Building Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 25/09/22

It’s very exciting to see the work has started on the first phase of the new secondary school – Bright Futures Secondary School. This will be for the most vulnerable young people who would otherwise not go to secondary school.

Unfortunately, only primary education is free in Malawi. The nearest secondary schools are too far to travel daily so the students supported by The Foundation, and who have sponsors to pay their fees, have to board. These schools do not have enough places which is why Bright Futures Secondary School is much needed.

Everything we do is on a shoestring. We are a small charity, and we are achieving. However, there is still so much more to do. We are volunteers so you can be sure that all money that you give to our charity goes on projects. We do need your help to ensure that we can complete phase 1 of the school. We are building two classrooms and then more latrines. The staff accommodation block is almost finished but we do need more funding to complete the classrooms. Please help us? Please give the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Together we can make a difference. Together we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thank you for reading and supporting us. Sarah x

Traci has completed her challenge!

Sarah’s blog 1/9/22

I can’t believe it is the first of September already! That means Traci’s challenge has finished. She emailed her results last night so here are the results.

Traci had set herself a challenge to walk 500km during July and August. However, she realised that she could do some more and changed her target to walk 700km during July and August. She has been sending regular updates and some great photos and I am in awe of how determined she has been to reach her goal. In fact, she has exceeded her goal by 10km. You are amazing Traci! Very well done!

All Traci’s kilometres have been added to the total that Jackie is keeping for us. As of today, 3,625.615km have been completed in UK plus 320km that the kids in Malawi clocked up in their run gives a total of 3,945.615km. This means we have travelled 30% of our journey now! Well done everyone!

We need more people to ‘donate’ their kilometres from their walks, runs or cycles to add them to our total. Whether you are just taking the dog for a walk or doing the shopping…every little helps…so please do tell us and we will add your kilometres to our total. It’s all about teamwork and we need you on our team.

We are covering the equivalent kilometres of one of the routes that the boxes take that we send from Scotland to Malawi. The aim of this challenge is to raise money and awareness to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi. Please donate if you can to help us give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable young people in northern Malawi.

Here is the link to donate https://gofund.me/44a92444 to show your support for Traci’s brilliant achievement and to give the gift of education. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Traci says “Well, thank goodness I was well ahead of the game before succumbing to Covid – I have been totally floored by it for the last 6 days and barely managed a lap of the garden. But I’m pleased to say I have still exceeded by target of walking 700km by the end of August. If you are able, donations for the wonderful work of Changing Lives Malawi to build a school would be most gratefully appreciated via https://gofund.me/44a92444

Very well done Traci! Amazing achievement!

Bright Futures Secondary School – Let’s build this school

Sarah’s blog 30/08/22

It’s time for an exciting update on Bright Futures Secondary School. Lot’s of hard work has been going on here and, of course, in Malawi to try to make this a reality for some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi who would otherwise miss out on secondary education.

It’s so difficult when trying to manage everything on a shoestring and costs are rising. However, where there is a will there is a way. This school is desperately needed and, therefore, it will happen.

Because of the rural location, accommodation is needed for teachers. The first block of teachers accommodation is almost complete and the work on the foundations for the first two classrooms of Bright Futures Secondary School is about to be begin. This is just the start….we have so much more to do. We need you on our team to help these vulnerable young people out of poverty and to a brighter future.

All the bricks that have been made have been dried and stacked into kilns and the first of the kilns was fired. It was covered in mud and a fire lit in each gap. One person was responsible for each fire, ensuring their fire burned brightly all through the night. The kiln will now be left for over a week to cool down again, the mud will be removed and the bricks will be ready to use.

We really do need your help to ensure that education is available to all these vulnerable young people. Education is their way out of poverty. To make a donation here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education…it might be one of the most important gifts you every give a vulnerable child. To get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

100 x £100

Sarah’s blog 24/08/22

Firstly I want to share with you something one of our sponsors has written;

“We sponsor a student through this charity. In a world where some are born into families with many opportunities and benefits and others are born where opportunities are scarce and life is more challenging, it is essential we notice, commit, care and seek to share what we have been given so others can dream and hope and have an opportunity to make a difference in the world. May all these students dream and hope and make the best of the life they have been given.”

We need your help to raise the rest of the money we need to open Bright Futures Secondary School in rural Northern Malawi. Without this school, the most vulnerable young people will miss out on education. Please help us.

