Team Mackay made the news!

Sarah’s blog 10/09/22

Because of the news that our Queen Elizabeth 11 had passed away on Thursday afternoon, we decided not to post anything yesterday. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this sad and difficult time.

We are very grateful to The Stirling Observer for featuring Team Mackay in yesterday’s edition of the newspaper. Team Mackay aka Jackie, Ewan, Ben and Adam are some of our supporters who have been working hard collecting kilometres for us in our effort to raise awareness and money for the new school we are building in rural Northern Malawi. https://gofund.me/44a92444

‘It is especially vital to support the charity as they are about to make a significant breakthrough. Changing Lives Malawi is supporting building a secondary school called Bright Futures Secondary School at Ibuluma, a four/five-year project – initially building two classrooms, extra latrines and teachers’ accommodation to allow education to start this October. There is already a library and other facilities at the Foundation. Then additional classrooms would be built over the further three/four years for the subsequent intakes of pupils until the full four years of education were available at the school’.

Jackie Mackay

We are following one of the routes that the boxes take from here to Malawi which is over 13,000km and have been asking people to take part and donate their kilometres to us whether it is from walking the dog, walking round the shops or on the running or rowing machine at the gym…it all counts so please do get in touch and donate your kilometres to help us on our journey. As the saying goes….every little helps!! Over 30% of the journey has been completed already which is brilliant! You can read my blogs on the website to see what people have been doing to add to the total kilometres.

Please donate a few £££ to show your support and to help us build the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. Without this school so many of the most vulnerable young people supported by The Foundation will not have a secondary education. Only primary education is free in Malawi. Education is the way out of extreme poverty for these young people and they are desperate to go to school. Can you spare a few £££ to help us give the gift of education? Here is the link to donate: https://gofund.me/44a92444 or you can get in touch for the charity bank details contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Any amount will make a difference to our total so please, please help us.

Here is the link to the press release: Malawi Release[11125].docx

To take part here is the link: https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 or you can email your kilometres too. Let’s build this school!!

We are very grateful to all those who have donated so far. If you donate £500 or over then you can name a room, £100 or over means your name or that of a loved one will go on the supporter’s wall. You can help us build this school. We can’t do it without you….it’s always about teamwork. Can you be part of our team? Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The wonderful Team Mackay. l-r Ben, Adam, Jackie and Ewan have been collecting kilometres to raise funds for Bright Futures Secondary School
Team Mackay ;Ben, Adam, Jackie and Ewan, with their bikes, have been collecting kilometres to help us build a school
Jackie and her eldest son Ben

Walking, cycling, running or scooting?

Sarah’s blog 9/8/22

We still have a very long way to go on the challenge to travel the same distance the boxes go on one of the shipping routes. It’s over 13,000km from central Scotland to The Foundation in rural Northern Malawi. We are raising funds for a much needed secondary school. https://gofund.me/44a92444

Currently there are not enough places in the nearest secondary schools and they are too far away to walk to so young people have to board. Young people don’t get to go to secondary school unless they’ve passed their primary school leavers exams and they don’t get to go to secondary school unless they can pay the fees. Because there are not enough places, if you don’t get picked for a place at secondary school, despite passing your exams and having the fees, then unfortunately you don’t get to attend secondary school which is heart breaking for the children who are trying their best to achieve against the odds. That is what happened to 11 of our sponsored children.

We need to build this school to ensure that education is available to all young people. They shouldn’t miss out just because of where they were born and family circumstances. The children are desperate for an education as they know that this is their way out of poverty and a way to a brighter future.

We need your help. We know this is a huge challenge but we can do it as part of a team. We need more people to join in by donating your kilometres. Whether you are walking the dog, doing the shopping, out for a run….whatever you are doing…you can donate your kilometres to us towards our total journey. Here is the form to join in https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 or you can email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .

Unfortunately, we cannot wave a magic wand and the school will appear. It is taking a lot of hard work and requires a lot of money. Costs are rising in Malawi and the currency has been devalued so things aren’t as cheap as you might think. Each classroom is costing approximately £7,000 and we are hoping to start with a block of 4 classrooms and a latrine block. Then build more year on year including a science lab, IT room and teachers accommodation. We are committed to the 500+ children who are supported by The Foundation and we want the best for them. Please help us?

