New uniform & shoes for the S1 students at Bright Futures SS

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 ( 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 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

Martha, Mphatso and Aaron are choosing shoes from one of the boxes that Sal’s shoes donated
New shoes for Aaron, Martha and Mphatso – thank you
looking very smart in their new uniforms and shoes
John and Asante pose in their new uniform and shoes
Thanks to Sal’s shoes for these very smart shoes that John and Asante are delighted with
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Polio Vaccinations

Eligible children were given polio vaccinations this week


Sarah’s blog 16/09/23

As schools and nurseries started back in Malawi this week, so did the Malawi Health Department’s National Polio Vaccination programme. It is the aim to vaccinate all children between the ages of 5 and 15. So, when health officials arrived during the week, the eligible children and young people lined up to receive their vaccines.

It has been such a busy week as Levison is juggling projects; builders, carpenters, new teachers and far more young people turning up to register for Bright Futures Secondary School than they are able to accommodate. However, teachers and students have all reported that they’ve had a positive first week and are pleased with the new classroom accommodation.

Lots more photos to follow next week. Thanks for your support, Sarah x

S3 treat for passing exams

S3 students at Bright Futures Secondary School deserved a treat for passing their S2 national exams


Sarah’s blog 13/09/23

Schools across Malawi started back on Monday. We were so thankful that the new classroom block at Bright Futures Secondary School was finished in time for the new term starting.

We decided that the S3 students deserved a treat for passing their S2 national exams. The whole class passed and this story was even picked up by the national news. An amazing achievement for some of the most vulnerable students in Malawi. Many of them are orphans. Most don’t eat properly every day (apart from their cooked lunch at school) and most have missed school at some point to try and earn a pittance to buy themselves and their families some food.

After lessons finished on Monday, the S3 students were given bottles of fizzy drinks and sweets. These are things they would never have. They also had a meal of goat meat, rice, beans and vegetables. Again, meat is something that they might only have once or twice a year at The Feeding Programme. Rice is far more expensive to buy than maize so they don’t usually have rice either. Everyone was really happy and delighted to have these unexpected treats. The students were telling their friends in S1 and S2 how they must work really hard to pass their exams too.

The aim at Bright Futures Secondary School is to keep class sizes smaller than the average to ensure that these vulnerable students get the attention they deserve. However, class sizes remain very small as we need more help to feed everyone. Food prices continue to rise and students must be fed as, for many, this is their only meal of the day. How can they concentrate if they have not eaten? If you can help by either sponsoring a teenager’s education or commit a monthly amount towards school lunches then please get in touch . The bigger the team who are supporting school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School the more young people we can help to educate.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the school project; Bright Futures Secondary School is an amazing learning environment. There will be more photos and videos later in the week as school supplies are handed out. Thanks again, Sarah x

These students need a sponsor

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?



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?

Or could you commit £5 or £10 per month towards school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School? 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

Let’s build a school – phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School

Let’s build a school – Bright Futures Secondary School is changing lives for some of the most vulnerable students in Malawi.


Sarah’s blog 23/8/23

Bright Futures Secondary School is a big project and, because of costs, we have had to divide it into phases. We were asked to support this project due to lack of places available at the nearest secondary school and the fact that the vulnerable young people we help to support couldn’t afford to pay for secondary school.

In November 22 phase 1 opened with two classrooms. Numbers of students in each class were smaller during last year as we couldn’t offer a full school year because the classrooms weren’t finished for the school year starting in September. However, small class sizes have obviously been of huge benefit to the very vulnerable students who were in our first intake. All students in s2 passed their national exams which is an amazing achievement. Two news outlets in Malawi have picked up on this good news. In the news! 100% exam pass rate S2 BFSS

We knew that another classroom would be needed for term starting September 23. However, we didn’t know whether we would be able to achieve this. Prices have kept going up in Malawi so any quotes we got for work were soon out of date and we did wonder if s3 classes would have to be held in the library until we had raised more money.

