Bible Knowledge & the gift of bibles

Thanks to St Michael’s Church Slateford Road, Edinburgh for helping to support the students at Bright Futures Secondary School.

Sarah’s blog 3/2/23

Last year we had a very generous donation of lots of preloved bibles from St Michael’s Parish Church, Slateford Road in Edinburgh.

Bible Knowledge is one of the subjects on the school curriculum in Malawi. Yesterday, there was time to open some more boxes and the bibles were given to the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. These will be so helpful with their studies as previously all the teenagers were trying to share only a few bibles between them. Thank you so much to St Michael’s Parish Church for supporting the students’ education.

I asked Levison when I saw these photos that he sent me yesterday why some of the students were in casual clothes. He said they got absolutely soaked through on their way to school. It’s currently the rainy season and most of these students do not have a rain jackets. You can see in the photos that some of the students have flipflops/sliders or will have walked in bare feet to keep their school shoes clean. Do you have a good rain jacket that you no longer need or that your child has outgrown that we can send to these vulnerable students please? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Also, I mentioned to Levison that everyone looked very serious in the photos. He told me it was because these photos were taken just before lunchtime and these students hadn’t eaten since the day before so they were really hungry and tired. We must try to find more support with feeding these young people. Can you commit a small monthly amount to help provide breakfast to these orphans as well as them receiving a free school lunch? There isn’t much at home for them to eat and they cannot study properly if they are hungry and malnourished. Will you help by committing £5 or £10 per month to help provide food at Bright Futures Secondary School. Because costs have risen so much, we estimate that it will cost £25 per student per month to feed them breakfast as well as lunch, so whatever you can give towards this will make a difference. We can’t do it on our own. We always say it is about teamwork and you are a valuable part of our team. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Thanks for reading and supporting these vulnerable teenagers, Sarah x

The First School Trip – football & netball

Sarah’s blog 30/1/23

The students at Bright Futures Secondary School were invited to go to Chisenga Secondary School yesterday to play football and netball against Chisenga.

I don’t think we can quite comprehend the level of excitement and how much this trip meant to the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. Levison had sent me photos and videos last night but phoned me this morning to give me details and he was so happy that it had all gone well. All the students, and teachers, had enjoyed the afternoon enormously.

Most of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School have never been in a car before. So when they found out that they were going to Chisenga in taxis they were amazed. Levison said one student asked “Sir, you mean we have to pay for this journey?” so Levison was able to say “No, this is part of your education at Bright Futures Secondary School.”

Levison said that the students were a real credit to Bright Futures Secondary School, encouraging each other and singing lots of songs together. They cooperated well with each other and were very proud to be representing their school.

So from new experiences like being in a vehicle for the first time, having nice football and netball strips, trainers and football boots, and representing their school, the students know that they are valued. They know people care about them. They know that people are investing in them and their future. Levison said they are motivated to work hard in school. The spectators and staff at Chisenga School were surprised by the kits that the Bright Futures students were wearing and the fact that Levison took a new football to be used.

Unfortunately, the netball results didn’t go in Bright Futures favour; the first team’s results were 1 – 9 and the second team’s results were 6 – 10 but they tried their best and that’s all anyone can ask of them and we are proud of them.

Bright Futures football first team won their match 2 – 1 and the second team’s match ended in a draw 0 – 0. Very well done everyone we are proud of you!

So we want to thank everyone who has made yesterday a hugely successful trip. Thank you for the donation towards the taxis. Thank you to those who have donated trainers and football boots and sports kits. We couldn’t support the children without your help. Levison was very keen for me to pass on his thanks to everyone who helped make yesterday “I would really like to thank the donors…it was the best day for our school so far”.

We still need to raise a bit more money to cover the cost of the taxis yesterday, so if anyone would like to donate then we would be very grateful contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Levison said they would have given the students from Bright Futures a special meal if they could have afforded that. Instead, each student today has been given a new pen and pencil.