If you know someone who might donate to help build the school then please do tell them. We have been very lucky to have had a few generous donations already. If anyone donates £500 or more then they can name a classroom. We need lots of small donations too! So can you give a few £££ today? https://gofund.me/44a92444

Bright Futures Secondary School is for all children to have a brighter future. They need a team to help them achieve this. Can you be part of the team to help build the school? Whether you can give us £5 or £50 or more….please give what you can and share our posts. The more people who can give then the quicker the children and young people can go to secondary school in their village.

A father and son team joined the kilometre challenge yesterday. They each did 4km, one walking and one scooting. I’m not sure that the dog’s kilometres should be counted…I wonder how many she did? Thanks for adding your kilometres to our total! To show your support for them and other team members doing our challenge you can give here https://gofund.me/44a92444

one boy and his dog

Jackie had done another great cycle at the weekend 19km….well done! She also told me that 20.17% of the journey has been completed now – 2,331.755km in the UK and 320km in Malawi = 2,651.755km. That’s brilliant but we need more people joining in and donating their kilometres and others donating money to show your support for the team! Where do you live? Can we get kilometres from all around the world? Join in an tell us where your kilometres are from! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 https://gofund.me/44a92444

Well done Jackie!

How many kilometres now?

Sarah’s blog 31/7/22

Wow, how did we get to the end of July already? It’s certainly been a busy month!

Just thought I’d do a quick post with an update as to how many kilometres have been travelled so far on our journey to help build a secondary school for some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. We are following one of the routes that the boxes of aid travel between my house and until they arrive at their destination. That’s over 13,000km!

We have several people working hard and adding their kilometres from walking, cycling and running…however, we need more people taking part…we need you! Do you walk round the supermarket? Do you walk the dog? Or take your children or grandchildren to the park? All of those kilometres count! Can you attach a pedometer to the children whilst they are doing football training or playing with their friends? Every kilometre will help us help the children. Please get involved.

Jackie has just updated the total and has completed a bike ride with her son, Ben, this afternoon…well done both of you!

So the UK kilometres are 1,652.655 and the Malawi kilometres are 320 so the total so far is 1,972.655 = 15.01%

This is brilliant but the more people we have taking part then the quicker the journey. Please take part. Please add your kilometres. Every kilometre counts.

The whole point of this journey is to raise funds to build a desperately needed secondary school which is going to be named Bright Futures Secondary School. Currently, there are not enough places in secondary schools in that area so if you don’t get chosen for a place then you don’t go. We want all children to have access to education. The children know that education is their way out of poverty…their way to a brighter future.

Here is the link to donate to help build Bright Futures Secondary School https://gofund.me/44a92444 and give the gift of education.

This is the link for all the information you need to take part in the challenge https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 We’d love you to join us! This is a huge challenge and we need your help. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Thank you Ben and Jackie… you can put your feet up this evening!

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!

Our website visitors

Sarah’s blog 24/7/22

Just a short post from me today as I’ve got an issue with my laptop that will hopefully be sorted by tomorrow. It’s times like this that I realise that technology isn’t my forte… but thank goodness for friends who can help.

Douglas & Lynda delivered another load of boxes to Dundee yesterday. Stuart & I spent a couple of hours yesterday packing boxes. The Bananabox Trust shed in Dundee will soon be full again and then they will book another container. It won’t be long until the current one arrives at it’s destination .

Hopefully, I’ll have an update on the kilometre challenge for you tomorrow with some photos too.

So I want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ again to everyone who supports us. We really do appreciate you.

I love this photo from The Foundation Christmas Party where younger children were all given a rain jacket, a pencil and a lolly. Smiles like this are so good to see.

Our website is having visitors from all over the world which is brilliant! This week some of the countries from which people have viewed our website are; Thailand, Spain, U.K., USA, UAE, Canada, Israel, China, Netherlands, Malawi, Ireland, Peru, Zimbabwe, Libya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Antigua and France.

