The Sweet Potato Crop

The sweet potato crop is growing well.

Sarah’s blog 12/06/23

Food is scarce and more expensive. The maize crop hasn’t done well because at the Foundation they couldn’t afford to buy fertilizer. The Foundation is feeding 500+ vulnerable children once a week but obviously this isn’t enough. All are hungry. All are malnourished. No big charities are feeding children in primary schools in the far north of Malawi.

A donation bought sweet potato vines which students at Bright Futures Secondary School helped to plant at the start of April. Levison has sent me photos today and the crop is looking very healthy. The sweet potatoes will be ready at the end of July and will be used to feed the children. The fact that there are so many hungry children, even if this is a great harvest, it won’t last long.

We must find more people who are willing to make a monthly donation to support the feeding programme so that these vulnerable children can keep being fed. Ideally, we would like to feed them more often and we would also like to supply every family with sweet potato vines and other vegetables so that they can grow their own crops. Please email me if you would like to make a regular donation to the feeding programme or if you would like to contribute to buying sweet potato vines that can be shared with vulnerable families to help them become more self sufficient. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Sweet potato vines need deep ridges
The crop is looking healthy
Hopefully there will be a good harvest of sweet potatoes by the end of July
Some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School planting the sweet potato vines in April.

Agricultural Classes at Bright Futures Secondary School

Agriculture Classes at Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 10/05/23

Agricultural Classes are a core part of the curriculum in Malawi. The students at Bright Futures Secondary School are amongst the most vulnerable in Malawi and would not have been able to attend secondary school as this has to be paid for in Malawi. Bright Futures Secondary School is free of charge.

Today is the start of the primary school leavers. These are national exams and you cannot progress to secondary school if you have not passed these exams. But you can’t go anyway if you cannot pay – even if you have passed your primary school exams.

Because of the huge level of poverty, children and young people drop in and out of school to help their families/carers earn money for food. They earn a pittance for a full day’s work with no food or water. Laston (pictured in one of the photos) worked for a farmer looking after his cows for the equivalent of £1.50 per month. Thankfully, Laston now has a sponsor and is doing well at school. So students are probably 2 or 3 years older than expected becaus they have missed so much school. The older the student, the poorer their family. Most students in these photos are still needing a sponsor to support their education. This will help us pay the teachers salaries, provide uniform and the supplies they need for school and pay for breakfast and lunch each day. It’s £25 per month to sponsor a student. Can you help give one of these students a brighter future? Or you could split the cost with a friend and pay £12.50 p/m each. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Thanks to our supporters, phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School was completed and opened in November 22. Students (and teachers) have been working hard and will have exams in a few weeks time. We certainly aren’t expecting all students to pass their exams. We just expect them to do their best. We will obviously be delighted for those who are able to pass exams. These young people have been so malnourished and had such difficult lives that basic survival was all they could manage. Things are improving. Now all students will have a brighter future by being in school. Even if they do not excel in exams they are more literate. They will have better numeracy skills. They will also be learning skills for life. There will be far less teenage pregnancies and child marriages due to young people being in school and being fed in school even if their families cannot afford to feed them.

Self-sufficiency is the end goal for the community we are working with. However, no children in primary schools in the far north of Malawi are being fed by big agencies. All are malnourished and all are hungry. We support a Feeding Programme that feeds 500+ orphans a substantial meal once a week. We wish we could provide more money for food but we are also investing in their education. We would love you to commit to £5 or £10 per month to support the feeding programme as food is getting more and more expensive contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

The Agricultural students at Bright Futures Secondary School have already built a polytunnel using an old trampoline frame we sent. They have started growing vegetables. They have also planted a field of sweet potato vines to produce food to eat. Now, the teacher has set them the task of clearing an area of ground by their homes to plant some vegetables. More skills for life and, hopefully, food to share with their families. Also, if successful, they will have a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement and be more confident about their skills for a brighter future. The photos are just a few of the students. We will look forward to updates from the teacher.