One of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School, Daniel, speaking on behalf of the students said “I want to thank you about the support you gave yesterday. I’m very glad to say that we won the game yesterday. We are more than happy because we have put our school on the map. Thank you supporters. The other school was challenging us, saying that Bright Futures is just a baby school that opened some few months ago which they thought it was obvious for us to fail the game. So winning the game was a relief to put the school on the flag of the winners.”

“I, as the headteacher, speaking on behalf of my colleagues, would like to say thank you for the support that we received yesterday. We are very glad to tell you that our first team won the football. We managed to beat one of our neighbouring schools who thought that they would win because we are only a small school. Winning yesterday made our school proud. It gave us confidence that we are strong as an institution. It has put Bright Futures Secondary School on the map. We have made history at yesterday’s game not only were there students there from Chisenga, but also people from surrounding communities came and watched the game. So, when they are leaving to go to their various places, they carried news that Bright Futures Secondary School is one of the strongest school with a strong team. This has given us confidence and has encouraged the students and the teachers. Our teams looked good in their jerseys and boots. Thank you so much. Please continue supporting us.” Miss Mtambo, Headteacher.

Bright Futures Secondary School Footballers are wearing red/black – Craigshill Thistle Football Club and also green – Edinburgh South Football Club. Bright Futures Secondary School Netball teams are wearing white/navy – Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club and also yellow/black – Fakenham Town Football Club. Thank you to all these clubs who have donated kit and also to Paul Goodwin, Paul Kelly, Julian Chenery and ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’ and, of course, The Bananabox Trust for their help with getting donations to Malawi.

Thank you for reading and supporting the students of Bright Futures Secondary School. I hope you enjoy the photos and videos, Sarah x

World Education Day – Changing Lives Malawi

Phase 2 0f Bright Futures Secondary School – classrooms 3 & 4 – Changing Lives Malawi

Many thanks to Edinburgh South, Craigshill Thistle & Fakenham Town football clubs and also Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club for these kits.

World Education Day

On World Education Day, we thank our supporters who are helping us provide education to some of the most vulnerable orphans in rural northern Malawi.

Sarah’s blog 24/1/23

What does education look like where you live? How many years do children go to school? Is it provided to all children, at no cost?

Where you live, what happens to children when they leave school? Do most go to college or university or an apprenticeship? Or they might go straight into employment? All of these opportunities happen after children have completed primary AND SECONDARY education. What would happen if they didn’t have these opportunities?

Not all children will pass all of their exams. As long as they’ve tried their best and worked hard, that’s all anyone can ask. They will still have been learning whilst at school.

Imagine that there are schools… but not for your children. In Malawi, primary school is free. However, if you cannot afford food then your children will have to miss school so they can earn a pittance to try to help buy food for the family.

Imagine your child walking all day to the nearest maize mill with a heavy bundle of maize balanced on their head. It’s not even your maize… they are walking 15km or 20km all day with their heavy burden to be paid a pittance for carrying someone else’s maize to the mill. No clean water or food to drink or eat all day, at risk of being attacked along the way. They have to miss school. How does that feel?

Laston, one of the boys we have matched with a sponsor, worked for a farmer, helping to look after his cows, for approximately £1.50 per month. There was no school for Laston – school was for other children – until we found a sponsor to support him.

In Chambo primary school, where the majority of orphans and other vulnerable children attend, whom the Foundation supports, they have minimal resources. No desks and chairs, apart from primary 8. All other children sit on the floor in their classrooms. They have hardly any books. They have no clean water supply and no latrines. We gifted 17 boxes of books to Chambo primary school to support literacy and help children become confident readers.

Children have to sit exams when leaving primary school. If you don’t pass then you don’t go to secondary school. There are not enough places in secondary school, so if you don’t get picked for a place then you don’t go. If you do pass your exams and are lucky enough to be picked for a place but you can’t afford to pay the fees… it’s heartbreaking. That is your formal education finished at the end of primary school.

