I’ve chosen education again for December 5th as it is a core project and something we all feel very strongly about. Thanks to grants and donations from our supporters, Bright Futures Secondary School was opened in November 22.
Currently, there are three classes S1, S2 and S3. In September 2024 there will also be an S4 class. When there are four classes there will need to be several more teachers employed at the school. Therefore, next year’s running costs will be significantly more than this year’s.
One way that the school is planning to be more self-sufficient and have some income to be able to buy their own exercise books, science equipment and money towards trips etc is to set up a Pig Project. Agricultural classes are part of the core curriculum and particularly S2 have a topic on keeping pigs. Future piglets can be sold; the income will be for the school and the students will have practical experience which will be invaluable in the future. Quality education will be the key to a better and brighter future for these students with choices and chances. If you would like to buy a piglet as a Christmas gift for the person who has everything it only costs £45. https://email@example.com Thank you for your support, Sarah x
Today, 4th December we are highlighting food poverty and our feeding programme. I know I do go on about feeding children and education but it’s something I’m passionate about. So here are a few facts to read and we really would appreciate any help you can give.
Did you know that there are no big charities feeding children in schools in the area we are supporting in the rural far north of Malawi?
We send money to feed 500 orphans and other vulnerable children once a week. That’s all we can afford.
This feeding programme was just intended for malnourished children in the immediate area, however word spread and the need is so great that some children will walk up to 20km for this one nutritious meal of the week.
Teachers at Chambo Primary School have noticed an improvement in the concentration of these children even from one meal per week. Imagine if we could feed them more?
Food prices are going up all the time and food is getting more scarce now the rainy season has started.
Children are taught how to grow crops as agriculture lessons are a core subject on the curriculum, and important life skills to learn.
Maize, sweet potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables are grown to be used to feed the children. However, these do not last long for 500 hungry children.
Fruit tree saplings were planted a couple of years ago. Some bushes had fruit for the first time this year. However, the nursery children were so hungry that they picked the fruit and ate it. We have sent money to plant more fruit tree saplings now the rains are starting. This will provide much needed food and an income in the future and will, of course, also help the planet.
Children in the nursery are fed 5 times a week.
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School are fed 5 times a week.
On day 3 of our advent calendar we are highlighting education. Secondary education needs to be paid for in Malawi. Did you know that all of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School would not have been able to attend secondary school without support? Their education wouldn’t have gone past primary school. Even if they had passed their primary school leavers exams they would not be able to attend secondary school because they are so poor. Also, the nearest secondary school did not have enough spaces. All these students have missed chunks of education whilst at primary school so they could work for a pittance to try to buy food. They are all older because of that. The older they are, the more vulnerable and poor they are.
Thanks to our supporters and some generous grants, Bright Futures Secondary School was built. At the moment, class sizes are small because we cannot afford any more free places. However, every new sponsor matched with a young person ensures a brighter future for that vulnerable teenager. Education is their way out of extreme poverty. Being a sponsor only costs £25 per month. You can sponsor as an individual or a family or two friends can share the cost.
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School receive a cooked free school lunch each day. This is the only proper meal these young people eat every day, so it is vital for their wellbeing as well as being able to concentrate on their lessons. Could you support us with the cost of feeding the students please? Several people, committing £5 or £10 per month to ensure there is enough food for these teenagers each day will make a big difference. firstname.lastname@example.org
We were delighted that all S2 students passed their national exams in the summer. The fact that Bright Futures Secondary School had only opened in November 2022, it was an amazing achievement that the whole class passed. This story was even picked up by the national news, putting Bright Futures Secondary School well and truly on the map.
As part of our School Literacy Project, we are gifting books to the preschool children and putting boxes of books into local primary schools to raise attainment and help children be more confident readers. How can children learn to read properly if they don’t have books to practice with? Hopefully, we will start seeing the benefits of this project in the next few years as exam grades continue to rise.
Obviously, if primary school children were receiving food every day then this would make a huge difference too. Unfortunately, we can only afford to feed 500 once a week, with some children walking up to 20km to receive this nutritious cooked meal. Due to food scarcity, their currency being devalued again and prices continuing to rise, it is expected that the number of children attending this weekly feeding programme might increase to approximately 700 children. No big charities are feeding children in the rural far north and we cannot do this on our own without your support. Please help?
