Sisters – Naomi & Modester

Sarah’s blog 21/9/22

When The Foundation was still quite new, Naomi brought her baby sister to the Foundation to ask for food. Naomi was delighted to be able to feed her hungry baby sister, Modester. They had been very recently orphaned and it was a huge responsibility for Naomi to look after and feed her baby sister.

I thought it was such a powerful photo that Levison took that day. Naomi was happy that she could feed Modester, having gone through the grief and trauma of being orphaned. They have both been living with their grandmother since then. I have used that photo lots of times since then as it tells the story of what these orphans and vulnerable children go through and the difference The Feeding Programme makes to hundreds of children, even though it is only once a week.

The Foundation is a refuge for children in need. They know they will have someone to talk to, someone to listen to them. Someone to play with. Somewhere to forget their problems for a little while. A safe place to just be children.

I was delighted when Levison sent me a photo of Naomi and Modester the other day. Naomi is now 14 and in p8 and Modester is 5 and attending the nursery. They are both doing well but it would really help them if they could have a sponsor. We’d love to see them continue to thrive and have an additional food parcel going into their home. If you could sponsor one of these sisters, then please do let me know. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It is £25 per month to sponsor a child which you can share with a friend to half the cost. It might be the most important gift you give to one of these girls. Please help?

Thanks for reading and please do let me know if you can help. Sarah x

Naomi and Modester when Modester was a baby and they’d both just been orphaned. And now age 14 and 5 looking well.

New Clothes & Gifts

Sarah’s blog 20/09/22

At the weekend, some of the donated clothes were gifted to the children. There is always great excitement on these days and lots of children turn up to receive some new clothes.

Two elderly ladies, Gogo Nandege and Namasachi, regularly come to The Foundation to tell the children traditional stories. Gogo is a respectful term for Grandparent and a married woman can add ‘Na’ as a prefix to her name. They are both very poor but very generous with their time. They were delighted to receive coats, shoes and walking sticks which will help them as they walk to spend time with the children.

All of the children who I have named are very vulnerable and looking for a sponsor. So, if you are able to help one of them, please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It’s £25 per month to sponsor a child. They receive a monthly food parcel at home to supplement what their family has. They also are gifted clothes, a blanket, soap and school supplies. They get regular welfare checks and are given medicine if they need it. You can sponsor a child as an individual, a family, a business or two friends can share the cost. It might be the most important thing you ever do for one of these children. Please help if you can.

We’ve always said that girls and women don’t wear trousers for cultural reasons. They do in the cities and towns but in the rural areas it is more traditional. However, some of the teenage girls asked if they could try on trousers. Some of them were far too big for the girls but it’s an indication that some of the girls would like to start wearing trousers. From now on we will gratefully accept women’s trousers too.

I hope you enjoy the photos and please do get in touch if you can help by sponsoring a child, supporting the feeding programme with a monthly donation, or paying for a box to go on the container. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or to donate to our school fundraiser the link is https://gofund.me/44a92444 Thank for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Lots of vulnerable children waiting patiently to receive some new clothes
some of the nursery children receive new clothes

Do you recognise any of these clothes? Thank you again to those who have donated preloved clothes, shoes and money to pay for transport.

nursery children receiving new clothes
A group of children receiving new clothes. All are very vulnerable.
More needy children having received some new clothes.
Teenage girls asking to try on trousers…we will include trousers for them next time as some of these are far too big!
Times are changing as culturally girls and women in rural locations have always been more traditional only wearing skirts or dresses. However, these teenage girls were keen to try on trousers!
These two elderly ladies are very poor but very generous with their time. They come to tell the children traditional stories.
Levison with the two elderly story tellers after they have been gifted coats, walking sticks and shoes. The walking sticks and shoes will make their journey to The Foundation to spend time with the children far easier.
Two little girls from the nursery who will benefit from having a sponsor
Could you sponsor one of these nursery children please?
Shalom would love to have a sponsor. Could you help her?
Fred is needing a helping hand. Please could you sponsor him?
Could you sponsor Rashid? He has missed a lot of school to try to earn some money.

This year’s p8 students

Sarah’s blog 21/08/22

These young people have been really busy and have recently taken their primary school leavers exams. We have our fingers and toes crossed for them that they all pass and have good enough grades to continue onto secondary school.