That’s why Bright Futures Secondary School was desperately needed. To ensure all the orphans and vulnerable children, supported by The Foundation, had the chance of a secondary education without having to pay. Education is everything to these children. They know it is their escape from the dire poverty they live in.

Bright Futures Secondary School is being built in phases, as it’s obviously a big and costly project. Phase 1 has been successfully completed – staff accommodation, staff latrine and classrooms 1 and 2 and passed with flying colours when the inspectors came from the Education Department.

Now we need to continue our fundraising commitment to build classrooms 3 and 4 to ensure these vulnerable students have the opportunities the deserve. That they have choices and chances. That they have a brighter future.

All students at Bright Futures Secondary School are provided with a uniform, a school bag, other clothes. They receive a free school lunch. They have access to clean water and showers. Girls are given reusable sanitary towels (made at The Foundation) so they don’t have to miss one week of school each month. They are allowed to borrow books to take home from the library at The Foundation. Their dreams are coming true. They are working hard. With your help we are changing lives in Malawi.

On World Education Day we are saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who has helped us to support the students this far. Without your help, these students would not have been able to attend secondary school and have a free lunch each day. The school lunch is vital as it’s probably the only meal for many of them.

We need your help to build the next phase of the school. Two classrooms and more latrines will cost £25,000. Will you be part of the team supporting these vulnerable students to succeed and achieve? Will you be part of the team allowing them to have more choices and chances? Will you be part of the team helping them to help themselves out of poverty? https://gofund.me/ece5753a

If, on World Education Day, you would like to show your commitment to some of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi, please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or donate to our fundraiser here

We are passionate about helping these children to help themselves out of poverty and giving them a better start. The nursery has 75 preschool children (age 4-6). As well as clothes and blankets, each child has just been gifted a book to take home. We want children to learn that books are a wonderful resource that can be used each day for information and escapism. Who knows if any of these children will become authors in the future and write books for other children?

As you might imagine, running costs, as well as capital costs for these projects need to be found. The children need more people fighting their corner and supporting their education. Here are ways you can get involved;

1. Can you donate to our fundraiser to build classrooms 3 & 4? https://gofund.me/ece5753a

2. Can you commit to £5 or £10 monthly to help pay for food for the nursery or secondary school?

3. Will you organise a fundraiser for us? Can you involve your friends? Can your family help? What could your children & their friends do?

4. Would you like us to visit your club or school and show photos & talk about the projects we are supporting in Malawi?

5. Would you like to be matched with a vulnerable child to support their education and wellbeing? It’s only £25 p/m and you can split this cost with a friend.

6. If you are selling preloved clothes or toys… could you do it on behalf of our charity?

7. Can your business sponsor an event? Or donate towards a building? Or pay for the feeding programme for a week? We would, of course give you publicity. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

You can be sure that all money goes to the projects we support. Our charity is run by committed volunteers. So we have no salaries or admin costs. Thank you for reading and supporting us to help continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Gifts for the nursery children – Changing Lives Malawi

Rugby, School & Sponsorship – Changing Lives Malawi

children at the nursery have all been gifted a book to support their literacy
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School in the rugby kit donated by Merchiston Castle School
Some of the girls with their new school bags
Students showing off the new rugby kit and balls supplied by Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Students in a practical science class
we sent school uniform for the students at Bright Futures Secondary School
Exam time
Practical agricultural lesson – preparing the ground in the new polytunnel for growing crops.
The library has a good selection of books and computers
Laston, one of the sponsored teenagers. The photo on the left shows Laston in the only clothes he had. His shoes had holes in the toes so he could continue to wear them as they were too small. He missed a lot of school and worked for a farmer, looking after his cows, for approximately £1.50 per month. Laston is now doing really well as he’s been matched with a sponsor and is working hard at school.
Stuart, one of our trustees, collecting rugby balls and kit from Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh

Reasons to celebrate

Sarah’s blog 27/12/22

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I just wanted to post a few videos celebrating how wonderful we think the children in Ibuluma are. There are hundreds of them who are malnourished and have suffered varying amounts of trauma but, despite all that they are doing well. They now know that people care about them.