It’s a bit of a photo dump today! There is so much going on that it’s not easy to get photos of everything that is happening. Yesterday, S3 students at Bright Futures Secondary School were able to choose new shoes from the boxes of preloved shoes that www.salsshoes.com kindly donated to us to send to the teenage students. So there were lots of happy young people yesterday receiving new shoes to protect their feet whilst walking to and from school. Thanks to Sal’s Shoes and to all the people who donated preloved shoes to them.
We’d had a donation of money to be used to make desks for classroom 3. The donor wishes to remain anonymous but we are very grateful and thankful for this donation and the difference it is making. Levison was able to take some photos yesterday and you can see that the young people have a great learning environment. Thank you. We have preloved chairs and tables that we had kindly been offered going on the next container for classroom 4. If anyone would like to help towards the cost of transporting these then please do get in touch email@example.com
When Levison was at Bright Futures Secondary School yesterday, the S1 class were having a science lesson. He managed to get some photos of them using the new microscope that we sent. It’s so good to see these vulnerable teenagers having the opportunities they deserve and a good quality education. We do need sponsors to support more students to have a place at Bright Futures Secondary School so if you are able to commit to changing the life of a young person through education then please do contact us. It only costs £25 per month and you could share that cost with a friend. Or could you commit £5/£10 per month to ensure students have a nutritious, cooked school lunch each day. For many this is their only meal of the day. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your continued support. We are still collecting school uniform and shoes and also thin rain jackets if anyone would like to help. Also, any scientific calculators, maths sets or kindles that are still in good working order. If anyone has another microscope or STEM resources (science, technology, engineering, maths) that their children have grown out of eg snap circuits, meccano, magnets, etc please do get in touch to see if we are able to make use of them. Thanks and enjoy the photos, Sarah x
As we grow, there seems to be more to do! Bright Futures Secondary School is doing well and we were so thankful that classrooms 3 and 4 were finished in time for the new term starting last month. Classroom 4 is currently being used as a staffroom and for teaching skills for life classes, until it will be needed for a classroom next year when there will be another intake of pupils meaning there will be classes 1-4 next year.
This means we will need to build another staffroom by next September. Also, more teachers will need to be employed by next September. As the village is so rural and people are living in extreme poverty, there is no suitable accommodation available for teachers to rent. There is already some accommodation on campus for the current teachers but more needs to be built.
We were fortunate to receive a grant from The Clive Richards Foundation for staff accommodation and latrines for which we are very grateful. Levison has negotiated with local land owners and we have bought two pieces of land for The Foundation which will extend the Bright Future Secondary School Campus. One of these pieces of land is for teachers accommodation.
Land clearing has started and the builders will be arriving soon to start on the foundations and the building should be finished next month. You can see from the attached photos that there have been lots of shrubs and some quite big rocks and stones to move….all by hand. There has been another fuel shortage which has delayed purchasing items needed for the building but, thankfully, they got fuel yesterday afternoon. However, because of prices rising, fuel shortages and strikes, they are going to have to travel 50km into Tanzania to purchase cement then 50km back home again….adding to time and fuel costs. Nothing is straightforward.
On the second piece of land it is hoped that dormitories will be able to be built but, as with everything, it is dependent on finances. We would be delighted if anyone would like to make a donation towards either a second teachers accommodation block or dormitories. You could have your name, the name of a loved one or your company or club name over a door or on a building! email@example.com
One block of 4 motel style rooms with verandas will be built before the rainy season starts in the next few weeks plus more latrines will be built for the staff and students. We will need to raise more funds for a second block of 4 teachers’ accommodation that can be built after the rainy season. Great progress is being made but fundraising must continue to ensure that Bright Futures Secondary School continues to grow and thrive for the vulnerable teenagers and the community.
Money is always on our minds as we don’t have any big reserves. We are volunteers and so we have no overheads and all money donated goes to the projects we help to support. We rely on donations and fundraising and the occasional successful grant application. That is why we always talk about teamwork…we are only a small part of helping to make a difference. We need your help too!