They have all written letters to their sponsors. They aren’t confident at writing letters as they don’t have many opportunities so this is good practice for them.

Hope you enjoy the photos and reading what they have written. Thank you to all their sponsors for changing their lives and giving them new opportunities. Sarah x

Thoughts & thanks from Levison

Sarah’s blog 18/08/22

I sometimes think I don’t get across the sheer scale of the difficulties faced by the people that Levison and his team are trying to help in the rural far north of Malawi. When he first wanted to improve the lives of the most vulnerable, he was just thinking about those in his village. However, from reading what he has written below, you can see that people are coming every day begging for help, and walking huge distances to get to The Foundation because they have heard that they won’t be turned away. People do not have food to feed themselves or their families.

In addition to the 500+ children who are fed once a week at The Feeding Programme, the 75 preschool children who are fed three times a week in The Nursery, as well as all the other projects and wonderful things that are happening, there are so many others needing our help. These people are feeling forgotten. There are no other charities or big agencies feeding children in that area. It is a huge responsibility for The Foundation and a huge responsibility for us. That is why we rely on your help. That is why we need you as part of our team.

When you give us preloved clothes and shoes, blankets and soap…you will understand the importance of these when you read Levison’s words. It’s also important that we continue to have the funds to send this aid to the most vulnerable people in rural Northern Malawi. So, if you can, please when you donate clothes, shoes, or anything else to us, could you include some money to cover the cost of sending boxes to The Foundation. Or raise some funds for us to continue this important work. It’s £15 per box on the container. People need our help. We need you to be part of our team. Great things are happening but there is more to do. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

“Today when I was resting under a small tree to the south of the resource centre, I shed tears when I was looking at the library/shed, the shower block and other structures around. I thought much of where I am coming from in as far my charity work involvement is concerned.

Almost each and every hour we receive people from far places (some even 40km away) coming to the resource centre to ask for help. Men, women, boys and girls come to beg for food, money and clothes. These are people who really seem to be in dire poverty. We usually make sure they get relaxed, we give them food to eat. For those who may be come with some health issues like headache etc we give them painkillers like panado.

We have reserved, food, clothes, soap etc for such emergencies. When we give them the little we have, they shed tears, roll on the ground etc. These tears are tears of joy. These are the blessings we are receiving from these people. Many ask who is behind this initiative. I myself also shed tears when I hear their stories and see how thankful they are.

As a charity organisation we have contributed a lot to the community and are making a difference to the community. We have electricity, people being fed and clothed. Think of the children and women who are HIV positive, we have improved their nutrition status. On behalf of our children I would like to thank you all for your amazing love and support you are giving to us”

Levison Mlambya, 17/08/22
Some of the younger children at The Feeding Programme
Just one of the families who have been helped by The Foundation. This family’s home had been destroyed in the heavy rains. They were given this home to live in by another villager and The Foundation was able to provide food, blankets, new clothes and match two of the children with sponsors so they have two food parcels going into their home each month.
Here they are in their new, clean clothes with a big bag of maize too.
The family with some more gifts of clothes and shoes

Please sponsor me?

Sarah’s blog 12/8/22

It’s been a little while since I posted any photos of vulnerable children who are still waiting to be matched with a sponsor. £25 is all it costs per month…less than £1 per day. Two friends or a group can share the sponsorship costs too. A business or a group could sponsor a child and change their life today.

Sponsored children get a monthly food parcel at their home to top up their food supplies, not to replace them. This is a hand up not a hand out. These people are proud and want to be self-sufficient which is the end goal. Sponsorship also pays for secondary education, an opportunity the children wouldn’t normal get. They also get regular welfare checks and medicine if they are ill.

If you can help one of these children then please do email me. You’ll also find more information in the child sponsorship section of the website. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you soon, Sarah x

Getting ready for school

Sarah’s blog 26/7/22

As you know, we are trying our best to raise money to build the first block of a secondary school. Bright Futures Secondary School will be a community school for the orphans and other vulnerable young people to attend.

Education should be available for everyone. There are currently not enough places at local secondary schools. If you don’t get picked for a place, even if you have passed your primary leavers exams and can afford the school fees.