We have our fundraiser https://gofund.me/44a92444 where you can donate but we are also asking 100 schools, nurseries, colleges, universities, businesses, churches, clubs, families or individuals to raise £100. Are you up for a challenge? Can you raise or donate £100? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Let’s give the gift of education and help these very vulnerable young people out of poverty and to a brighter future! Let’s build this school! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Kilometre Challenge – Team Mackay

Sarah’s blog 18/8/22

I’m totally amazed and in awe of this update from Jackie and her family aka Team Mackay. They have been clocking up the kilometres for us and challenging themselves at the same time!

One one of the hottest days last week, they climbed Scafell Pike in the National Park in the Lake District. It is the highest mountain in England at 978 metres above sea level. It must have been so much more difficult on an extremely hot day but the views are spectacular. Very well done all of you and thank you, Team Mackay, for including your kilometres in our total.

We need to complete over 13,000km which is the distance the boxes travel from here to The Foundation. Please feel free to get in touch and add your kilometres from any walk you do, or cycle or even roller skating! Any kilometres will help us get nearer our target and any donations will help us build a much needed secondary school. https://gofund.me/44a92444 We are almost at 25% and any kilometres you can donate by taking part will help us over the 25% mark.

So far 320km have been recorded in Malawi during a 4km run by some of the older children + 2,887.415km in UK = 3,207.415km = 24.4%

Let’s build a school! We need your help to donate kilometres and £££ https://gofund.me/44a92444 Team Mackay; Jackie, Ewan, Ben & Adam – you are awesome! Hope you all enjoy their photos. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Well done team Mackay!
Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain at 978 metres above sea level

The kilometre challenge – swimming

Sarah’s blog 17/08/22

I can’t walk far because of mobility issues. However, I can swim. It was the first day back at school where we live and Stuart and I went swimming once our son was off to school.

I wanted to add to the kilometre challenge to help raise funds to build a much needed school and, although it’s not adding much to the total, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. As the saying goes, every little helps!

Today I was able to swim 70 lengths of a 15m pool which totals 1.05km. Stuart did .66km too. We had been swimming as a family last week and I did half a kilometre whilst the boys were playing ball in the pool. It’s not much but I am hoping that some kind people would like to donate a few £££ so we can give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable young people in Northern Malawi. https://gofund.me/44a92444 So if you’ve only walked round the supermarket or walked to the bus stop…it still adds up so please join in and add your kilometres.

The kilometre challenge covers over 13,000km which is one of the routes that the boxes travel from here to the Foundation. People can donate their kilometres from their daily exercise to help us get to the total and also we are looking for people to support us by donating some money. Here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

I completed 70 lengths of a 15m pool today!

Traci’s challenge update

Sarah’s 14/08/22

Wow! Traci is still clocking up those kilometres to help us with our challenge. She also set herself the challenge of walking 500km in July/August. When she saw that she could do more than that she decided to set her self the target of 700km in July/August. She’s amazing! and the photos of the scenery on her walks are beautiful. It’s been very hot during the last few days so I’m sure that it has been hard work. Very well done Traci and thank you.

Here’s what Traci wrote ‘Still clocking up km for Changing Lives Malawi, but this weekend I have swapped the Campsie Fells and the River Kelvin for the Moffat Hills and the River Annan. Just 129km to go to meet my 700km target. https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3

We need people to show their support for Traci and the rest of the team who are taking part in the kilometre challenge – travelling the distance boxes of aid travel from here to Malawi – to raise money for a much needed secondary school. Please donate so that the most vulnerable young people can go to school – education should be available for all. Please donate a few £££ and give the gift of education today. https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3 Let’s build a school! Thank you Traci for your hard work and raising awareness of the importance of this project. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some wonderful photos from Traci’s latest walks. Fantastic Traci, thank you.

Can you help us build a school?

Sarah’s blog 10/8/22

Education should be available to everyone. It should not matter where you live or what your background is. Help us build a school for vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi please? https://gofund.me/44a92444

We help support 500+ orphans and other vulnerable children through a variety of projects including a feeding programme which feeds 500+ children once a week with a substantial and nutritious meal. Unfortunately, there are no big agencies feeding children in this area in schools so the children are malnourished and hungry. Some children are walking up to 20km for this one proper meal of the week.

