The school has been built!

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Sarah’s blog 29/10/22

Wow! The building of phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School is complete. Thank you to each of you who have helped and supported us and the team in Malawi. It’s an amazing achievement and so exciting.

At times we thought this dream was just too big and that we were going to have to wait until next year for it to be a reality. However, the fact that there aren’t enough places in the nearest secondary schools spurred us on. Even though children were passing their primary school leavers exams, if they didn’t get picked for a place at secondary school then they couldn’t go. Education is the way out of poverty for these children and a chance of a brighter future. We had to keep going. So here is an update on where we are with the project.

phase 1 – Two classrooms have been built. The steps and ramp will be started now the actual building is finished. Some teachers’ accommodation has been built. Due to the very rural location this is a necessity. A latrine block for adults will be completed in the next few days. The school is called Bright Futures Secondary School, in memory of a special lady and the school will offer the most vulnerable teenagers a brighter future.

The class sizes will be far smaller than other secondary schools, 45 children per class maximum. In other schools it can be up to 90. There will be a full class of S1 and S2 students. Until we are able to raise more funds for more classrooms the S3 students will be using the library as their learning space or alternating with the other classes when they are accessing the library.

We are by no means finished and must raise more funds to ensure Bright Futures Secondary School is a success. We had a generous grant from The Souter Charitable Trust for £3,250 which was for textbooks. However, we do still need to spend approximately £1,000 on more textbooks. Unfortunately, because of the poverty in Malawi there are never second-hand textbooks for sale so we will have to buy new ones. With your help we can do this. https://gofund.me/44a92444

130 chairs and 8 tables are on the container that will arrive within the next month. We need your help with building desks. There are school jumpers, school bags, filled pencil cases, dictionaries, small windup torches, and other supplies for the students who will be starting at Bright Futures Secondary School. We will need to buy notebooks for the students too. We also need to provide a snack for each student to ensure that everyone has eaten something every day. Teachers are being interviewed and it won’t be long before the school doors are open for learning to begin! Bright Futures and Changing Lives! https://gofund.me/44a92444

All of this would not be possible without the wonderful support we’ve had. Thank you to each and every one of you who has contributed. Going forward, in years to come, thousands of children will benefit from this new school project and benefit from your help. So, on behalf of each and every one of them a HUGE THANK YOU. You have made a difference.

phase 2 – we are fundraising for the next phase of the school already so please do donate if you can. We intend to add; two new classrooms, two new latrine blocks, and a staffroom in phase 2. Each classroom in phase 1 build has cost £10,000 so we have another big challenge ahead. With your help we can continue changing lives.

phase 3 and 4 – this involves more classrooms, dedicated computer and science classrooms and hopefully dormitories for the most vulnerable who have nowhere else to stay or live too far away.

Kilometre Challenge – We are trying to race against the container ship that is on it’s way to Malawi with our boxes. I’ll find out the exact location for an update tomorrow. We are asking people to add their kilometres to our total…you don’t need to be sponsored….just get in touch and tell us how many kilometres you’ve been walking to and from school, walking the dog, cycling, or running…whatever it is that you’ve been doing everyday….take an average and let us know and we will add it to our total. We have now collectively completed 6,612.701 kilometres which works out at 50.31% Woohoo!!! We’ve reached the halfway mark!! Very well done everyone. Email me please with your kilometres and I’ll do another post about this challenge tomorrow. It would be fantastic to have more kilometres to add to the total before then! contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Thank you again to each of you. Thank you for being on this journey with us. Thank you for trusting us. Now we need to keep going to ensure that the school keeps growing. https://gofund.me/44a92444 to donate and make a big difference to the lives of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

Here are more photos of the school build and it won’t be long until we are showing photos of the students and teachers! Every donation of £500 or over will be able to name a classroom, every donation of £100 or over will be able to have their name on a wall. If you’d like to make a corporate donation or donate in memory of a loved one, then please do get in touch. Or why not give a Christmas Gift to your family of having a name written on the wall or a classroom named after them? Enjoy the photos, Sarah x

Bright Futures Secondary School

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Sarah’s blog 26/6/22

Exciting times! Levison and his trustees have named the new school Bright Futures Secondary School! An excellent name as this new school will make hundreds, if not thousands, of children’s lives brighter and give them hope for the future.

Levison says that having a name for the school before even the first brick has been laid is important and the way things are done ahead of meetings with officials.

I’m very excited by this project but also slightly anxious as it’s my job, and our charity’s job, to raise the funds for this project as The Foundation has no funds of it’s own for such projects. Obviously, in time they will be self-sufficient and building a school is certainly providing employment opportunities for clearing ground and making bricks… and that’s just to start with.

Clearing the ground

Thank you to everyone who has given generously already but if you can donate a few ££££ please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details or my fundraiser is still open https://GoFund.me/ca9c1629 thanks so much for helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi and providing Brighter Futures through Brighter Futures Secondary School, Sarah x

Clearing the ground
Breaking up the ground to make bricks
Bricks being made and left to dry
Bricks are being made at two sites..at the Foundation and at a site about 1km away
Adding lots of water to the soil

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 5

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Sarah’s blog 5/5/22

8.30am Good morning! I was wide awake at bedtime and struggled to get to sleep but once I was asleep I slept well. So that’s a positive to start off with! I’m feeling hungry this morning but I’ve got a zoom meeting at 9.30am so will wait until after that before having anything to eat.