This is what happened to eleven of our sponsored young people this year. They are resitting their last year of primary school, hoping for better grades, hoping to be picked for a place.

As the local secondary school is a distance away the young people, who are sponsored and do get a place at school, have to board at school. This adds to costs and also means they aren’t available to help their families with chores.

A secondary school in the village would make such a difference to so many people. Education is their way out of dire poverty – their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Bricks are being made…about 40,000 so far, and kilns are going to be built soon to fire the bricks.

There are people working hard in Malawi and here to try our best to help these vulnerable children. As well as education, a school will help prevent teenage pregnancies and girls being married off too soon. Already, The Foundation has proved that if the young people are kept busy and given opportunities then there will be far less teenage pregnancies. The young people’s self-esteem has increased as they learn new skills, play team sports with their peers and read in the library. They know people care about them. They have hope for a better future. We need to continue supporting the projects that support them. This is absolutely vital to protect these vulnerable young people.

Here, we are trying to raise funds and awareness. It’s really hard as we know that some people have less available cash. We need to reach a wider group of people and if we all give a little, that will add up to a lot!

Also, we are trying to source supplies to provide for the young people when the school is built. We need to plan ahead as the container takes approximately 3 months for its journey.

There are over 100 chairs at The Bananabox Trust warehouse that we are sending for the first phase of the school. Someone donated boxes of new laptop bags. We are sending 80 of these for the young people to use as school bags. Pencil cases and pens are in boxes too as well as some secondary school uniform.

Stuart, my husband, delivered some boxes and 72 rugby balls to Dundee today and took a photo of all the chairs to show Levison.

I also received a photo from one of our supporters today who put a shout out on her village Facebook page asking for preloved secondary school uniform. People have been very generous as she’s collected a great amount which will kit out some of the pupils who will attend Bright Futures Secondary School.

There’s still so much to do and so much money to raise but we WILL do this. The children are relying on us. So if you can spare a few £££ we would be so grateful. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Donate here: https://GoFund.me/44a92444 or get in touch contact_us@changibglivesmalawi.com

The donations that Stuart took to Dundee today including 72 rugby balls from Annan rugby club and Merchiston Castle School. You can see that the warehouse is getting full.
The chairs that we are sending for Bright Futures Secondary School
We are grateful for this huge pile of secondary school uniform donations that we will send for the pupils when they start school

Jackie’s very wet adventure

Sarah’s blog 25/7/22

Jackie is one of the people who has embraced our kilometre challenge and has been doing lots of cycling. She is also keeping a note of the totals for me.

Jackie and family have been helping to move a boat through the locks on the Crinan Canal. There are 15 locks along the canal to move the boats from one level to the next. Jackie had her bike with her and was running and cycling between the locks adding to her total kilometres.

If you want more info on the canal here is a link: https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/crinan/crinancanal/index.html

It is a beautiful place and I had said to Jackie last week that there would be lots of tourists watching them open and close the locks as the boat travelled through the different sections. There were no tourists! The rain could not have been any heavier and poor Jackie (and everyone else) got absolutely soaked. She is very brave for allowing me to post a photo of her looking a little bit wet and fed up! Well done Jackie and thank you for adding lots of kilometres to our total.

So I’m going to post a couple of photos to show you how beautiful the scenery is then Jackie’s photos and the route she was running/cycling back and forward!

The new totals are U.K. 1,250.285 kilometres, Malawi 320km = 1,570.285 kilometres which is 11.95% of our total.

To take part in our challenge to travel one of the routes the boxes of aid take from here, Balfron, to northern Malawi… over 13,000km click here https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 and to donate to help us build a much needed school … Bright Futures Secondary School https://GoFund.me/44a92444

If you think Jackie has done a brilliant job this weekend then please donate a few £££. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Internet photo – One of the locks on the canal on a sunny day
Another photo from the internet… this is what Jackie would have been doing but in the pouring rain!
Jackie’s bike and the boat they were helping to move through the 15 locks in the torrential rain
The Crinan Canal
Jackie covered quite a few kilometres running and cycling back and forward
A very wet and tired Jackie! Well done Jackie and thank you for sharing your kilometres with us!

