Levison was able to visit Kalanga primary school today with clothes and books
Sarah’s blog 07/03/23
Chambo Primary School is the one nearest to The Foundation and the majority of the younger children who are supported by The Foundation go to school there.
Kalanga Primary School is a bit further away but some children who go there also come to The Foundation. Levison had arranged with the headteacher to visit today with clothes for the children who are all very vulnerable. There were enough clothes to ensure everyone received something.
These uniforms were very kindly donated by a parent whose children went to Sinclair House School, Fulham. This school unfortunately closed during the pandemic. However, we are so grateful that these beautiful clothes have been able to be used by children in need and who will make good use of them.
There were so many boxes of uniforms donated that some have already been given out to children who attend Chambo Primary and also some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. The children from yesterday’s blog were given new clothes from this school too.
Levison also took four boxes of books for Kalanga Primary School as part of our School Literacy Project to help the children have access to more books and become more confident readers. The teachers were extremely grateful for all these donations and the children were delighted to have new clothes. Hope you enjoy looking at all the photos, Sarah x
On World Book Day…find out the difference books are making to the orphans and vulnerable children we support in rural Northern Malawi.
Sarah’s blog 2/3/23
On World Book Day, I want to share some photos with you. These photos aren’t the usual fun photos that will be shared all over social media today.
Children at many schools will be dressing up as their favourite characters from fiction books to celebrate World Book Day. This is great fun and celebrates the importance of reading, love of books, favourite authors and most loved stories.
The children we help to support in Malawi are aged between 4 and 20 and all deserve to have an education and access to books. Our Literacy Project is addressing literacy for those in the nursery to the students in Bright Futures Secondary School. Previously, books were few and far between. How can a child be a confident reader if they don’t have access to books?
We are gifting boxes of books to rural primary schools where reading material is at a minimum and children are sitting on the floor in classrooms. A library has been built (The Emma Buchanan Rainbow Library) which now has a full wall of books of all subjects for children to read in the library and also to borrow. There are some computers in the library too (no internet yet) where students are learning to to type and learning about using computers.
All 75 pre-school children have been given a book each to keep. There are also picture books been donated to the nursery. All of these vulnerable children, have missed out on years of pre-reading. They weren’t able to sit on an adult’s knee as a baby and have books read to them daily. They weren’t given the opportunity to turn pages and look at pictures and then pretend to read the story by following the words with their fingers. I wonder, how many hours of ‘reading’ have our children had before they even get to school? These children have missed out on all of that.
So let’s celebrate, on World Book Day, that these children now have access to books every day. Let’s celebrate that the students in the new Bright Futures Secondary School have text books, bibles and dictionaries, as well as access to the library. Because of the School Literacy Project, will we see literacy levels increase amongst these vulnerable children in the next few years? Education is their way out of poverty. Education is the key to a better and brighter future for them. Education means chances and choices. Let’s celebrate that things are changing for these children and books are a big part of this change.
Here is the link to the fundraiser for the next classrooms at Bright Futures Secondary School https://gofund.me/ece5753a We would be so grateful for any donations to ensure that we can continue to build phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School and ensure that the education of the most vulnerable young people can continue.
There are 75 vulnerable pre-school children, ages 4-6, in the nursery at The Foundation. All are malnourished, some have stunted growth. We are doing what we can in order to help them have a better start in life.
Today, because of the rains, only about half of them were there to receive the gifts we had sent. The others will get their gifts another day. Proper records are kept to ensure none of them miss out.
Today is an exciting day for them…it’s the first time they have received a book of their own to keep and take home. This is part of The Literacy Project. I am an Early Years Educator and so am passionate about these children having the opportunities that our children have. When we have access to books pre-reading starts when babies are on an adult’s knee, having a story read to them. They look at the pictures and can anticipate certain points in the story because of the way the adult reads and shares this special time with them. Toddlers will bring their favourite storybook to an adult in order that they can share the story together. They can point to things in the pictures, they know that you turn the pages and they ‘pretend’ to read by tracing the words with their fingers. They know that these letter shapes are where the story comes from.