We have matched 90 of the most vulnerable children with sponsors. As well as receiving a monthly food parcel and welfare checks, sponsors pay for the child’s education when they go to secondary school. However, there are not enough places in the nearest secondary schools and eleven of the sponsored children didn’t get picked for a place at secondary school this year despite having passed primary school leavers exams and having the funds to pay for secondary school. If you don’t get picked then you don’t go. They have had to resit their last year of primary school again with the hope of being picked for a place this year. It’s heart breaking for them when they are trying so hard. They know education is their way out of dire poverty.

Can you help? Can you be part of the team that can help raise funds for a new secondary school? Please? We always say it’s about teamwork. We can’t do what we do without you. The nearest secondary school is too far to walk each day so children have to board which puts the cost up. Lots of families rely on their children to help with chores so a school in the village would be a far better option.

Our plan is to build the school in phases, adding to the school year on year. Prices have risen and the Malawian currency has been devalued. One classroom will cost approximately £7,000. A latrine block will cost £750. We have had some generous donations already. If we can raise enough money for three classrooms and two latrine blocks then building the first phase of the school to open this October 2022 will be achievable. That’s £22,500. We have £10,000 already and 70,000 bricks have already been made and are being stacked into kilns to be fired. So £12,500 to be raised. Can you please help us to give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

Any donation of £500 or over can name a classroom. We are happy to partner with businesses to name a classroom after their company. Of course, we need lots and lots of smaller donations too. If 1,000 people all donated just £10 each then we would be almost there!! 130 chairs have been donated and are about to go on a container to Malawi. Preloved school uniforms have been collected. Eighty new school bags that had also been donated are on their way too along with lots of other items for the students. Let’s build a school!! https://gofund.me/44a92444

Merchiston Castle School had generously donated preloved rugby balls and kit which is also about to go to Malawi on the container. The orphans and other vulnerable children have had one rugby coaching session (and loved it) and more coaching and competition sessions between all the local primary schools in the Chitipa District in northern Malawi is being organised for this autumn. We have also had rugby donations from Annan Rugby Club and Strathendrick Rugby Club and we are very grateful. Rugby has arrived in northern Malawi for the first time! We’ve also had lots of football donations and netball bibs as football, rugby and netball will all be played by pupils at the new secondary school.

We have a fundraising event running at the moment which is open for anyone to join in. We are trying to cover the 13,000km + from here to The Foundation we support in Malawi, which is how far the boxes of aid travel via land and sea. So far we have covered 20% of that journey by people walking, running, cycling, scooting and rowing machine. Some of the young people in Malawi wanted to join in and they ran 4km each which added 320km to our total. You can join in too by adding your kilometres from walking the dog, walking to work, walking round the shops….whatever you are doing….we would love your kilometres. Here is the link to take part https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 or you can email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com and to donate to our fundraiser to build the school https://gofund.me/44a92444

Help us to give the gift of education. Help us to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Help us help the children. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the young people who took part in a 4km run
70,000 bricks have already been made and are being stacked to make kilns
When the kilns are finished they are covered in mud and fires are set in the spaces underneath
Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation will be used by the students at the new secondary school. A local author visited and donated a copy of his book to the library.
Traci, one of our supporters, walked 30km to the Falkirk Wheel last weekend!

100 of these chairs plus 30 others are about to be stacked on the next container for the new school

Stuart, one of our trustees, collecting a wonderful donation of rugby balls and kit from Rogerson House at Merchiston Castle School.
Some of the vulnerable children in the Library at The Foundation. We are sending lots of books as part of the Literacy Project. How are children supposed to learn to read without books to practice with? Individuals, schools and nurseries in Scotland have been donating preloved books for us to send.

17 boxes of books were gifted to Chambo Primary School as part of The School Literacy Project. Education is the key to a brighter future for these children.

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!

‘On the road again…’

Sarah’s blog 2/8/22

Didn’t someone sing a song about that? Yes… now I’ve got that tune in your heads… the answer is Willie Nelson!!

Stuart and I packed some more boxes and took 16 of them to Dundee today to The Bananabox Trust warehouse to be processed and then await the next container.

Whilst at the BBT warehouse I took some photos to show Levison the chairs that are being sent for the school and a few tables. Hopefully, we will find more secondhand tables here to prevent them going to landfill or local carpenters will make desks in Malawi.

Only a short blog today… wonder if I can add our kms to the challenge? Lol I think that answer will be ‘no’ but I’ve added a map to show you the route of the first 111km that the boxes travel. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Here’s the link if you’d like to add a few £££ to our fundraiser to build a school https://GoFund.me/44a92444

Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 1/8/22

I just wanted to do an update on where we are with this exciting project that is going to give a brighter future to hundreds, if not thousands, of young people in rural northern Malawi, changing their lives for the better by giving them the gift of education.