I can’t believe I’m at day 5 already. Hopefully, this will become more like a habit as time goes on and I won’t be having to think about what to eat and when or having to remember when to go on the exercise bike. I am so grateful for the generous donations towards building the school so far. The fundraiser is sitting at £750 already! I really hope that we can raise a much bigger amount as I’d love to be able to say that we’ve raised enough money for a classroom block or at least one classroom. We will need to get proper quotes from the builders but we estimate that a classroom will cost £4,000 to build. Once we have raised enough money to make it possible, plans will be drawn up, with the builders, to see what the possibilities are and how much it will cost. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

It would be wonderful to be able to start off with a block of 3 classrooms for next years S1 pupils, accommodation for their teachers if needed, 2 dormitories, a kitchen and a toilet block. Thankfully, clean water and a shower block and a library are already there. It’s certainly a challenge but we can do this! The children need us to help them.

Once the school was built for the S1 pupils, we would continue raising funds and applying for grants if possible, so that each year the school would be added to until all four years were completed. It’s a huge project but one that is key to the successful education of hundreds of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. Building a school will provide jobs whilst the school is being built, employment for teachers and other staff and most of all, the gift of a good education for all. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

We will need people to fundraise for us, to take on challenges, to raise awareness, to pay for some bricks or a roof panel or your company could sponsor a classroom. I always say it’s teamwork because we are a team. Each of us has an important part to play in helping to make lives better for the children we support. We can’t change their lives without you.

20.30pm Wow, my day suddenly got really busy so I only managed to get round to my 10km an hour ago….but I did it! I had a bowl of rice and a few mixed beans at lunchtime, some celery mid afternoon and I’ve just finished a salad. It will be a bit harder tomorrow when there is takeaway pizza about. However, I couldn’t have any because I’m gluten intolerant so at least I won’t be tempted.

Please, please, please help me help the children have a good education and the chance of a better future. Thanks for reading, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

That’s 50km completed so far!!

Fundraising challenge to build a school

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Sarah’s blog 20/04/22

Every now and again a mad idea pops into my head. This mad idea keeps popping into my head so I’m going to go with it. I am slightly concerned with this idea. As I’ve said previously, there are not enough secondary school places. We need to build a school for all children to be able to access the education they deserve.

Back in February, I was going to set myself a challenge to get fitter. However, it was too soon after my surgery to have a kidney tumour at the end of November. I’m feeling stronger now, so am going to try my very best with this challenge.

For the thirty one days of May I will highlight the plight of the hundreds of malnourished orphans and other vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. I will do a challenge each day for those 31 days. Secondary school pupils have to board as it’s too far to walk (over 20km away) and primary school pupils walk approximately 5km to school and 5km back home, some not having eaten at all that day.

At the Feeding Programme, once a week, 500 malnourished children are fed a substantial and nutritious meal. There are no big agencies feeding children in this area. We currently cannot afford to feed them more often. However, teachers are noticing that the children can concentrate better even from this one meal a week and their grades have improved.

Now for the crazy idea! During May, for the 31 days of May, I will cycle 10km on my exercise bike each day. This represent the walk to and from school for the primary school children. Due to mobility problems, I cannot walk far but I can cycle on my exercise bike (usually only 5km at a time). Each day, I will only eat one bowl of vegetables/salad and one bowl of rice (instead of maize flour). This represents the small amount of food the children have. Even so, I am very aware that although I will be eating that each day, this is the children’s biggest meal of the week. Some days many children may go without food at altogether.

So please sponsor me to cycle 10km each day in May and only eat one bowl of rice and one bowl of veg each day in May. Let’s build a school! I have a fundraiser link https://gofund.me/bd6578d7 or you can text SCHOOL to 70560 to donate or email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details.

If you would like to join in the challenge during May then please get in touch. Or could your children do a sponsored book read? Read one book a day every day in May? There are lots of ways you can help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Juliet Ng’ambi asking for a school

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Sarah’s blog 13/4/22

A few young people were at The Foundation yesterday. Levison took videos of Laston (yesterday’s post) and Juliet Ng’ambi appealing for a school in their village. Juliet is also in p8 and is worried that, even if she passes her exams, she won’t be picked for a place in secondary school in January as there aren’t enough places.

I’m confident that by growing our team of supporters we can make this a reality and help hundreds of vulnerable children out of poverty through education.

We need your help. I need your help please. Can you organise a coffee morning where you live? Or an event with your friends? Do your teenagers need volunteering opportunities and could help us with a sponsored event? Are you experienced at applying for grants? Can we come and speak at your club or church? I would love to hear your ideas of how you can help the children have a school in their village…so they can all go to school and be the best they can be.

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to chat about how you can help or for bank details to make a donation. Or you can donate via this website or by texting SCHOOL to 70560 . I know we can do this together to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

When the first few picture books arrived at The Foundation

Juliet Ng’ambi asks for a secondary school in her village so there are enough places for all children

Constructing a Maize Silo

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Sarah’s blog 19/11/21

Tony and Maxwell, who are welders, have been at The Foundation for three days constructing a maize silo. Maize varies in price throughout the year and can double in price when it gets scarce. As you might expect, The Foundation goes through a great deal of maize to feed so many orphans & other vulnerable children. The feeding programme runs once a week and feeds approximately 500 children each week. The Foundation does grow it’s own crop of maize, very successfully, but it’s nowhere near enough for what is needed.

Thanks again to the generosity of Welding Engineers, who also contributed to the Eco Stoves project. This has been a great opportunity for the apprentices to help and learn about construction and welding. Some of the young people who have left primary school were also interested in watching them work. Hopefully, as funds allow, some more silos can be made to purchase and store maize at it’s cheapest. The silo will also protect the maize from being eaten by bugs. Enjoy the photos of three busy days of learning at The Foundation. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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