The children at The Foundation nursery have missed out on all of these experiences. We want story books to become an every day part of their lives. We want every home to have at least two books to support literacy. I had a video call with the headteacher of Bright Futures Secondary School yesterday and she was delighted that books were being given to the children in the nursery. She said they are trying to ‘play catchup’ with the students at Bright Futures Secondary School as they have missed out on having access to reading materials from a young age. Many of the students missed a lot of school to work for a pittance to buy food….it’s been so hard for them. We look forward to seeing how having books at home makes a difference to these children and their families.
Today, each child received a drawstring bag containing, a blanket, 2 red t-shirts, pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap and a picture book. As I said in a recent post, in future, we want to be able to include a knitted teddy in each bag for children starting nursery. If you are able to help support this nursery project in any way then please email me email@example.com
At the nursery today, Levison was able to gift some resources that had been sent. There were books and balls to be kept in nursery to be used whilst the children are there.
When the next container arrives (hopefully very soon) there are gift bags to be given to each of the children. Each child will receive a gym bag containing; a blanket, 2 red t-shirts, 3 pairs of pants, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste and a book. This will be an ongoing project so that, in future, whenever a child starts nursery, they will be given a gift bag, and we will have a record of every child who has been given these gifts.
The books that have been donated to the nursery and that will be gifted to each child to take home, form part of The Literacy Project. The children will learn about looking at pictures, turning pages and that the words tell the story. We hope that this will help with learning to read and also that books can be read every day for enjoyment and fact finding. We want every family to have at least one book in their home and, hopefully, older children can read to their younger siblings and adults. If some adults struggle with reading, we aim to have literacy classes for them too.
Although I was glad to see these resources being given to the nursery, I feel really quite sad looking at these photos. I have enlarged some of the photos to pick out three children that I noticed. All of the 500+ orphans and other vulnerable children we help to support, through a variety of projects, are malnourished to varying degrees. These children that I have highlighted have stunted growth and one has an enlarged tummy due to malnutrition. Prices of maize and other food are rising. Families are really struggling. Levison suspects that most of these children are only eating when they are fed at nursery and when they attend the weekly feeding programme.
There are no other charities or agencies feeding children in this area. Feed The Children Charity do occasionally donate some porridge for the nursery children; however, it doesn’t last long. Children walk for up to 20km to receive one substantial nutritious meal from the feeding programme once a week. We wish we had more money to be able to feed the children more often. It’s a huge responsibility trying to fundraise for food for over 500 children.
It costs approx £125 per week to run the feeding programme once a week for 500 children. The nursery children must be fed too. This is approx £50 per week. Bright Futures Secondary School is approx £100 per week to provide nutritious lunches each day. It would really help us and help the children if we had several people committing to pay a small amount of money each month to support feeding the children. If you can spare even £5 or £10 per month then you would be making a big difference. The children need more food. The children need you to help us support them. If other people, all pay a little amount each month then we can feed these malnourished children more often. Please email for bank details firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for reading and supporting us to continue helping the hundreds of vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi, Sarah x
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. email@example.com thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x
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:
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.
Could you sponsor a box of books please? It’s £15 per box on the container.
Pencils/pens/rubbers/sharpeners/pencil cases/maths sets/scientific calculators/English pocket dictionaries are always needed.
Soap, toothbrushes & toothpaste are always needed and very welcome.
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.
Can you organise a fundraiser for us? A coffee morning? A sponsored event?
Sharing our posts online is a great way of helping more people find out about the projects that are happening in rural northern Malawi.
Can we come and speak at your event and show photos & videos from Malawi?
There was great excitement yesterday. As well as each child receiving three pairs of pants courtesy of Smalls for All charity, an author came to visit.
