UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Sarah’s blog 7/11/21

There are so many rights in this document but I’m just highlighting a few today with regards to the hundreds of children and young people supported by The William Stewart Foundation in rural Northern Malawi.

‘Children have the right to clean water to drink, healthy food, clothes and a safe environment to live in.’

‘Every child who has been placed somewhere away from home should have their situation checked regularly to see if everything is going well and if this is still the best place for the child to be.’

‘Every child has the right to an education. Primary education should be free. Secondary and higher education should be available to every child. Children should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level possible.’

‘Every child has the right to rest, relax, play and take part in cultural and creative activities.’

These are just a few of the statements I have picked out of the document. Things are obviously very different in Malawi than they are here but you can see that we are supporting Levison and his team to help the children holistically.

How can they learn if they are hungry and can’t concentrate? How can they go to school without clothes to wear? How will their self-esteem be if they are in rags compared to their friends? What about if they don’t have soap to wash themselves and their clothes?

The children are benefitting from all the work being done to support them at The Foundation. There are now showers, clean water to drink, they are fed at the weekend, new clothes and shoes gifted, there are crops in the fields, books to read, foster families found for children completely on their own and skills for life taught to the children. There is also a nursery for 50 pre-school children which meets (and feeds them) three times a week. Apprentices are learning skills whilst they work and other children are going to school.

So much good is happening but there is still so much to do that we need your help with. We are all part of the team around these orphans and other vulnerable children. So please help us if you can. We need CHILD SPONSORS and FUNDRAISERS, and loads of volunteers in between! Whatever your skills or finances, we would welcome your help. We have lots of sustainable gifts for Christmas too that we are hoping people will buy. Please get in touch. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Chambo Primary School – School Literacy Project Visit 18/10/21

Sarah’s blog 18/10/21

Today Levison had arranged with the headteacher of Chambo Primary School to pay a visit. Levison was delivering 17 boxes of books that we had sent as part of the School Literacy Project. This is a project that has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of children living in extreme poverty.

Chambo Primary is the primary school nearest The William Stewart Foundation, Ibuluma Village in the Chitipa District of Northern Malawi. There are 8 classes in this school with 70-80 children in each class. Approximately half of them are children supported by The William Stewart Foundation, so today was very much about those children as well as their peers.

Imagine, as a teacher, not having the resources you need for your class (I know most teachers here dip into their own pocket to buy extra resources for our children, but this goes way beyond that). Imagine not having books at school. Imagine having no internet and computers. I can just about remember that but our children will never have been in a school without technology. Imagine not having desks and chairs and having to sit on the floor all day. Only one classroom at Chambo Primary School has desks and benches.

Literacy starts a long time before children go to school. Even babies look at picture books with their parents and grandparents. Toddlers know that the story continues by turning the pages in a book and that the pictures tell the story as well as the words and they follow the words with their fingers even though they aren’t reading. Children can recognise environmental print (think of them spotting their favourite fast food restaurant as you are driving past) but the children in Ibuluma have missed out on that also. So if there are no books in these children’s homes they have missed out on years of literacy and enjoying books before they even get to school.

When our children go to school they practice reading and writing every single day, even if it’s only a small amount of time. Paper is plentiful as is the choice of books. Most children will have books to take home to practise their reading. Not the children from Chambo Primary School, Ibuluma. Until today. Now 17 boxes of books have been delivered, along with strong ziplock plastic bags to protect the books. Children can now borrow these books to take home. Hopefully, they can read their books with their siblings. We want books to become an every day item….a very special and enjoyable item….but to be used every day. These children deserve our support and we want to thank every single person who has helped with the first delivery of this project. We are going to liaise with the headteacher and see how this project is getting on and if there is more we can do to support them. We want children to achieve as education is so important for them to be able to have brighter futures.

We estimate this project was about £350 – £400 to deliver. It didn’t cost us that much as we had many people donating the bags as well as the hundreds of beautiful books. Also some people were able to donate the £15 required to transport a box of books on the container. We think this project is £400 very well spent and we thank everyone who contributed. What we do is always about teamwork and if you’ve been part of this team then be proud as you are #changinglivesmalawi Get in touch if you’d like to help us. Enjoy the photos and thank you for reading and celebrating this success with us. Sarah x

Reading in Emma’s Rainbow Library

Sarah’s blog 17/10/21

Fundraising enabled a library to be built and named after Emma Buchanan, a lovely girl who sadly passed away. She loved reading and, if she had been in better health, would have loved to have visited Malawi.

Shelves have been built in the library and we’ve been sending books. There are more on the next container; educational books as well as fiction. Also some tables and chairs.

This morning Levison sent me photos of young people sitting reading in the library. I asked if he could ask a couple of the young people what they were reading and why they picked the books that they had. It was really enlightening to hear from them and find out a bit a more information.

Moses is in the white t-shirt and Lameck in the pink t-shirt. Moses has a sponsor and is on the apprenticeship scheme. Lameck doesn’t have a sponsor and does casual piece work to try to buy food.

Moses said he wanted to look at stories in books and, if possible, wants to write his own stories. Unfortunately, Moses had only completed his first year in secondary school and then dropped out due to lack of resources and money to pay his fees. He then was able to be sponsored to go on the apprenticeship scheme for two years. After hearing he would like to write stories, I contacted his sponsor today to ask if they would be willing to support Moses for three years if he was to go back to secondary school and finish his education as Levison said that is what Moses would love to do. His sponsor was delighted to be able to help with this. Moses will find out tomorrow that he is able to return to secondary school in January and I’m sure he will work hard.

Lameck told Levison that he was interested in learning more about culture so that’s why he chose that book. Lameck has no sponsor. He didn’t even complete primary school and sit his leavers exams through no fault of his own. He only had rags to wear. He didn’t have notebooks and pencils that he needed to write his lessons. He had no choice but to drop out of primary school. So, despite wanting to learn, unless his luck changes, he is destined for a low paid job (if he can find a steady job) or doing piece work as and when work is available.

It would be amazing if someone could sponsor Lameck to go on the apprenticeship scheme for two years to be taught practical skills or if he could finish his last year in primary school, do his exams, and then go to secondary school for four years. It’s £25 per month to sponsor a child or young person. You can sponsor as an individual or a family or share the cost with a friend. Can you imagine if we hadn’t been able to go to school because we didn’t have a notebook and pencil? Sponsoring Lameck might be the most important thing anyone ever does for him. Can you give Lameck the gift of education. Please? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

Lots of young people reading books in the library this morning. Lameck was reading about history and culture and Moses was reading different books with stories as he’d like to write stories too.
Moses had completed one year of secondary school but dropped out due to poverty. His sponsor has been supporting him on the apprenticeship programme but is going to support him to go back to school. Life is looking good for Moses thanks to his sponsor.

Lameck didn’t even get to finish primary school due to extreme poverty and has been trying to do casual work ever since to buy food. Lameck deserves a chance to finish his last year of primary school and go on to secondary school. He clearly likes learning and reading and is trying to better himself. Please can you give Lameck the gift of education?