Secondary schools in Malawi charge fees, so those who cannot afford the fees just do not go to secondary school. However, because there are not enough places at secondary schools in that area, even if the children have passed their primary school leavers exams and have the money to pay for secondary school, if they don’t get picked for a place then they don’t go. This is unfortunately what happened to eleven of our sponsored children this year. It’s heart-breaking for them and they have been resitting their last year of primary school with the hope of getting better grades and therefore getting a place next time.

The nearest secondary school is too far away for children to walk so they have to board which then puts the costs up and also keeps them away from their families who may rely on the young people to help with chores and looking after younger siblings.

Bright Futures Secondary School will be for orphans and vulnerable young people supported by the Foundation. Those who cannot pay fees will still be offered a place at the secondary school and those who can pay a bit will be asked to contribute what they can afford. Obviously, young people will have been required to pass their primary school leavers exams before continuing with their secondary education.

There has been lots of work going on in the background, collecting school uniforms, liaising with other charities who may help us etc. There are over 100 chairs going on the next container. They have also been busy in Malawi with making bricks and they are going to be firing all the bricks soon when they’ve stacked them to make the kilns. I have got good news and bad news so I think I’ll go with the good news first….as there are lots of good things going on.

Good things are happening

  1. One of the neighbours of The Foundation is gifting some land to ensure there is enough land to build the secondary school on. That is extremely generous.
  2. We had a grant from The Souter Charitable Trust for £3,250 for secondary school text books and are very grateful for their support.
  3. Recently we had a cheque for £4,000 from The Inverclyde Trust to help towards the secondary school. This was a lovely surprise and we are so thankful.
  4. I had a fundraiser in May to start off the brickmaking for the school. People were very kind and contributed over £1,000.
  5. We have a gofundme page open for donations towards building the school. If you would like to contribute a few £££ towards the school and to support those who are doing our kilometre challenge then here is the link; https://gofund.me/44a92444
  6. There have also been some donations straight into the bank account for which we are very thankful.

The not so good news

  1. The Malawian currency has been devalued and everything has also gone up in price. Maize is double what it previously was and also the building supplies have all gone up, some being double the price that they cost in the shower block build. All this makes it extremely difficult when we think we are working towards a target then the goalposts keep changing.
  2. We had a quote over the weekend for the first phase of the secondary school. It was, because of the reasons stated above, far more than any of us imagined.
  3. Levison and The Foundation do not have any funds of their own so are reliant on our charity for fundraising. They have started to bring small amounts of money in but because of rising costs and the huge number of children and young people they are supporting, it is like they are swimming against the tide. Self-sufficiency is obviously the end goal but it is difficult when prices are rising and children are hungry.
  4. We need more people to help with fundraising and telling others about our charity.

Bright Futures Secondary School

We are very excited and committed to changing the lives of so many children. They know that education is their way to a brighter future for them and their families. They want education and they want to work hard.

Unfortunately, due to the trauma and lack of nutrition that many have faced, not all children will be able to complete secondary school but we hope that there will be jobs available and opportunities within the Foundation or for further vocational training.

However, because of the Feeding Programme, and the preschool children being fed in nursery, they have a better start than the older children. As well as food, they have access to showers and clean clothes and are already looking at picture books. The Literacy Project is very exiting as we are hoping that the results of having reading materials readily available will be seen over the next few years. Year on year, exam results should start to improve in the schools that we are supplying with books.

We had hoped that we would be able to raise enough money for the first phase of the secondary school to open in October 2022. However, we have had to make the decision that we cannot achieve that this year. We have a year to work hard and ensure all the money needed is in place for the start of term in October 2023. Whilst we are disappointed that costs have risen and we don’t have as much money as needed at the moment, we think it is sensible to be able to spend the next year ensuring that finances are in place and that the school is built properly ensuring all children have Bright Futures.

Please, if you know of any grant giving charities who could help, or any businesses willing to give a donation in return for some publicity then please do let us know. This is a huge undertaking for a small charity like ours but we are determined to continue Changing Lives. Can you do a fundraiser for us in the community where you live? Can you hold a coffee morning or a bake sale? There’s loads of ways in which you could get involved and we would love you to join us. The children are relying on us so they all have brighter futures. Please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to suggest ways of helping, or to donate to the school. Any donation over £500 can name a classroom. Thank you for reading and supporting us, 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

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