The more teenagers we can match with sponsors, then the more vulnerable orphans will benefit from free good quality secondary education at Bright Futures Secondary School. So can you help an orphan have a brighter future with a secondary education? It costs £25 p/m to sponsor a young person and this includes a nutritious school lunch each day. firstname.lastname@example.org
For many, this is their only food each day which is why it is so important to us that they have free food at lunchtime each day. How can they be expected to study and concentrate on their lessons if they have no energy, are hungry and malnourished? How can they be expected to sleep at night if they are lying awake with hunger pains. We take a holistic approach to helping these young people and their families back to being self-sufficient and having a sustainable future.
We keep the UN Sustainable Goals in mind for all of our projects. #SDG1 – no poverty, #SDG2 – no hunger, #SDG3 – good health & welbeing, #SGD4 – quality education, #SDG6 – clean water & sanitation, #SGD8 – decent work & economic growth, #SDG11 – sustainable communities to name a few!!
Or could you commit £5 or £10 p/m to help us provide nutritious school lunches? Food prices keep going up and the crops they are growing just aren’t enough. You could help us ensure that no young person at Bright Futures Secondary School is suffering from malnutrition. email@example.com
I look forward to bringing you more photos during the coming weeks and, again, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who supports our work, Sarah x
We are very grateful for the donations of preloved sports kit we have received from clubs and individuals. As I posted yesterday, one primary school have football shirts that are years old and are ripped and falling apart. Thankfully, because of these generous donations, all schools taking part in the rugby development tournament will receive rugby balls and sports kit to take back to their schools.
New (or new to them) sports kit will make such a difference to these vulnerable young people who are living in extreme poverty. They can be proud of their team all looking smart and they know that people whom they’ve never met care about them. These young people are used to making do with what they have, even if it is ripped and falling apart, they aren’t used to being gifted new sports kit. They will be delighted, on tournament day, to receive new sports kit thanks to the donations of kit we have received.
One organisation who have been very generous with the amount of rugby kit and rugby balls they have donated to us is Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh. They have given us a huge amount of sports clothes as well as rugby boots and rugby balls. We are very grateful for all this support which, as you can see from the photos, is making a huge impact on the vulnerable young people we help to support.
We have facilitated a second visit from Jack Mphande, Sports Development Officer for Malawi Rugby Union, to introduce rugby in the far north of Malawi where we work. Jack is based in Lilongwe and travelled 15 hours by bus to work with the orphans and other vulnerable children during these two weeks.
A bit of information for those who are new to my blogs;
No big organisations are feeding children in primary schools this far north.
Most of children in primary schools aren’t eating a proper meal every day.
Secondary education needs to be paid for in Malawi. So, unless families can afford to pay for secondary education, many children’s education does not advance past primary school level.
Many primary schools do not even have clean water and toilets. Nor do they have enough educational resources. We have been donating boxes of preloved reading books to primary schools to help raise literacy levels.
The students (in today’s photos) attend Bright Futures Secondary School, the second phase of which has just been completed. None of them could afford secondary education as many are orphans living with extended family. Most don’t eat every day so all students at Bright Futures Secondary School receive a free cooked lunch each day as well as their free secondary education.
Many of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School are older than they should be. They’ve had to miss big chunks of primary school to work for a pittance to try to buy food for themselves and their families. The older a student is when they start secondary school, the poorer the family as they’ve missed more school. Often older siblings miss out on education so younger siblings can go to school while the older siblings work long hours. Many of the children and young people we help to support are suffering from different levels of malnutrition.
Whilst we are very grateful for donations of goods, we also need funds to cover the cost of sending these items. It costs us £17.50 per box or sports bag on the container and then there are also costs in Malawi when Levison and team travel to collect all the donations.
Thank you to all who contribute, to all who share our posts, to all those who have donated to this rugby event to ensure that these young people got to experience a new sport and learn new skills whilst having fun with their friends. They are able to forget about their traumatic lives whilst playing team sports. They will remember Jack’s visit as a highlight of their time at school.
So, as we grow and are able to help more of the most vulnerable people living in dire poverty, please consider fundraising for us to help us continue to change lives in rural northern Malawi. Can you donate money along with your gifts of goods? Can you have a bake sale for us? Or do a sponsored event? Our charity is run by volunteers, so all money goes to the projects we support in Malawi. Eventually, the aim is that the community will be self-sufficient but things have been so bad that they need a helping hand until they are at that point.
We are also looking for people to commit to £5 or £10 per month to help pay for school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School.
Can you pay for a box of preloved books to get to a primary school as part of our School Literacy Project? £17.50 will help children become more confident readers.