If you’d like to sponsor a student, contribute to the feeding programme or donate towards phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School to build the next classrooms then please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or donate to the school fundraiser at https://gofund.me/ece5753a . Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Agriculture Lessons at Bright Futures Secondary School Reviewing the first week of Bright Futures Secondary School

Isa’s Orchard – the first fruits

Sarah’s blog 18/4/23

Sustainability and self-sufficiency for the community we are working with in rural Northern Malawi is always the end goal. So much is being achieved but there is still so much more to do.

Because no children are being fed in primary schools in that area, all children are malnourished. All children are hungry. No children and young people whom we help to support have enough to eat. We MUST ensure they get food NOW to help them begin to thrive whilst also ensuring that there is food for the future.

This is why we are asking for more people to join our feeding team. By committing to just £5 per month, you will help us feed 500 malnourished children and young people more than just once a week. They deserve our help. They deserve food. They deserve to thrive. They need us. Please will you help us help them? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Our bank details are: Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, Sort Code 80-22-60, Account Number 21605268. By donating £5 per month you WILL make a difference. You WILL help a child thrive. Please put ‘feeding’ as the reference.

It is a juggling act because we cannot spend all of the donations we receive on feeding the 500 orphans and other vulnerable children and young people. That just isn’t sustainable and there will be nothing to help the community be self-sufficient in the future. So whilst we are investing in this vulnerable community’s future, we need more help from our supporters to be able to provide enough food for the children now.

A couple of years ago, over 100 fruit tree saplings were bought and planted at The Foundation. The orchard was named after my lovely mother-in-law who had recently passed away. We made a personal donation towards buying some fruit tree saplings and lots more were bought by other people through an appeal. Unfortunately, the weather and also termites have killed some of the saplings. However, the majority are thriving and I was delighted with these photos that Levison sent me yesterday.

Amazingly the guava saplings are producing fruit now, even though the plants are still quite small. The orange and lemon saplings are doing well but have no fruit yet. Some more saplings are going to be planted soon. We would also love people to help pay for more saplings contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Our bank details are: Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, Sort Code 80-22-60, Account Number 21605268. £5 will buy two fruit tree saplings. Please put ‘saplings’ as the reference.

The hope is that this project will be sustainable for people and planet. Planting more trees is obviously vital for the planet and climate change. It will also help prevent against soil erosion in the heavy rains. Levison will send photos of the children eating the guavas when they are ready to be harvested in about a month’s time. In future years, especially if you help us plant more trees, there will be fruit for the children to eat and there will be extra fruit that will be able to be sold which will bring in an income for The Foundation. It’s really exciting to see the trees bearing fruit….may this be the first of many harvests supporting the 500 malnourished children.

I’ve put the links to previous posts about the fruit tree saplings and the orchard. I know Levison would like to also grow bananas in addition to the fruit trees in Isa’s Orchard. Who is driving you bananas that you would like to name a banana plantation after? Enjoy the photos of the first guava fruits and thank you for your support, Sarah x

In memory of a special lady – Changing Lives Malawi

Planting a Sustainable Future for People & Planet & also helping those affected by the recent hailstorm – Changing Lives Malawi

The first guava fruits are beginning to grow
The oranges and lemons are also growing well
Some young people planting and watering the saplings a couple of years ago
The fruit tree saplings when they were planted in Isa’s Orchard

Farming & Netball

Sarah’s blog 21/4/22

You would be forgiven for wondering why I’ve put those two words together in the heading of today’s blog. Not subjects that usually go together! And they don’t…the only thing they have in common is that Netball Club and Farming Club both took place this afternoon.

The children who have chosen to participate in these groups meet twice a week after school to learn new skills. The Farming Club look to be having great success with their carrots. They are allowed to take these ones home with them. Hope you enjoy looking at the photos from this afternoon. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

netball club
netball club
the farming club with their carrots
the farming club with their carrots
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