Scottish Rugby & Club Donations

Some wonderful rugby donations!

Sarah’s blog 19/5/23

I’ve been amazed by how many wonderful, generous people support us to help the vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

We are facilitating Jack Mphande, Malawi Rugby Development officer to return to the rural north to work with teachers and children in primary schools as well as spending time with the children we help to support. Jack will be visiting for two weeks. His first visit was the first time rugby had been introduced and played in the north. Everyone loved it. They are looking forward to the end of September when he will visit again for two weeks.

Here, we have had people helping to provide kit, boots, balls and driving to pick donations up, box them up and drive them to Dundee to The Bananabox Trust to await the next container.

Some of the rugby clubs we have had support from include; Strathendrick Rugby Club (our local club who also raised money through a bake sale), Annan Rugby Club, Grangemouth Rugby Club, Hillfoots Rugby Club, Stirling County Rugby Club, Blaydon Rugby Club (Newcastle), Glasgow Warriors and Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh. We are very grateful for all the donations we have received and these will be able to be shared with different school teams in Malawi.

This week we also had a huge donation from the Scottish Rugby Union; 200 tops/jerseys/jackets + socks and shorts! Plus some new Scotland jerseys to auction. Many thanks to Scott at SRU for your help. Also to Michael and Gordon and everyone else who has helped to collect and donate kit. Bruce at Merchiston Castle School (and Happiness is Egg Shaped) has also been a huge help in sharing posts as well as donating kit, balls and boots.

What we also need is for people to share posts to raise awareness. We’d love rugby clubs to be able to raise £50-£100 each to pay for the cost of sending kit to Malawi and cover the cost of the two week rugby event in September. We will need to feed all the children who are taking part in the rugby training & tournament as no big charities are feeding children in schools that far north.

Can you ask 50 people at your club for £1 each? Could you have a bake sale for us? Or have a carwash or a sponsored event? If lots of clubs can help us a little bit then teamwork will make it happen. Please mail me for more info or to offer your financial support. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading & supporting, Sarah x

All the rugby donations at Bananabox Trust, Dundee waiting for the next container
Brilliant! Thanks to the Scottish Rugby Union
some great kit donations
Jack Mphande, Rugby Development Officer
A great donation of rugby balls from Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Kit donated by Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
the bake sale at training one Sunday morning at Strathendrick RFC

Merchiston Castle School – another rugby donation

Another generous rugby donation from Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh – thank you

Sarah’s blog 2/2/23

Bruce Aitchison, a housemaster at Merchiston Castle School, has been so supportive of our charity and of introducing rugby to the orphans and other vulnerable children we support in rural Northern Malawi. Bruce also runs the social media site for rugby fans ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’.

Rugby was only played for the first time in the far north when Jack Mphande, Malawian Rugby Development Coach visited last year. We and Community Sports Leaders Africa sponsored Jack’s visit to coach the young people who absolutely loved it. The fact that someone came from the south to spend time with the orphans was a huge deal to them. They no longer feel forgotten and they know that people are investing in their futures.

Last year Stuart, my husband, travelled to Edinburgh to Merchiston Castle School, to meet with Bruce and some of the boys who are students there to receive a big donation of rugby kit, boots and rugby balls. These have all now arrived in Malawi and the young people have modelled them and are delighted with such smart rugby kit. Bruce contacted us to say that there were more boots for us to send so we were able to meet him this morning. These donations will make such a difference to the young people’s mental health as well as enjoying playing rugby for their physical health.

Jack Mphande has kindly set aside two weeks (in May/June dates to be confirmed) to head north once again to train teachers in the 14 primary schools and also coach the young people at Bright Futures Secondary School. We estimate that to facilitate this it will cost approximately £400 so any help would be much appreciated. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

All the rugby balls, kit and boots will be able to be shared amongst the different schools. A lot of students, even though they are still at primary school, are teenagers, as they have missed a lot of school to work for a pittance to try to earn money for food. These vulnerable students love playing team sports and are able to forget about the poverty they live in and the trauma they have experienced. Spending time learning new skills and playing competitively with their friends is so good for them.

Thanks so much to Bruce and Merchiston Castle School. I’ve included some links from Bright Futures Secondary School and Jack’s first rugby visit.

Hope you enjoy the photos and videos and reading my blogs and thank you everyone who has supported us to help the children in Malawi, Sarah x

Phase 2 0f Bright Futures Secondary School – classrooms 3 & 4 – Changing Lives Malawi The link to our fundraiser for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School is https://gofund.me/ece5753a

Rugby, School & Sponsorship – Changing Lives Malawi

Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh – Rugby Kit Donation – Changing Lives Malawi (includes links to Jack Mphande’s first rugby visit)

Housemaster Bruce Aitchison who also runs the rugby social media site ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’
Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Today’s donation was two big bags of rugby boots – thanks to Bruce and everyone who donated their boots!
Some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School with the generous donation of kit, boots and rugby balls from Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh

A great photo of orphans enjoying playing rugby during Jack Mphande’s first coaching visit to introduce rugby in the far north of Malawi.