The children need food

Sarah’s blog 20/7/22

Running a Foundation is a huge responsibility and the rural location of The Foundation adds to the pressure that Levison is under.

There are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the far north of Malawi. The responsibility has fallen to The Foundation to feed 500+ children once a week. Children are walking from up to 20km away to have that one substantial meal each week.

This is all we can afford at the moment. There are so many calls on finances as we try our best to support a community back to self-sufficiency.

The Foundation teaches life skills to the children and young people. Growing crops is part of the skills the children learn. Unfortunately the crop of maize was affected by the flooding earlier this year and part of the crop was washed away. This year’s crop will only feed the children for two months.

The price of buying maize fluctuates throughout the year depending on availability and time of year.

The Malawian Kwacha was devalued a few months ago and all prices have gone up. However, maize is more than double the price it was this time last year.

Thank you to the few people who have given £5 per month towards the feeding programme as we have been grateful for this to top up the money we send each month to feed the children.

We know that we are asking for a lot of help but the more people who know about our charity and The Foundation, the more we can spread the help we need across more supporters. So I urge you to please share our posts and also tell your friends about us and the help we need.

All of us in the U.K. are volunteers and no money is spent on admin costs as we donate our time, petrol for transporting boxes to Dundee etc. So you can be sure if you donate money for feeding children, that’s where it will go.

Please, please can you donate £5 per month towards our feeding programme? I need 20 people to commit to £5 per month to enable the children to still be fed a substantial meal each week at The Foundation.

Please, if you can, donate £5 p/m by emailing contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details. The children have come to rely on that one substantial meal each week…we can’t let them down.

Please help us continue helping the children by donating £5 per month for food. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to help feed the 500+ vulnerable children today. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the children having their one nutritious meal of the week.

Imagine a world with no school

Sarah’s blog 18/7/22

Imagine a world with no school. Lots of children might initially be cheering. But think of your life…if you’d not been to secondary school, would your life look very different now?

Would you be ok if your children didn’t have the opportunity to go to secondary school? I think we can all agree, no matter whether you liked secondary school or not, secondary school enabled us to learn more. Whether you liked science or languages or PE or arithmetic or music, or whatever subjects you had at your school, you had the opportunity to learn and to try different things.

You may have gone on to college or university or gone straight into the workforce. Could you have done that with just your primary school education?

The point of my rambling is that education is every child’s right. All children, wherever they live in the world, whatever their background or circumstances, should have a chance to go to school. We would be different people to the people we are now if we hadn’t had those opportunities. Please help us ensure that the children The Foundation supports have access to education. It’s their way out of poverty. It’s their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Currently, there are not enough secondary school places available for the young people whom The Foundation supports in rural northern Malawi. Secondary school needs to be paid for. None of the children supported by The Foundation can afford to pay school fees, which is why we try our best to match children with sponsors to help pay their school fees.

Children can only go to secondary school if they pass their primary school leavers exams. However, because there aren’t enough secondary school places, even if you’ve passed your primary school leavers exams, if you don’t get picked for a place at secondary school then you can’t go. It’s heart breaking for these children who have so many problems in their lives not to be picked even though they have tried their best.

Also, as the nearest secondary school is a distance away, pupils who are supported by The Foundation and who are picked to go to secondary school, have to board at school making it even more expensive. Families and caregivers who rely on these teenagers for help with chores or looking after younger siblings also miss out on having them at home.

Bright Futures Secondary School is going to make a difference to so many. It is going to change lives. It will be in the village, for village children who cannot afford school fees. The first year classrooms will be built during the first year, then the second in the second year and so on until all four years are built. However, we cannot do this without you. We know it is a huge project and a huge ask but we have a responsibility to ensure that all children have an education. We want the same things for the children supported by The Foundation that we want for our own children.

Can you help us please? Can you make a difference? Can you change lives? Here is the link to our fundraiser for the school. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Even just a few £££ will make a difference. Here is the link to our kilometre challenge https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 and we would love you to get involved. It’s always about team work and we cannot do what we do without your help. Please?

We don’t want children leaving primary school and going straight into work. They would be working for a pittance with what prospects of a better future? One boy, who is now sponsored, was working for a farmer for the equivalent of £1.50 per month. We need to ensure all children have a childhood and have the opportunities they deserve. Please help us to continue Changing Lives Malawi.