If you have helped us then we thank you. Here are ways you can support us to continue Changing Lives Malawi.

1. Donate to help us build phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School (classrooms 3 & 4) https://GoFund.me/44a92444

2. commit a monthly amount of £5 or £10 to support one of our feeding programmes; the nursery, secondary or weekly feeding programme for 500 children.

3. Sponsor a vulnerable child or young person for £25 per month which supports their education and provides a monthly food parcel. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the videos. I’d be grateful if you could share with others as we try to grow our audience. Thanks, Sarah x

Rugby coaching
no guitar? no problem! let’s make one!
An update from Catherine
Getting used to the new computers in the library. Children are wearing clothes from Strathblane Primary and Riverside Primary Schools in the Stirling area of Scotland.
Food, fun and dancing at the Christmas Party
Chancy thanking his sponsors and telling them he passed his exams
one of the football matches…everyone loves team sports
Trying out the new clippers we sent
Let’s dance!
Laston, one of the sponsored children, asking for a new school. He is doing well now after missing a great deal of school to help a farmer look after his cows for the equivalent of £1.50 per month.

International Children’s Day

Sarah’s blog 20/11/22

Every day is a day to celebrate children but today is International Children’s Day. Today I am thinking about the hundreds of wonderful, resilient children we help to support in rural northern Malawi. Despite the fact that they have all experienced grief, trauma, malnutrition, poverty and hardship, they get on with things and make the best of life. Many have missed out on a proper childhood as they have had to work long hours, missing school, for a pittance to try to help feed themselves and their family.

We are helping to change their lives. We need your help. We are a team, each with our own part to play. These vulnerable children need a team around them to help nurture them and help them thrive. They are fed once a week at The Feeding programme. We would love to do this more often if we had more funds. If you would like to support the feeding programme for 500+ children by donating a monthly amount, then please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

The Child Sponsorship Project matches the most vulnerable children with sponsors. The children receive clothes, a blanket, a monthly food parcel, welfare checks, and secondary education. If you are able to sponsor a child, then please do get in touch. It is only £25 p/m to sponsor a child and it might be the most important thing you ever do for these very vulnerable children. You can sponsor as an individual, a family, a business or share the cost with a friend. Please do let me know if you could help give a child a brighter future. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Here are some of the young people who have just started at Bright Futures Secondary School and who need your help. Please will you sponsor me? – Changing Lives Malawi

We are also looking for people who can commit £5 or £10 per month (or an amount of your choice) to help support hot, nutritious school lunches for the teenagers at the new school. Is this something you can do? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 1 has been completed and welcomed new students two weeks ago. We are continuing to fundraise for desks, more textbooks, and towards building classrooms 3 & 4. If anyone is able to donate £500 or over, they can have one of the classrooms named after them (or the name of a business etc). The school fundraiser is here https://gofund.me/44a92444

The School Literacy Project is ensuring that children have access to books on a daily basis. We are sending boxes of books to primary schools in rural Northern Malawi. How can children learn to read if they don’t have books to practice with?

Sports – Children and young people are playing football, netball and rugby. They can forget about their problems whilst playing with their friends. They are learning new skills and becoming more confident. Team sports are good for physical and mental health.

There are so many other ways that the lives of the hundreds of vulnerable children that we help to support are changing for the better. We want them to have choices and opportunities. We want them to be the best that they can be. We want them to have brighter futures. We want them to learn to be self-sufficient. They also want these shared goals. Please do read through the different pages on our website and my blog pages for all the things that the children are doing and getting involved with.