Can you give a vulnerable young person the gift of education at Bright Futures Secondary School? The more sponsors we have then the more students we can support. If you have £25 per month to spare (or split the cost with a friend) you will be able to sponsor a young person to attend secondary school. Education is their way out of poverty and young people want to work hard and have new opportunities for a brighter future.
Any fundraising you can do for us or monetary donations would be very much appreciated. firstname.lastname@example.org our charity bank details are; Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, a/c 21081462, s/c 80-22-60.
Enjoy looking at these photos of the young people at Bright Futures Secondary School as they learn to play rugby. Thank you everyone who supports us, Sarah x
Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to help make it possible for Jack Mphande, Rugby Development Officer from Malawi Rugby, to visit the far north of Malawi to spend time with teachers and young people sharing his love of rugby.
Secondly, a HUGE thank you to Jack for making the 15 hour journey north from Lilongwe. We know that you are a busy man and very in demand, so we are very happy and thankful that you have agreed to visit for a second time. Jack said how much the Foundation had changed and grown since his last visit! There was no Bright Futures Secondary School then!
Today, teachers from Bright Futures Secondary School, and four local primary schools, and the District Education Sports Officer had theory lessons from 10am-2pm. After that, they were joined outside by students from Bright Futures Secondary School for practical learning. Tomorrow, Jack will start visiting local primary schools who sent teachers to the course, to work with the teachers and students there. Then on the last day there will be tournaments between the schools.
The commitment, concentration and the passion from the sports teachers was great. We did the Get Into Rugby session, basic requirements in Rugby Coaching and what to do to sustain the programme. Coaches had a learning experience with the kids and I gave them an assignment to demonstrate how they will be delivering the session starting tomorrow at their own school. They did well and the kids had fun too.
Jack Mphande, Rugby Development Officer
There will be many more photos and videos documenting Jack’s visit along with the learning journey and fun that everyone will have. I love the photos of the teachers who were also doing practical learning! Many thanks again to everyone who has helped to enable this visit to happen. Enjoy the photos and videos, Sarah x
This year’s S1 students at Bright Futures Secondary School. They have received gifts of uniform, shoes and school bags.
Sarah’s blog 20/09/23
Firstly, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated school uniform and school bags for the vulnerable students at Bright Futures Secondary School. Levison said that one of them had said ‘we never expected to have such good quality clothes as this’. So thank you for making a big difference to them and helping them feel important and valued for a change.
Secondly, another huge THANK YOU to the charity Sal’s Shoes Our Story – Sal’s Shoes (salsshoes.com). We were gifted three big boxes of shoes for the teenagers at Bright Futures Secondary School. We are very grateful for this support and we know the young people are delighted to have proper shoes to wear. It has such an impact on their confidence and self-esteem that people who don’t even know them have shown they care about the students by donating uniform and shoes. Now they all look smart and are able to have a sense of pride in their appearance. Proper shoes are also very important when the young people are walking the long distances to and from school across rough ground. Thank you again Sal’s Shoes for all that you do, all the hard work of your volunteers and for everyone who donates shoes to you to pass on to those who need them.
Here are photos of the new S1 students at Bright Futures Secondary School. All of them are vulnerable. All have been given shoes, uniform and school bags. The Only a few of them have sponsors to support their education through secondary school. If you are able to support one of these young people then please do get in touch email@example.com It’s £25 per month to sponsor a young person. Or you could commit to £5 or £10 per month to help pay for school lunches. Each student gets a nutritious cooked lunch each day at Bright Futures Secondary School….for many it is their only proper meal of the day. These young people cannot be expected to concentrate and learn if they have no food in their tummies. Your help would be very much appreciated. The more people who help us support these young people, the more young people we can help and then we can offer places at Bright Futures Secondary School to additional young people. Thank you, Sarah x
The new term starts tomorrow and the new classrooms are ready just in time
Sarah’s blog 10/09/23
Just a few photos before the new school term starts tomorrow in Malawi.
The new classroom block at Bright Futures Secondary School has been finished, names have been written over the doors. The carpenter is making some extra desks that will be finished in a couple of days.
Three classes of students will arrive tomorrow. What the s3 class don’t know is that some of our trustees have sent money for a celebration for them tomorrow afternoon. All S3 (well last year’s s2) passed their national exams… a great achievement. So they will be having a treat tomorrow.
Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us to enable this to happen. It’s an amazing achievement and we are delighted that the classrooms are ready just in time.
Purple sky at sunset over the new classroom block at Bright Futures Secondary School
Sarah’s blog 8/9/23
Teamwork has done it again! Thank you so much everyone who has helped to make this happen. Classrooms 3 & 4 will be completed before school starts on Monday morning. Classroom 4 will be used as a staffroom/meeting room/general purpose room for this year until it’s needed for students in year 4 next year. The current staffroom is a bit too small for the extra teachers this term. We are fortunate to have this extra space this year.
The building looks amazing and the students are delighted that they have lovely classrooms and a great learning environment. Boxes have arrived with science equipment, reference books, pens, pencils and exercise books. Lots of photos will be taken over the next couple of weeks of the students receiving the equipment they need.
We are still fundraising for more latrines for the students and for extra staff accommodation as there is nowhere suitable in the village to rent due to the level of poverty. If you would like to help us a little bit further then the donation page is https://gofund.me/ece5753a or you can get in touch for bank details firstname.lastname@example.org . We are still looking for sponsors for these very vulnerable students if anyone would like to make a real difference to one young person. Please email for more details on sponsorship. These students need a sponsor
Many thanks again to everyone who supports us to help the whole community out of poverty, Sarah x
Can you help one of these vulnerable young people ? John is 14 and wearing a girl’s ‘brownie’ t-shirt (probably age 8-10). John is malnourished and needing help. Will you sponsor him or one of his friends? http://www.changinglivesmalawi.com
It’s been a difficult morning for me, but even more so for Levison. Yesterday registration opened for the returning pupils and new pupils at Bright Futures Secondary School. Yesterday over 70 families came. Today more families and their young people continue to arrive asking for free education at Bright Futures Secondary School.
We want to be able to say ‘yes’ to all of them. However, we cannot. We need to be sensible as the school costs money to run. It is the food prices that are crippling…prices have increased so much. All students at Bright Futures Secondary School get a free school lunch each day. This is a cooked, nutritious meal and, for most, it is their only proper food of the day. We will not stop feeding the students as how can they concentrate if the haven’t eaten? How can they sleep if they have stomach ache from hunger? How can we expect them to do their best and achieve without their basic needs being met?
This is where we need your help again. As I always say, it’s teamwork and we cannot help this community without you. These young people need a sponsor to help pay for their education. They are all malnourished. They are all extremely vulnerable. Will you help us to help them please? Being a sponsor is only £25 p/m. You can sponsor as an individual, as a family or two friends can split the cost of sponsorship between them. £25 is less than £1 per day. Much less than the price of a takeaway coffee. Will you give your support? email@example.com
Or could you commit £5 or £10 per month towards school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School? firstname.lastname@example.org for our bank details. Several people each giving £5 per month would make a big difference to how much food can be bought. Can you commit £5 please?
Thank you so much to everyone who has/is supporting us to help these students. We are so grateful that they now have choices and chances for a brighter future. Can you give one of these young people the same chances? Can you be a sponsor? Thank you, Sarah x
Bright Futures Secondary School will reopen next Monday and classrooms 3 & 4 are almost ready!
Sarah’s blog 04/09/23
I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since I last wrote a blog. It has been so busy and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to try to get things ready for school starting back in Malawi next Monday.
Tomorrow is registration day. All students who have been given a place at Bright Futures Secondary School will be coming to register and have their photos taken. There will be some who will be looking for sponsors to help support their education. If you would be interested in being a sponsor it’s £25 p/m (or two friends can split this cost). email@example.com
As there will be three classes this year, extra teachers have been employed. Money has been sent from a generous donation of £500 for the carpenter to build more desks. We’ve also sent money for some text books to be bought and for exercise books for all the students. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough money yet to buy all the text books we need, so if anyone could help with that we would be very grateful.
Also, we are still raising money for more latrines and we would be delighted if you could spare a few £££. Money for text books and latrines can be added to our school fundraiser https://gofund.me/ece5753a .
Have a look at these photos to see how hard the builders have been working! Let’s build a school! Bright Futures Secondary School now has four classrooms! Classroom 4 will be used for a combination of agricultural classes, sewing classes, a meeting room and study space until it is needed next year for the next intake of students. Thank you so much everyone for your continued support, Sarah x