Ndongolera Mwangupili is a Malawian author of a book called ‘Sons of The Hills’ and also works in education. The children, as you can see from the photos, were delighted to have a visitor. Ndongolera spent time talking with them and presented them with a copy of his book for the library. Ndongolera was impressed with the library and the selection of books that the children have access to.
It’s really important that there are books by Malawian authors in the library and the fact that the author came to visit them was even better. They have a role model. They too can be authors if they want to be. They can be anything they want to be. Thank you Ndongolera for spending time with the children and visting The Foundation. Thank you to everyone who donates books and money to cover the cost of sending each box on the container, Sarah x
If children don’t have access to books…how can they learn to read? It’s a miracle that the orphans and other vulnerable children supported by The Foundation can read at all. They are all amazing and are desperate to learn.
In developed countries, books are available for babies at just a few months old. Care givers are encouraged to sit babies on their knees and look at books with them. Children learn from a very early age that a book means a story. Preschool children learn books contains bright pictures. They learn that books have pages that are turned one after the other. They then pretend to follow the words with their fingers, so even then they know that the words tell a story and give information.
Then there is all the environmental print that we have. Most children before they can read will be able to recognise the golden arches of a burger chain or the label from their favourite yogurt or snack or the sign at the local supermarket.
What if all of this was missing from children’s lives? So by the time they arrived at school they had not had all these experiences and practice. The children in Malawi don’t have the luxury either of scribbling and mark making on paper with different pens and pencils. So how are they expected to learn to hold a pencil and write properly too. They have been at such a disadvantage.
Whilst we can’t provide for everyone and give each child an endless stock of paper and pens….we are making a difference….we are changing lives. You are helping us in a variety of ways and we couldn’t do what we do without you.
Seventeen boxes of children’s books have already been gifted to Chambo Primary School for the children to have access to a whole new world through reading stories. There are a variety of books going from preschool with lots of bright pictures and not many words to Harry Potter, encyclopedias, dictionaries and maps. Every person who has donated a book to us has given a child the gift of literacy.
There are more books on their way for another school and we will keep going until all children in that area have been given the gift of literacy. As soon as Levison had delivered the 17 boxes of books to Chambo primary school, and I had put a post on social media about it, his phone started ringing from teachers at other schools asking for books too. Everyone is desperate to help the children have a better education.
You have helped us supply books to Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation. Book shelves were made along the length of a wall, using a donation we had been given. Now they have a good selection of books for all ages, including study books. More are on the way.
The nursery, for 75 of the most vulnerable 4 – 6 year olds, has a basket of story books for younger children and there are more on the way. We are now making up care packages for children starting nursery, so we know that each child has received; a gym bag, 2 red t-shirts (nursery uniform), 2 pairs of pants, a blanket, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste and a story book with lots of bright pictures. Eventually, almost every home will have one or two books. Hopefully, the adults can look at the books with the nursery children.
Eventually, we want to be able to fund a member of staff to support adult literacy classes.
Today, my husband, Stuart, collected 5 bags for life and one big box from a local nursery. Arnprior Nursery had received a grant for new books and they no longer needed all these ones. What a brilliant way of recycling these preloved books. Instead of them being thrown out or sold for a few pence, the gift of literacy is being given to vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. Thank you to the staff at Arnprior Nursery for this amazing donation that will help so many children.
We are hoping to see literacy levels increase as time goes on. Already one little girl, Melise, who is 5 has been allowed to go to school a year early as she has been described as being very bright. Her brother, Mwiza, is disabled and has been given lots of picture books and toys to help stimulate him. Is she going to school a year early because she has been able to look at her brother’s books? I’m really keen to see how literacy levels start to rise.
