice and Maria are really in need of sponsors. Levison has told me that they are bright and hard worker and just need someone to take a chance on them. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .Thank you for reading and celebrating the children’s lives with us. Sarah x