Thankfully, once again, people have helped us. We have had a few successful grant applications and generous donations. We have had people raising money for us. On behalf of the students (and future students) of Bright Futures Secondary School we thank everyone so very much. We are pleased to report that we have enough money for the next classroom block. The decision was taken to build classrooms 3 and 4 together as this was more cost effective. Classroom 4 will be able to be used for meetings, study and also sewing classes this year until it is needed for teaching an s4 class next year. It seemed like an impossible task a few weeks ago but it is happening for the students!

What we do still need, as we have to employ more teachers for the extra class, is more accommodation for the teachers. We also need to build more latrines and buy more textbooks. We can do this but need your continued help and support. Together we are making a difference and changing lives and giving these vulnerable young people the chance of a brighter future. They deserve investment in their education as this is their way out of the extreme poverty in which they are living. Education will have and impact on them, their families and their whole community. Will you help us again please? is our fundraiser where you can donate to help us provide staff accommodation in order to attract good teachers. We also need to build another latrine block for the students.

Could you help us by sponsoring a vulnerable student for £25 p/m? Students receive school uniform and other clothes, a free school lunch each day and all the equipment they need for school.

Or could you commit to £5 or £10 p/m towards a nutritious school lunch each day for all the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. For many, this is their only meal of the day. Let’s build a school!

Here is a photo dump and videos to show how hard the builders have been working over the past few weeks to ensure that the fantastic s2 pupils who all passed their exams have a classroom to continue their secondary education. There will also be a new class of needy children who have just left primary school to come to Bright Futures Secondary School, as well as last year’s s1 class moving up to s2. What has been achieved is fantastic and it’s thanks to your support and teamwork. Thank you, Sarah x

From November 22: Reviewing the first week of Bright Futures Secondary School

*Win a signed Scotland Rugby Shirt*

Please support grassroots rugby in rural northern Malawi. £5 to have a chance to win a signed Scotland Rugby Shirt.


Sarah’s blog 21/8/23

It’s just over a month until Jack Maphande, Malawi Rugby Development Officer, returns to Chitipa for a second visit. Jack introduced rugby to the far north of Malawi on his first visit. He spent time with the older orphans and they loved it and picked up the skills quite quickly.

There is great excitement as Jack is visiting for two weeks. He is going to be working with the primary schools in the cluster; coaching and then having tournaments between the schools. In the middle weekend he will be spending time again with the orphans and vulnerable young people that we help to support.

We are grateful that lots of rugby kit and rugby balls have been donated and sent to be shared out amongst the schools and we are delighted that Jack has been able to set aside two weeks to visit which will benefit so many young people. We are so pleased that young people will be having the opportunity to learn a new sport, new skills and have fun with their friends. They will get to be children for a while and forget all the daily challenges in their lives.

As well as Jack’s expenses for public transport from Lilongwe and some accommodation and food for the days he isn’t staying at the foundation, we need to provide the children with food on the days that they are playing rugby. No organisations are feeding children in primary schools in this area, so these children are hungry and many are malnourished. We cannot expect them to play rugby and concentrate if they are hungry and have no energy. So we are looking for your help with providing money to buy food.

Scottish Rugby Union have been extremely generous to us. They have donated kit and some Scotland Shirts. They have now also given us two Scotland shirts signed by the Scotland Rugby Team. We are going to raffle these shirts to provide food for the children at this rugby event. Tickets are £5 each and you can purchase a ticket by donating to our fundraiser. and make sure you write your name so you can be entered into the draw. Thank you in advance for your continued support, Sarah x

Lots of hard work!

lots of hard work being done to ensure the bricks are fired and the foundations are laid for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School.


Sarah’s blog 13/8/23

Here are some photos and videos of the work progressing on phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School. The builders have worked so hard to lay the foundations for the next classrooms. There is no machinery. Everything has to be done by hand. They have now started pouring the cement to fill the foundations….this will take a few days to do….here a cement mixer lorry would be able to do this job easily.