Together we are Changing Lives Malawi and we need you all to keep helping us. This is a relatively cheap way to change the children’s lives. The books have been donated. It’s £15 to send each box on the container. If anyone would like to sponsor this literacy project or pay for a box then please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x
Children – There are hundreds of children, like Rodrick and his sister Lucia, who are suffering from malnutrition. They are hungry. They cannot concentrate properly as their bodies are lacking nutrients. Some have very stunted growth. Rodrick and Lucia have been given new clothes and attend the weekly feeding programme were , along with 500 other vulnerable children, they are given a substantial and nutritious meal. They are all still hungry and malnourished as they don’t eat every day. No big agencies are feeding children that far north in Malawi, so it is down to us to send money to feed these malnourished children.
Education – is also the key to these children having a better future. Unfortunately, there are not enough school places. We need to raise money to build a school so these children can have the education they deserve. Education should be available to everyone. The villagers want to be self-sufficient. They want to be able to provide for their families. They want their children to go to school and have the opportunities that they didn’t. The children work hard and are desperate to go to school.
Lack of school places – Currently, there are not enough school places available. Eleven sponsored children who passed their primary school leavers exams did not get picked for a place at secondary school and are resitting their last year at primary school. Will they get picked this year? So worrying for them and heart-breaking.
Help us please – There are great things happening at The Foundation and lives are changing for the better. However, there are so many children and so much to do that we cannot do what needs to be done without adding to our supporters and team.
We need fundraisers – we need people to organise small or larger events where you live, for your friends or community, on our behalf for the children.
We want active people to take part in sponsored events for our charity – is that something you can do? Walking, running, swimming, trampolining, a sponsored silence? Can you do this with your friends?
We need people to help us at events we organise eg looking after a stall, selling raffle tickets, making tea & coffee.
We need more sponsors to be matched with children like Rodrick and Lucia so they have a monthly food parcel at their home, clothes, a blanket, school supplies etc. We have 90 children & young people matched with sponsors so far but there are many more in desperate need. Can you help? It’s only £25 p/m.
Can you make a monthly donation to the feeding programme? Even a regular donation of £5 or £10 per month will make a big difference if several people sign up for this.
Can you make a donation from your company? We can give you publicity.
We need people to collect books so we can send them to schools.
We also need people to collect stationery, shoes, new underwear etc for all age groups to adult, and collect funds to cover the cost of transportation.
Will you invite us to talk at your club, church or school and show photos of the work taking place in Malawi?
Will you tell your friends, family, colleagues etc about our charity and like and share our posts?
email@example.com for bank details or to volunteer. It’s about teamwork and we all have a part to play in Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x
Now that we have the added bonus of being able to play videos on our website, I thought it would be nice to see this little video again that was previously shown on facebook. Tables and chairs were sent on the last container and this is the children from the nursery in Emma’s Rainbow Library.
These children (ages 4-6) are sitting at tables for the first time and have been given books to look at. Compared to our children they have missed out on lots of stages of pre literacy; sitting on an adult’s knee as a baby whilst an adult reads a story, learning whilst a toddler to turn the pages of a book to continue the story, looking at all the pictures and talking about that with the adult or pointing to items in the pictures. Then children usually will follow the text with their index finger, even though they aren’t at the right word they know by that stage that words go left to right and that the words make up the story.
Hopefully, now there are books in the library the children will have lots of opportunities to look at books and have stories read to them. There are nursery bags on the container that is about to leave Dundee next week that will be given to each child who starts at The Foundation Nursery. These bags contain; a blanket, two red t-shirts, 2 pairs of pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap and a picture book. Each child will then have a book at their home and books and reading will become more of an everyday part of life. Enjoy the video, Sarah x
We’ve had an Amazon wish list for a while but the wind up torches were out of stock for ages! It gets dark at 6pm all year round so children and their families are in the dark after 6pm unless they can afford to buy a candle.
I posted the link to the wish list and I’ve enjoyed receiving packages over the past few days. Thank you to everyone who has bought a gift for the children. Your kindness will make a difference to them and they will know that people care about them. Thank you. Here is the link and thank you for reading, Sarah x https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/1JZISVA9X45UF?ref_=wl_share
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. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for reading, Sarah x