You can keep up to date with the most recent news by signing up to receive my blog. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

More kilometres completed!

Sarah’s blog 13/7/22

As well as being good at cycling, Jackie is good at numbers so she is very kindly keeping a record of how many kilometres have been completed….however she does need people to record their km on our form https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 or if you aren’t able to do that then please message me so we can make sure your kilometres are counted contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

We need more people to join us as there are over 13,000km to cover. We are aiming to cover the distance from Balfron where the boxes of aid start from to The Foundation. One of the routes the container takes is from Dundee where the container gets loaded at The Bananabox Trust, then Grangemouth Docks, Antwerp all the way to Beira in Mosambique and through Malawi to Chitipa District where The Foundation is. So any kilometres you can add will be gratefully received….and we will be grateful for any sponsorship money too so we can help build a desperately needed school. To donate here is the link: https://gofund.me/44a92444

Jackie tells me that (including the 320km the children in Malawi completed in their run) 934.42kms have been completed so far…which equates to 7.11% of the total required. It’s a great start but we need more of you to join our team. Whether you are walking your dog, walking round the shops, running after your children or going for a jog…. get a pedometer or track your kilometres on your phone…. you can help us by just doing what you do each day!

Paul is on holiday and has recorded a lovely 5km walk on the beach. Who else is on holiday and having a stroll? Or are you in the gym and can add your cycle or running machine efforts to our total? Looking forward to hearing from you. Today’s photos are of Paul’s beach walk and Jackie’s bike ride with her eldest son Ben. Very well done all three of you! Thanks to all who are continuing to help raise funds to build a school. We really do make a great team! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

https://gofund.me/44a92444 https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

Ben and Jackie both cycled 23.51km

Paul’s late evening walk on the beach

Fundraiser – get involved – let’s build a school

Sarah’s blog 30/6/22

I’m not very technically minded but, thankfully, I know a few people who are. Very soon, we will be launching a fundraiser where anyone who wants to be involved; wherever you are in the world, whatever your ability or age….you CAN make a difference.

We are going on a very long journey, and you can join us, by whatever means you want. The more people who join in then the more sponsor money there will be and the quicker we can complete this challenge. We need to build a secondary school as there aren’t enough places currently. We need to raise more money in order to do this. We need your help and they children are relying on your help and our help. So will you join us?

You can walk, run, cycle, hop, skip or jump or use your visit to the gym to log miles on the running machine, exercise bike or rowing machine. Kids can join in, families, individuals, friends. There can be a competitive element between friends or a whole club could see how far they got in a night by adding their miles together. Please, please join us. We can’t do it without your help.

ALL CHILDREN DESERVE AN EDUCATION WHEREVER THEY ARE IN THE WORLD. Can you help us by raising a few £££ sponsorship money or sponsoring us? Let’s do this. As a team we can build a school and continue Changing Lives Malawi. Get in touch to register your interest and watch this space for more information. Thanks for reading, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

we need you to join our team
please help us raise funds for a school and have fun and set yourself a challenge!

Madalitso Ng’ambi has made a bike!

Sarah’s blog 15/6/22

I love this photo and these videos that Levison has sent. Madalitso, a 10 year old boy has worked hard to build himself a bike out of bits of scrap and old wheels that he’s found. Can you guess what the wheels were from? An old suitcase! He’s having such fun and is able to forget about his problems for a while. Well done Madalitso…this looks great fun and your bike is brilliant! Hope you enjoy the videos, Sarah x

Look at that smile! His hard work and skills have paid off…well done Madalitso!
Madalitso is having great fun on his homemade bike!

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Completed!

Sarah’s blog 1/6/22

Challenge Completed! Today feels quite strange. My challenge is over. I’ve completed what I set out to do. I have far exceeded what I thought I could do on my exercise bike so I am quite proud of myself. I intended to cycle 10km a day to represent some of the younger children walking 5km to school and 5km home again. I never thought that by the end of the month I would be able to cycle 31km! That was a challenge in itself but I was determined….for the children.