Sinclair House School Fulham

At the start of the year, I was offered school uniform from a preparatory in London. Sadly, the school was closing due to covid and lockdown, so there was lots of uniform that needed a new home. We were very thankful to be offered this for the very vulnerable children we support in rural northern Malawi, and we were grateful too for the donation made towards covering the cost of sending the boxes on the container.

As this was a school for younger children the uniform is obviously in smaller sizes. However, because of malnutrition and poverty, the 500 plus children that are supported through various projects, are a bit smaller than the age sizes stated on the clothes. So here are some of the first boxes of uniform from Sinclair House School that were given to children this morning. There will be more given out during the week, and some will also be given to children at a nearby primary school. As you will see, some of the teenage students at Bright Futures Secondary School were able to fit into the largest size of the sportswear and they were delighted to receive these. The girls were pleased with their trousers too… culturally girls and women only wear dresses and skirts, but teenage girls are beginning to ask to wear trousers.

I hope you enjoy the photos. One young person that I will show you photos of to show just how much having a sponsor can change a life is Laston. He lives with his grandmother. He missed so much school as he was helping a farmer with his cows and being paid approximately £1.50 per month. He was depressed and hungry and only had the clothes he was wearing. His life has changed thanks to his sponsor. Please, on International Children’s Day, consider helping to change the life of another vulnerable child who is waiting. Thank you for reading and for everyone who supports our work, Sarah x

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

l-r Maria, Margaret, Laston and Brian are delighted with their new clothes they received today

In the picture on the left, Laston only has the clothes he was wearing. His shoes have holes at the front as they are too small for him. He missed lots of school to work for a farmer, helping with his cows, for £1.50 per month. Thankfully, we were able to match him with a sponsor and he is doing well at school.
Some of the students at the new school – Bright Futures Secondary School
Margaret is delighted with her new clothes
Maria loves her new clothes and is enjoying wearing trousers!
Some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School
Thank you for their new uniform
Students looking very smart in their new uniform
Maria is looking very smart
Brian looking smart in his new uniform
Thank you for the donations Sinclair House School
Margaret in her classroom
Maria
New cardigans for these younger girls
Lots of happy children with their new clothes
Thank you for the new smart uniform
looking very smart in their blazers!
Very smart in new shirts and navy shorts
Thank you for my new blazer!

Sports at Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 16/12/22

Everyone is settling into a routine at Bright Futures Secondary School. Here are some photos from today of some of the young people. The boys have been playing football and the girls netball and football. The teachers are in the black and white stripe tops, being great role models for the teenagers and ensuring that the girls (as well as the boys) are playing team sports, keeping fit and healthy physically and mentally, learning new skills and growing in self-esteem.

I am still busy trying to raise money for desks and more textbooks then onto phase 2 of the school. By building two more classrooms, more vulnerable teenagers will benefit from a free secondary education as well as a hot nutritious lunch each day at school. Thank you to all those who have supported our fundraising. If you are able to donate to help provide desks and more textbooks, then here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444

Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Reviewing the first week of Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 13/11/22

Reviewing and reflecting on activities and learning is very important as it’s not all about what we think will work or what we want. It’s about improving the lives of the young people and therefore their voices need to be heard and their opinions taken into consideration when planning.

Levison asked me to speak with some of the young people this morning about their thoughts on their first week at Bright Futures Secondary School. Everyone enjoyed the school and thought the teaching was very good. They are pleased they are getting a cooked lunch at school. I was asked if there would be hostels for teens who had further to walk or who were orphaned. I was able to explain that we do want to do that eventually but next on the list is desks for the existing classrooms then we want to be able to build two more classrooms.

Later in the day Levison had a meeting with some of the parents and carers. He said they were all very supportive. He took two videos of parents saying that the amazing school project was a dream coming true and that they thanked the donors very much.

When we were planning for what resources the teachers needed, Levison was insistent that the teachers needed flip charts. I thought these would just be for making bullet points, but I now see their value. There is no printer yet to print out information from the internet, there are no colourful posters. So, the teachers have worked hard to make visuals aids for the walls of the classrooms. Not only does this provide notes for regular revision of subject matter, but it also provides proof of what lessons have been taught. Anyone visiting the school from the education department, or any other visitors will be able to see at a glance the quality of the lessons being taught.