Bricks have been made by hand and have been drying. They now need to be baked in kilns. The bricks are being stacked, leaving holes underneath where fires will be set after the kiln structure is covered in mud. The fires will burn all night and then it will take up to two weeks for the bricks to be cool enough to use.

A large amount of wood is being gathered to ensure the fires are kept alight. Unfortunately, where the wood is being gathered, the terrain is not suitable for the truck, so oxen have had to be hired to help transport the wood. Nothing is straightforward and is extremely labour intensive with everyone working as a team.

As the classrooms are built in a block of two, the foundations are being prepared for classrooms 3 and 4. However, as funds are limited we are potentially just building classroom 3 and completing classroom 4 at a later date. Planning is difficult when we are so dependant on the generosity of people supporting us and, therefore, supporting the orphans & vulnerable teenagers in Malawi.

If you are able, please give to our fundraiser to ensure that education continues for the next class of teenagers wanting to start at Bright Futures Secondary School next month. These are some of the most vulnerable teenagers in Malawi, living in extreme poverty. Education is their best way out of such poverty, giving them choices and chances for a brighter future. Enjoy the photos and videos and please support this project if you can. As we are volunteers, all money donated goes to the projects we support, so you can be sure you will be making a difference and helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks, Sarah x

Bright Futures SS – Phase 2 -Foundations

Brick Making Videos

More bricks!

so many bricks for classroom 3


Sarah’s blog 16/7/23

These are great photos that Levison has sent. Thousands of bricks are being made for classroom 3 of Bright Futures Secondary School. Also, hopefully, a toilet block and staff bedrooms if we raise enough money.

Students are excited seeing the bricks being made as they now believe an s3 classroom will be built to ensure their education continues. They had been worried they wouldn’t be able to progress to S3. So thankfully there has been enough money raised for classroom 3 – thank you to everyone who has helped make this happen. We couldn’t help these vulnerable teenagers without your support.

Now the students need your help with providing a new toilet block please. Due to the extra numbers of students who will be starting school in September, the latrine blocks aren’t enough for the number of students. Also, as the other latrines are used by the nursery children too (with an adult waiting outside) it will be far better to have separate facilities for the different age groups.

200 people donating just £10 each will provide a new toilet block for Bright Futures Secondary School. Since yesterday’s post, 5 people have donated for which we are very thankful. So that’s £60 since yesterday’s post. Please can more people donate today?

Every child deserves toilets which provide safety, privacy, dignity and good hygiene. Please help us ensure that happens for the orphans and other vulnerable students at Bright Futures Secondary School.

Thank you for your continuous support. We are all a team, each doing our little bit to help some of the poorest children and young people in rural Northern Malawi. We need you on our team of supporters please.

Thanks for reading & supporting, Sarah x

Update – Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 2

Update – Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 2 We really need your help to have phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School ready for the next intake of students. Please help?


Sarah’s blog 15/07/23

Thousands of bricks are being made for classroom 3 of Bright Futures Secondary School. Classroom 3 needs to be completed and ready for the new term starting in September 2023. Land is starting to be prepared today. Foundations will be done for classrooms 3 and 4 but, currently, we only have enough funds for classroom 3. As long as classroom 3 is built then classroom 4 can be completed at a later date. Thank you so much to The Inverclyde Trust for their generous donation of £4,000 towards phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School.

We also need funds for latrines and more teachers’ accommodation, so need to raise approximately £10,000 for these to ensure there are enough toilet facilities for the extra intake of new students and also accommodation for the extra teachers that need to be employed.

Will you help us to ensure this happens please? Can your company help sponsor this? Your name can be painted on a building. Can you donate £500 or more and you can have your name (or someone else’s name) above the classroom door? or above the doors of the teachers’ accommodation? or how would you like to sponsor a toilet? £10 x 200 people will pay for a toilet block…. will you donate £10 or more towards new toilets? Privacy, safety, dignity and hygiene are priceless and something every teenager deserves….especially the girls need to have safe, adequate toilet facilities. Will you help us help them? We cannot do this on our own. We always say it takes teamwork. Will you be part of our team? Can you spare a few £££? Please? If enough people will help then we will reach our target. The students need us.