I have eaten rice and vegetables every day – raising awareness for what the children have at the Feeding Programme. (I’ve had rice instead of maize flour). I’ve been eating every day. Even then I have had to occasionally have an egg or two or a piece of fruit to supplement my diet. At times, I was so tired, had a bad headache and occasional nose bleed. Unfortunately, the feeding programme can only run once a week for approximately 500 children as, at the moment, we cannot afford more money for it to feed the children more often. No big agencies are feeding children in this area, so the responsibility lies with The Foundation with us supporting them financially. I had a choice to do this challenge. The children whom The Foundation supports have no choices.

I’ve lost 14lb in weight which I’m delighted about. I am looking forward to adding in more food groups and not being so strict about what I’m eating. However, I do still intend to keep cycling…. not 31km though! Maybe after a short rest, I will think up another challenge….or for a large donation maybe someone could suggest a cycling challenge for me on my exercise bike!

This challenge is over but I still have the big challenge of raising money to build a desperately needed school as there are not enough places in the nearest secondary school. If you don’t get picked for a place at secondary school then you don’t get to go. All children deserve an education. All children should have access to education. All the children supported by The Foundation know that education matters and that it is their way out of poverty. They know it is their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Please help me give the gift of education to hundreds of vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. Together we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. Let’s build a school! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading and your support, Sarah x

https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 please give generously to give the gift of education
Yay! I did it! 31 days of May Challenge Completed! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Let’s build a school!

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 30

Sarah’s blog 30/5/22

It’s been a busy day today. I started out by doing a blog about rugby and the great donations we’ve got from Annan Rugby and Merchiston Castle School. I also had a conversation with Jack Mphande, Malawian rugby coach, as he was impressed with these donations. He is planning another trip north to continue the rugby coaching that he’s already started.

Rice and mushrooms for breakfast….it was nice but I am getting rather fed up with my limited diet.

Stuart, my husband (the logistics manager aka box packer and mover) and myself spent a couple of hours at our storage container packing up boxes of donations. These will be taken to The Bananabox Trust warehouse in Dundee next week to await the next container to Malawi. We have only recently been lucky to have this storage facility, paid for by a generous monthly donation. Previously, all of these were kept in our house which was looking more like a warehouse every day! So we are very grateful to have this extra storage facility.

I had a glass of water when I got home then managed 20km on my exercise bike. It took over half an hour but it wasn’t too bad as I’m reading a good book on my tablet at the same time. My knees are sore now though.

More rice and vegetables and a tub of cherry tomatoes filled me up and I’m going to have roasted vegetables for dinner. I am so pleased to have made it to this stage of my challenge. Only one more day to go. I need your help to support me to get to the end of my challenge and to give the gift of education to the children whom The Foundation supports. All children deserve an education. All children deserve to go to school no matter where they are in the world or whatever their circumstances. Please help me to give these children the gift of education. Let’s build a school! https://gofundme/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading and supporting me, Sarah x

Lots of boxes packed today with clothes, shoes, school uniform and books. It costs £15 to send each box on Bananabox Container to Malawi so we are very grateful when people give donations to go towards the cost of sending the items they’ve given us.
The first lot of boxes just need labelling then will be ready to head to Dundee next week
CLM storage container where donations now go and boxes get packed

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

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.

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 23

Sarah’s blog 23/5/22

Today has been a better day…no nosebleeds or headaches 🙂

I went out for a drink with two good friends this morning. That’s the first time this month that I have been out to a cafe/restaurant. I had breakfast before I went so I was fine with just having a drink… that was good planning and good willpower and, of course, good company.

Also, I have just been on my exercise bike. I managed to do a 20km cycle today! Really pleased with that although I am wondering if I will be able to move tomorrow. 32 minutes, 20km and 460 calories! Glad I am nearing the end of the challenge but I will try to keep going with the cycling….as long as I am reading a good book on my tablet….otherwise it’s really boring!

So if you think I’m still doing a good job on my challenge to raise funds for a much needed school then please donate https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

Thanks for reading and supporting me and the children, Sarah x

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