Yathu Widows Opportunity

Sarah’s blog 08/10/22

Last year we had a very generous donation of preloved bibles from St Michael’s Parish Church, Slateford Road, Edinburgh. The congregation kindly also donated some clothes and lots of other useful items.

The bibles and other donations recently arrived on the container. Many of the bibles have been kept for the young people supported by The Foundation to help with their studies. One box was sent to a different organisation. Whilst we are not in a position to support other organisations financially, occasionally we are able to pass on donations.

Last November, I was honoured to be invited to an afternoon tea with The First Lady of Malawi at the City Chambers in Edinburgh. I was invited by Joyce Juma-Phiri who is CEO of Fair Trade Scotland and also Head of The Associations of Malawians in Scotland. It was a lovely afternoon, and I met some wonderful people. One lady, a Malawian living in Scotland, is Gertrude Kadzuwa who runs this organisation for widows in Mzuzu. As well as bibles, we put lots of bars of soap in the box. The widows have had a meeting today and Gertrude sent me this photo and a great video. I hope you enjoy the video. Thank you again to the congregation of St Michael’s Parish Church for your donations, Sarah x

Merchiston Castle School – Rugby Donation

Sarah’s blog 18/06/22

Last week, Stuart had been to Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh to collect donations of rugby balls and kit from Annan Rugby Club which Bruce Aitchison had collected for us. Bruce is House Master for Rogerson House at Merchiston Castle School and also founder of the social media site all about rugby

https://www.happinessiseggshaped.org

https://facebook.com@happinessiseggshaped.org

Bruce and some of his rugby friends have been very supportive of our charity and how we are trying to support some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. So Stuart visited the school again yesterday and met up with Bruce to collect the balls and kit from Merchiston Castle School.

Rugby has only very recently been introduced to the Chitipa District in the far north of Malawi when Jack Mphande, Malawi International Rugby Player and Rugby Development Officer, ran two rugby coaching camps. He is going to visit again to start coaching in schools in that area. Jack was very impressed with how the young people he was working with picked up the sport so quickly and his enthusiasm for the game was picked up by the children. The rugby donations we have been given are going to make a big difference to these young people. They will also know that people they have never met care about them.

All of these children are either orphans or living in dire poverty. All are very vulnerable. Until quite recently they had no hope. For them to have a visit from a top coach like Jack Mphande was so special for them. Someone important visiting them, working with them, teaching new skills, spending time with them, chatting with them, encouraging them and calling them by name. That experience is priceless. These children are more confident and their self-esteem has improved and they enjoy playing team sports with their friends whilst they forget about the problems and difficulties in their lives. An holistic approach is being taken, it’s so much more than just feeding hungry, malnourished children.

My blog from earlier this week International Day of the African Child – some of the projects which are helping the most vulnerable children – Changing Lives Malawi highlights some of the ways the children’s lives are changing for the better and shares some great photos and videos. Each of these projects requires funding to enable us to keep helping this community towards their goal of self-sufficiency. If you would like to donate to help the children please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .

Children also benefit from being matched with a sponsor to help provide more food, a blanket, clothes, welfare checks and pay for secondary education. If you would like to sponsor a vulnerable child it’s only £25 per month and you can sponsor as an individual or share the cost with a friend or family. A business or club could sponsor a child too. Ninety of the most vulnerable children have been matched with sponsors but there are many more waiting for a helping hand. Can you sponsor a child today? Or donate to one of the projects? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .

Thank you so much to Bruce and all at Rogerson House, Merchiston Castle School for your generosity. Here are some photos and videos of some of the children you will be supporting. These were taken on their first day so they did brilliantly! If you want to keep up to date with our latest news you can follow us on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/changinglivesmalawi/ We are also on twitter and instagram and you can sign up to follow my blogs so you don’t miss anything! Thanks so much again, Sarah x

Afternoon Tea with the First Lady of Malawi, Edinburgh City Chambers

Sarah’s blog 2/11/21

I was very honoured to have been asked to attend an afternoon tea with Her Excellency, the First Lady of Malawi, Monica Chakwera and ladies of the diaspora. The event was hosted by Scotland Malawi Partnership and The Association of Malawians In Scotland. There was a presentation and the First Lady spoke about her charity ‘Shaping Our Future Foundation’ and her early life. There were other speakers and an interesting talk by Dr Emily Broadis on the burns project she set up at the hospital she worked at whilst living in Malawi.

Unfortunately, due to the event running over and having to collect my son, I had to leave before the group photo was taken, but did have chance to give The First Lady of Malawi information on the work we are doing at Changing Lives Malawi to support The William Stewart Foundation. I also gave her some of our charity cards from original paintings by one of our trustees, Christine Cresswell (my talented mum).

Thank you to Joyce Juma-Phiri, CEO of Fair Trade Scotland and head of The Association of Malawians in Scotland, for inviting me as one of her guests. It was such a special afternoon and I met some lovely people. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

first photo: The First Lady of Malawi, Monica Chakwera

second photo: Afternoon Tea at the City Chambers, Edinburgh (I am sitting in front of the fireplace)

third photo: group photo

fourth photo: me on my way to the event

fifth photo: flags flying outside The City Chambers, Edinburgh (the red carpet was out too)

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