A great first week at Bright Futures Secondary School and lots of eager teenagers are looking forward to their second week. Thanks to all who have helped make this happen, Sarah x

Parents and carers have come to talk about how they think the first week has been for their teenagers – they look serious but they have expressed how pleased they are with having the new school in the village and thanked the donors very much. They said it’s a dream come true.

School Lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 10/11/22

It’s nearly the end of the first week at Bright Futures Secondary School and things are going well. We still need to raise more money for desks and also more textbooks but some of the most vulnerable young people in Ibuluma are being educated and are having lunch at school too. This is a huge achievement for Levison and his team. Most of the young people are slightly older than they would be in UK or other countries as they have had to drop out of school to help earn a pittance to feed themselves. Life has been desperate for them all. Things are now changing.

First Day of Bright Futures Secondary School 07/11/22 – Changing Lives Malawi

These young people would not normally get the chance to go to secondary school because of the costs involve and also there were not enough places in the nearest secondary schools. So, even if you had a sponsor to pay your fees and you’d passed your primary school leavers exams, if you aren’t picked for a place at secondary school then you don’t go. This happened to 11 of our sponsored children last year which was heart breaking for them. This spurred us on to fundraise for Bright Futures Secondary School.

Because it is such a huge project to build a school and because we are operating on a shoestring, we are fundraising to build Bright Futures Secondary School in phases. We could not do this without the help of our wonderful supporters. We are very grateful to you all. We always say it is about teamwork. We all have a part to play in the team around these vulnerable children. Thanks to those who have donated, these young people have a school in their village, have a chance to have a good education, be fed a school lunch every day and have the chance of a brighter future. Thank you if you have been a part of making that happen. Thank you if you have been a part of changing their lives.

We are still fundraising for desks and more textbooks and then, after that, we will start fundraising for phase 2 of the school so that more vulnerable young people have the future they deserve. If you would like to help, then please donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 or you can email for bank details contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Can you help with buying a desk? Or buying a textbook? Can you make a donation towards phase 2 of the school? We are also looking for people to make a monthly commitment towards feeding these young people. If we have several people all donating a small amount each month of £5 or £10 then this will ensure there is enough food for school lunches every day of the week.

The photos show the young people having their lunch at school today. They are eating nsima (ground maize), beans and vegetables. Now we know these children are having a substantial and nutritious meal in school every day. Being fed in school is also an incentive to be there every day. If you are able to support school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary school and either give a one-off donation or commit to a monthly amount, please contact me for bank details contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the young people arriving at school for 7am start

First Day of Bright Futures Secondary School 07/11/22

Sarah’s blog 07/11/22

What an exciting, historic day for Ibuluma! The first day of secondary school in the village at Bright Futures Secondary School. It is for orphans and other vulnerable children. It is giving them an opportunity for an education and a brighter future that they would not normally have had. Secondary school needs to be paid for in Malawi and none of these children or their families would be able to afford to pay.

We are expecting more students to turn up this week as word spreads that the school is now open for lessons. Some young people will have been doing manual work to bring in a small amount of money at home whilst they were waiting for school to start. All of the young people who have been offered places this year are known to the Foundation and receive support via the feeding programme and other projects. In future, when more classrooms have been built, students from other primary schools other than Chambo primary school will be able to attend.

As you will see, there were enough chairs today which have been ‘borrowed’ from the library. Any more students coming later in the week will have to sit on mats on the floor. There are 130 chairs on the container that should be arriving in the next three or four weeks. Desks are something we are still fundraising for and more textbooks so if you are able to support the young people with this then we (and they) would be very grateful. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Enjoy the videos and photos, Sarah x

Textbooks, notepads & desks

Sarah’s blog 1/11/22

It’s so exciting that phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School has been completed. Levison says that people are walking from all around coming to see the new school that has been built. They are amazed that in a short period of time the first classrooms have been built. It really has been a team effort and we are so very grateful to those of you who have been supporting us to help the children.