Laston, the boy in the video, was the boy who was working for £1.50 per month and only had rags to wear. He is thriving since being matched with a sponsor. There are hundreds of children like Laston who need our help. What will you do today to help a child like Laston? Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Laston had no other clothes. His shoes had huge holes in them.

The kids kilometers – 320kms

Sarah’s blog 3/7/22

As you know, we are raising funds to build a much needed school so that some of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi will be able to access education. This is their way out of the extreme poverty they are living in and a chance of a brighter future for themselves and their families. The school is being called ‘Bright Futures Secondary School’. Originally, one classroom was going to be named ‘Bright Futures’ by the Bright Family in memory of a very special lady who had recently passed away and who had knitted lots and lots of hats for the children. However, Levison and his trustees liked this name so much and thought it so appropriate that they have adopted it as the name for the new school.

This school is being built on a shoestring, one year group at a time. We need to raise money and the roof will be the most expensive thing, but there’s many more things apart from that to pay for including labour and cement.

We decided, as it is a community school, that we would ask our global community if you could help us and follow the route of the boxes that leave here and travel on the container to Malawi. That journey is over 13,000km and we want you to log the kilometres you complete by cycling, walking the dog, running or anything else. If you could ask people to sponsor you too then we will raise money for the school. The more people that take part, the quicker we will cover these miles. The more people that take part, the more money we will raise as each person can ask different people to sponsor them.

So today, because it’s a community school for the children, they have helped us out by covering some kilometres. I hope you enjoy the photos and videos and will consider sponsoring them. It’s a great effort they have put in to bring down the total kilometres in this challenge, they’ve worked hard and had fun. It would be fantastic for them if people could sponsor them and they found out how much money they’ve raised by their efforts today. Here is the link to sponsor them https://gofund.me/44a92444

80 children and young people chose to be part of this challenge today. They each ran 4km. Their total kilometres covered today was 320km!! An excellent result. It would be brilliant for them if they knew their efforts had raised £320….can you sponsor them please? Let them know that you are part of the community that supports them https://gofund.me/44a92444

To join in with the challenge and for all the info you need click on this link https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 thanks for reading and supporting the children, Sarah x

The kids are covering kilometres too!

Sarah’s blog 1/7/22

As the school we are fundraising for is a community school, some of the children who are supported by The Foundation will also be walking or running a kilometre to add to our total. I’m hoping to bring you photos and videos tomorrow or Sunday of the children taking part in our challenge. Hopefully, a few people might sponsor them? It would be really good if they knew they were helping to make the school a reality by getting involved in the fundraising.

I’m going on my exercise bike soon and will log my kilometres….I’m just aiming for 5km today but will do more next time. Have you decided to join us on our virtual journey…what are you going to do? Or are you going to sponsor someone instead? Thanks for reading, Sarah x

here is the link to donate https://gofund.me/44a92444

here is the link to read all about the challenge and how to get involved. We need you on our team. Balfron to Bright Futures Secondary School – 13,144KM (google.com)

On Father’s Day….

Sarah’s blog 19/6/22

https://changinglivesmalawi.com/2022/06/17/a-family-in-need-of-help/

It’s Father’s Day in the U.K. today. A day for celebration for some, a day for reflection for others and a bittersweet day for others as they remember the fathers who are no longer here.

I’m not going to do a long post today as I’ve been writing quite a lot recently but I just wanted to ask you to spare a thought for the orphans and fatherless children in Malawi who need our help and support.

If anyone of you could help a child, we would be so grateful. £25 a month will give a monthly food parcel, a blanket, clothes, welfare checks and education. That’s only 85p per day. If you cannot afford £25, could you and a friend sponsor a child between you? £12.50 a month each for two people to sponsor a child will change their life. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

I’ll share Mercy’s appeal again in the hope generous sponsors come forward for her and her brother. Thank you, Sarah x

Mercy has had to drop out of school due to lack of funds. She needs someone to sponsor her so she can complete her last two years of school.

Mercy’s mum is on her own with two children. Her son is disabled. Please could someone sponsor him to make their lives just a little bit easier?

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