During the first year of opening it was decided that there would only be very vulnerable students who wouldn’t have to pay school fees, or for uniform, school supplies or school lunches. The majority of places at Bright Futures Secondary School will still be for these vulnerable students. However, from September 2023 there will be ten places in each year group for fee paying day students which will help towards expenses at the school. These fees still won’t be as much as other schools charge but will provide an option for those who can afford to pay to send their children to Bright Futures Secondary School if it is nearer than the other secondary schools. Bright Futures Secondary School has smaller class sizes than other secondary schools and offers computer lessons and encourages practical agricultural classes in addition to the core curriculum subjects.

Please help us to provide a brighter future for up to 120 of the most vulnerable teenagers (3 classes x 40 students). These teenagers receive a substantial and nutritious school lunch each day which is their only proper meal of the day. School lunches are helping them concentrate in school and supporting their overall development. This is a big commitment we have made to these students but they need people to believe in them. They need people to give them choices and chances. They need opportunities to thrive and to shine. Will you help us continue Changing Lives Malawi? Please email me on if you’d like more information or you would like to help with ensuring Bright Futures Secondary School is ready to welcome more students and teachers in September. The link to our fundraiser is these vulnerable teenagers really do need your help. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Bright Futures Secondary School – We are Changing Lives Malawi

some of the vulnerable students at Bright Futures Secondary School with their solar lamps enabling them to see to study at home as it is dark year round at 6pm in Malawi. (solar lamps were bought with money donated by The Souter Charitable Trust)

students at Bright Futures Secondary School planting sweet potato vines

This rugby kit was kindly donated by Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh – students are outside the first classroom block – classrooms 1 & 2

68 baby chicks!

great news – 68 chicks have hatched!


Sarah’s blog 14/07/23

A while ago, Lochlie Construction generously donated money for an incubator to be bought.

Electricity has been so sporadic that it meant the incubator wasn’t able to be kept at the proper temperature so eggs didn’t hatch.

The incubator was linked up to the solar power kit that we sent on the last container and we thought that there would soon be lots of chicks hatching. Nothing is ever straightforward though. A few batches of fertilized eggs were bought but Levison ended up asking for a refund as none of these hatched.

So last month a few eggs were gathered each day until 103 had been placed in the incubator. Thankfully, 68 of those have hatched. They need to be kept warm until they have grown a bit bigger and, hopefully, they will all survive.

This is such amazing news and far bigger than just 68 chicks successfully hatching. Here are some of the reasons we are all so excited about this good news story;

  1. more eggs can be hatched each month in the incubator
  2. some of the chicks can be sold as a regular income for the Foundation
  3. some chicks will be kept to increase the amount of ‘chooks’ in the Foundation flock.
  4. The Foundation flock will, when big enough, be able to provide eggs for sale bringing in extra income. Eggs and (occasionally) chicken will be able to supplement The Feeding Programme.
  5. Hopefully, there will be employment opportunities created once the number of chooks increases.
  6. There is a possibility that vulnerable families could be given a couple of chooks, meaning they would have their own eggs helping them to feed their families.

So this is just the start and we need to keep our fingers crossed that these chicks survive and the next batch are successfully hatched in the incubator too. This is one of the ways that The Foundation will start to become self-sufficient. They are proud and clever people. They don’t want handouts. They just need helping hands just now as things are so difficult and malnutrition is rife. Let’s hope this is the start of a brighter future.

This chicken project is going to take a long time before it starts making a difference. The feeding programme is providing 500+ hungry orphans with a substantial meal once a week. Some children are walking from up to 20km away. No one is feeding children in schools in this area. We need your help to help us continue the feeding programme as prices continue to rise. Can you commit to £5 or £10 per month please? Our bank details are Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, A/C 21081462, S/C 80-22-60 and use the reference ‘feeding’ please. Your help WILL make a difference to hungry, malnourished children. Thank you for your continued support, Sarah x

Appeal for help to feed 500 vulnerable, malnourished children

Please help the Kasonda children

What a lot of hats!

lots and lots of hats!