Teachers are arriving at the weekend. The school will be accepting the first students on Monday (7 Nov). Levison and I have been making lists of children who will be attending the school and lots of other lists. I have got a shopping list longer than my arm in order to prepare for the children arriving!

Please help me? We need more textbooks (£10), notepads (£10 per 10) buckets with taps for handwashing (£10) buckets with taps for drinking water (£10) as well as lots of other smaller things. Plus, we still need to find money for desks. The carpenter will make these basic tables for three students. We will get there! But need your help which is, as always, very much appreciated. https://gofund.me/44a92444

These are some of the most vulnerable children in the far north of Malawi. They are being given an incredible opportunity to have a good secondary education in their village, free of charge, with small class sizes. Secondary education is fee paying in Malawi and there are not enough places in the other secondary schools which is why we have been fundraising to build a secondary school – Bright Futures Secondary School. Because of your help and support, these children will have opportunities, they will have brighter futures. Education is their way out of poverty. They are desperate to go to school.

If you are able to donate to buy a textbook, some notepads, a bucket for handwashing or for clean drinking water at the school then here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444

Also, we are selling our fundraising calendars are £10 each + £2 p&p. If we can sell lots of calendars, then I can send money to purchase some of the things from my shopping list. Can you help please? The calendars make great Christmas gifts, and I can post them to you or the recipient. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Let’s give the gift of education and continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thank you, Sarah x

The school has been built!

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 – raising the roof!

Sarah’s blog 20/10/22

This blog comes with very mixed feelings. We are so near to completing the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. But we aren’t quite there yet. The children need us. The children need you. Https://gofund.me/44a92444 Please donate to help the most vulnerable children have their own school.

I am absolutely delighted by the progress of everything that is happening in Malawi. I’m proud of our fundraising and so thankful to all of you who have helped us to support the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi to have an education. I’m so proud of the hard work that Levison and his team are doing to project manage all the building work. The builders, carpenters and others who are helping are doing everything they can to make Bright Futures Secondary School a reality.

You will see from today’s photos that the staff accommodation is now complete. Due to the rural location, for safety and convenience, female staff will be offered accommodation. The staff latrine is underway. Due to the dry soil, it is very hard work but should be completed by the start of the week.

Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 1. These two classrooms are taking shape and are going to be an amazing place to learn. The most vulnerable young people, many of them orphans, will be able to have the education they deserve and a brighter future with a way out of poverty.

However, we need to raise more money. Over the last few months, due to the cost-of-living crisis, fundraising has become more challenging. So, the fact that people have been so generous is even more amazing. Now we need another big push… please help us to finish these classrooms and give the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444

The roof panels are already bought and are being fixed over the next couple of days. But window frames and glass need to be bought, classroom doors need to be bought, as well as some plastering and flooring. We have 130 chairs on the container that is on its way, as well as school uniform and school bags and stationery. But we do need to build desks and buy some more textbooks.

Please, please if you can, help us to provide a Bright Future at Bright Futures Secondary School for the children and young people we are supporting. It’s always about teamwork and we cannot do this without your help. Please help us to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Enjoy these photos and I’ll keep posting more over the next couple of days. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x https://gofund.me/44a92444

The staff accommodation block is now complete
Builders have been working hard and this accommodation block is now complete
Cleaning the floors of the accommodation block
The first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School is looking amazing
The builders are working extrememely hard
The carpenters are doing a great job
Almost ready for the metal sheets to go on
The metal sheets are now going on the roof
Fixing the metal roof panels
on the roof…you can see one of the existing latrine blocks in the background
the roof should be completed within the next couple of days
digging the new latrine is extremely hard work due to the ground being so dry
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