31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 24, 25 and 26

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Sarah’s blog 26/5/22

7am. So glad I am nearly at the end of my challenge. It’s tough because I am thinking about the food that I will be able to have next week and it’s making it harder to keep going with all the vegetables and rice!

As I had done 20km on my bike that I mentioned in my last blog, I decided just to do 10km on my bike for the next couple of days as my legs were sore.

I’ve been eating rice with mixed vegetables, lots of roasted vegetables, soup and a waldorf salad. Trying to drink enough water and finding that quite hard to fit in an extra couple of glasses. As I was out a lot yesterday, I did have a shop bought pack of melon and mango which tasted amazingly sweet and delicious.

6.30pm Just cycled another 20km and really pleased with myself! Never thought I’d be able to do that at the start of this challenge… I was struggling to get past 5km. So I will definitely try for at least two more 20km before I finish.

I decided to do this challenge for the following reasons;

  1. To raise money to build a much needed school as there are not enough places in the local secondary school. If you don’t get picked for a place in secondary school then you don’t go. Education should be available to all. It is the children’s way out of poverty to build themselves a better future.
  2. To raise awareness of the Feeding Programme and what the children have to eat. I am eating rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables. I am fortunate that I have a choice. I am fortunate that I am eating more than once a day. I am fortunate that I am only doing this challenge for 31 days in May. The Feeding Programme feeds 500 children and young people once a week with a substantial and nutritious meal. As there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in that area, some children are walking from 20km away for this one meal a week. There will be some children who do not eat every day. Teachers have said that children are able to concentrate better and their grades have improved since The Feeding Programme was implemented. It’s not enough but better than it was. We would love to be able to send money to feed the children more often.
  3. I set out to cycle 10km a day on my exercise bike to represent how far the younger children are walking to and from school (approximately 5km each way). However, some days I have been able to cycle 15km and have even done one 20km. I will try to do another couple of 20km before my challenge ends.

If you think that all children deserve an education please donate to my fundraiser https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Please help me help the children.

Some of the most vulnerable children

These are the most vulnerable children and most in need of a sponsor. Can you be a helping hand to one of these children?

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Sarah’s blog 5/4/22

I wanted to highlight some of the orphans and vulnerable children that Levison has taken photos of previously. He’s done this as they are some of the most vulnerable and most in need of a sponsor. It’s only £25 per month to sponsor a child and you can do that as an individual, a group or two friends. 85p per day will mean the world to these children.

I’ve highlighted each child with a coloured background because I think they deserve to be seen. They deserve to have the same chances our children have. They deserve to have food, clothes, education. They deserve to reach their potential. They deserve to have a helping hand. They deserve to know that someone cares.

Please…can you be a helping hand to one of these children? It might be one of the most important things you ever do. It might be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thank you for reading and I hope to hear from some of you and match you with a child. Sarah x

This year’s S1 students

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Sarah’s 29/03/22

Whilst the first year students were back from secondary school for the school holidays last week, they each had their photo taken and were asked to write their thoughts by answering a few questions. I hope you find their answers interesting. If you’d like to sponsor a young person to help them achieve their potential then please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com it’s only £25 per month to change a child’s life. Thanks, Sarah x

The Second Sunday in Advent

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Sarah’s blog 5/12/21

The second Sunday in advent is traditionally about peace and waiting. I have had no choice this week. I wasn’t going to write this but I think it’s important and I would be very grateful if you would be patient with me whilst I write this.

I have been in a very large hospital since Tuesday morning. On Tuesday afternoon I had some of my right kidney removed using robotic assistance. If this operation had taken place at my usual hospital, they would have removed my whole kidney. So I am thankful for the opportunities I have had. Everyone has been so lovely and kind and I have felt precious and cared for.

I am very conscious of the differences between my opportunities here and the lack of health care opportunities in Malawi, something we need to try to work on next year.

I feel I am being ‘asked’ to write this and believe me I am double and triple checking things as I am on a lot of medication for pain relief and my concentration isn’t good. At least I’ve kept my eyes open! My care,post op, has not gone to plan. My oxygen levels have been extremely low and, I spent two days in high dependency. Yesterday was my first day since Tuesday with no additional oxygen…again the comparison isn’t lost on me that Malawi doesn’t have enough oxygen in hospitals.

So without you having to know all my aches and pains, I am here to wait and recover. To recover from the big operation I have had but also the stress of 2021 which has been huge.

Every day has been a worry about where money will come from to feed children, to sponsor them, to provide for them. I have been volunteering 7 days a week. I can’t continue at that rate. It’s not going to do me any good, therefore the charity any good, if I don’t start putting myself first. I don’t know what the new working hours will look like but, for now, I will wait with peace and listen. Of course, I couldn’t have worked so hard without my husband who is my biggest supporter.

All of this would have been hard enough but there have been people on social media trying to destroy our charity. People who have never met me. People who are happy to side with others without knowing facts or thinking about the consequences of their actions. I cannot apply for grants for our charity at the moment because the awful things that have been written. People might not like me or like what I say (and that’s ok) but every decision I make is to benefit those hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children to make lives better for them.

Of course, I should have been at home this last week sharing posts; getting children sponsored, selling paintings for Christmas or lovely cards; sharing the links for e-cards and e-gifts and generally working as hard as I can for every £1 to help make a difference in Northern Malawi. Hopefully, people do find the items via our website and please share posts if you can. Hoping I will be home in a few days although this week away, courtesy of the NHS, has been amazing. I couldn’t have asked for better care.

So instead of being busy selling, I’ll wait patiently for what’s going to happen next. It might be that you decide you want to help, it might be a magazine wants to write about our work… who knows? But I do know that 2022 is going to be a better year and we hope that you will continue to journey with us http://www.changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

My room with a view of the helipad

Happy Mothers Day (Malawi) – It takes a village to raise a child.

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Sarah’s blog 15/10/21

It’s a national holiday in Malawi today. The schools are closed and people are celebrating Mothers Day. It made me wonder what the children who are supported by The William Stewart Foundation are thinking and feeling today.

The Foundation supports approximately 800 children and young people through different projects. These are some of the most vulnerable children in the world, suffering from malnutrition, extreme poverty and most have experienced grief and trauma due to the loss of a parent or important adult caring for them. Do the ones that have lost their mums have memories of them? Were they too young to remember? How many children are now carers themselves? Of course we know it’s not just females that have caring roles but today we thank the women who are bringing up their own children, other people’s children, grandmothers, aunties, big sisters, and some who are not blood relatives but have loving, caring hearts. Life is very hard but even harder when you’ve got nothing and you and your family are very, very hungry.

The African Proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is so true and The William Stewart Foundation is part of that village, raising the most vulnerable children, feeding them, clothing them, trying to give them hope for a better future. We can all be part of ‘the village’ for these children, playing an important part in their lives, supporting them so that the mothers of the future have opportunities that previous generations haven’t had. Happy mothers day to all the caring women in Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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