Sarah’s blog 10/07/23

Yesterday, 72 children were given a hat each. A few of these were sun hats but most were knitted hats that had generously been knitted by talented supporters. All children were given food and also a pencil.

At this time of year it is cold at night and in the early mornings. These vulnerable children live in brick or mud houses that aren’t watertight and are full of draughts. They don’t have comfortable beds with duvets and pillows. If they are lucky, they have a reed mat and a thin blanket. There is obviously no heating so a hat will help to keep them warm.

Hats are given out regularly, as talented people knit for us, and if children haven’t received one this time then they will next time. My auntie Margaret is one of the people who are generous with their time and talents. She is staying with my parents this week and yesterday showed me her latest creations for the children we help to support…..she has knitted 150 hats….each one is different. Thanks to Auntie Margaret and all the other knitters. Children love receiving gifts and these will make a real difference in helping to keep them warm.

We are also grateful for knitted baby blankets, baby cardigans & hats and knitted teddies. Thanks for reading & supporting, Sarah x

Please help the Kasonda children

Please help the Kasonda children

please read about this family who really do need our help


Sarah’s blog 09/07/23

Sometimes when Levison sends me photos they make me happy when I see the children and young people smiling, having fun, achieving and benefiting from learning new skills to enable them to have a better future.

At the end, it’s not about what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.

Denzil Washington

Other times, like today, when I look at photos I am sad and I am upset. I’m also angry that we don’t have a magic wand to be able to help everyone more than we are. Let me tell you about the Kasonda family.

Mum and dad are, in Levison’s words, peasant farmers. They are very poor and neither of them is in the best of health. Levison and team have been helping clothe the children and the older ones come to the feeding programme. Their home is 5km away and today Logical Kasonda (age 9) and her brother Kumbukani Kasonda (age 11) each carried their one year old twin sisters, Selida and Queen, the 5km to the Foundation, fed the twins before themselves, and carried them the 5km home again.

My heart is breaking for these children (and the many, many more like them). As you can see, Logical and Kumbukani are both in p3. This means that Kumbukani has missed 4 years of school to work to try to bring in a pittance to help his parents, and Logical has missed 2 years of school for the same reason. NO BIG CHARITIES ARE FEEDING CHILDREN IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN THE FAR NORTH OF MALAWI. We send enough money for the feeding programme to feed 500 children once a week. This is the biggest meal they have each week. Some children walk up to 20km for this food and then 20km home again.

Crops are being grown at the Foundation but it’s nowhere near enough to feed all the children. We have 80+ of the most vulnerable children matched with sponsors. This costs £25 per month. This helps pay towards school lunches for the older sponsored children at Bright Futures Secondary School and the younger sponsored children receive a food parcel at their home each month. All children receive clothes, school supplies and a meal at the weekly feeding programme.

As The Foundation that we are helping to support is in a very rural location, we are trying to do everything. We need people (and other charities to partner with us). Please help?

Why should Kumbukani and Logical each carry a one year old sibling 5km for food and 5km back again? Why should they only get one decent, nutritious meal a week? How can we expect Kumbukani and Logical to be able to learn at school with sore, empty tummies? How are the twins expected to grow properly and not be stunted and suffer from malnutrition by only having one proper meal each weekend?

These children deserve food, clean water, safety, warmth, clothing, rest, education, play etc etc just like our children. These children have names; Kumbukani, Logical, Queen and Selida. These children need sponsors. Can you please sponsor one of them for £25 p/m? you can share that cost with a friend. Or why not help us run the feeding programme more often than once a week by committing to £5 or £10 p/m? Our bank account details are Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, S/C 80-22-60, A/C 21081462. Or could you make a one off donation? Just put ‘feeding’ as your reference please.

My heart is with these vulnerable children and I know that together we CAN make a difference. Together we can give these children brighter futures. Together we CAN continue Changing Lives Malawi. Please get in touch today. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Appeal for help to feed 500 vulnerable, malnourished children

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