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 “
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
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
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 email@example.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
In Malawi, children in their last year of primary school and in the second year of secondary school, have all been busy with exams. The fourth year of secondary school will sit exams in October. Just like for our children, it’s a stressful time and a lot of pressure for the young people.
However, unlike most of our children, the children supported by The Foundation, have faced huge trauma. Most children have had family members who have passed away. Children are being cared for by extended family or another family have taken them in. Even if children are still with their parents or one parent, there is not enough food coming into their homes to enable the children to eat properly every day. Some children may have one basic meal a day, others might have to go without food or try to find food themselves.
We send money to support The Feeding Programme which feeds 500+ children once a week. They get a substantial and nutritious meal. Some children walk up to 20km for that meal as there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in that area. We would love to be able to feed the children more often but costs are rising and we, along with The Foundation, are trying to work holistically, so that money is also going to future projects for the benefit of the whole community and for them to be self-sufficient.
Teachers have noticed a difference in the concentration of the children and young people who are supported by The Foundation just from that one meal a week at the Feeding Programme. Imagine the difference if they were able to have more food more often? Once the fruit tree saplings have matured and are producing fruit the children will be able to have fruit to supplement their diet.
Children have had clean clothes instead of the rags they were wearing and are attending school more regularly and their self-esteem is better. However, are they sleeping properly? Are they cold? Are hunger pains keeping them awake? Most of the children supported by The Foundation won’t have anything to eat before school. They certainly won’t have anything to eat during school…if they are lucky they may have something once they get home. Sponsored children receive a monthly food parcel to supplement the food in their homes. All children are malnourished to different extents. Some children have stunted growth due to lack of food and nutrients in their early life. All 500+ children need our help.
The nursery has been set up for preschool children three times a week. It was intended for 50 children but now 75 children attend. They are fed at each session. There is some porridge provided by Feed The Children, for which we are grateful, but it doesn’t last long so we are supporting feeding these hungry children. These preschool children still aren’t having enough food and nutrition but what they are getting is more than the older children. Year on year the children should have better nutrition. We also want to be helping expectant mothers, babies and toddlers.
I’m typing as the thoughts are coming into my head so I am sorry if this isn’t flowing as well as it should, but the children’s wellbeing is very important to me and I have so many ideas sometimes my fingers can’t keep up with my brain!
So are we expecting too much from these vulnerable children and young people who are doing exams? Would we send our children into an exam without breakfast? Imagine if a child hadn’t been eating enough for a long period of time…how can they learn if they are hungry and tired? Basic needs have to be met first before children can start thinking about anything else. Have they slept properly on the ground in their very basic home? Unless they are sponsored, they don’t have a torch to do homework after 6pm when it gets dark each day. What about the trauma of people they love passing away? Girls had been missing out on school for one week every month until the Period Poverty Project was established. Some children had missed lots of school to try to earn a pittance to buy food.
The odds of achieving had been stacked against them. But things are changing. As long as the children are trying their best then that’s all we can ask of them or expect of them. Whether they pass exams or they don’t, they will have learned more being in school than out of school, also they are safer in school and there is less risk of teenage pregnancy and girls being married off too soon. Their literacy skills and numeracy skills will be better than if they hadn’t attended school. These skills will help the young people in future whatever they do. These children are doing brilliantly to do what they do each day, to learn at school. In the local primary, apart from year 8 all the children are sitting on the floor. Another issue we want to address when we can.
What I am trying to say is that the orphans and other vulnerable children, whether at primary school or at secondary school have had a very tough life so far and have missed out on some of the basics that every child should have. Hopefully, because we are introducing books in the nursery, library and primary schools and because children are having more nutrition, we should see literacy levels rise each year and children achieving better results in their exams. But, just like anywhere in the world, not all children are academic and so they should be supported to learn a trade or whatever they want to do. These children are brilliant. They are resilient. They are survivors. We are proud of each and every one of them. They will have brighter futures with a team supporting them at The Foundation.
We are looking to partner with businesses, clubs, families or individuals who will commit to a monthly donation towards the feeding programme. We have a few people already helping us with this and we’d love more people to help and share the costs so that these children can have at least two decent meals each week. We sent money for fruit tree saplings and we want to send more money so this is a future source of food and a source of income. If you would like to support the feeding programme with a monthly donation then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . We will continue making a difference with your help and we will continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading and supporting the children, Sarah x
There is always something happening in Ibuluma and here. Being part of a small charity means that there is always something to do! I wanted to show you some photos of progress that is being made with the brick making.
I’ve shared some photos of the bricks being made and now they are being stacked to make the kilns and fire them. These are amazing structures, it takes skill to stack them properly…the gaps underneath are for the fires which will be lit and kept alight all night.
Some money has been saved by bricks being made rather than bought. However the biggest costs of building classrooms are the cement and the roof panels. We hope that you will be able to spare a few £££ to help provide the gift of education with this much needed secondary school. Here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 to our fundraiser. Please help if you can. If we all donate a few £££ then we will reach our target much quicker.
Also I’ll share the link to Traci’s story from yesterday of her 30km walk for our school fundraiser. It’s Traci’s birthday today…so happy birthday Traci and I hope you are sitting with your feet up today! Traci’s kilometre challenge – update – Changing Lives Malawi . Thanks for reading and supporting and I hope you enjoy these photos of the progress being made, Sarah x
Jackie has written an update below of how the challenge is going.
Douglas & Lynda have been walking some of the Fife Coastal path and clocked up 67.5km. They also sent some beautiful photos. Thank you to both of them for their continued support.
Stuart and I managed some r&r in the East Neuk of Fife too and have added our km although nowhere near as impressive. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x
“Hello All – Well the BALFRON TO BRIGHT FUTURES SECONDARY SCHOOL CHALLENGE has just passed its first month
The various people involved (a small team of 7 so far) have clocked up 1,817.805km. In addition the kids in Malawi have run 320km to join in.
This is a total of 2,137.805km an amazing 16.26% of the way to walk/cycle/run/hop/skip/jump the 13,144km that represents the journey from Balfron to Ibuluma in Northern Malawi.
So far over £8k has been raised (a lot off line so the GoFundMe looks a bit light!) but as prices are rising fast in Malawi just like here the sooner material can be bought the better so we really need to raise lots more money sooner rather than later.
Can you help Build the Bright Futures Secondary School? Ways to help:-
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
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
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.
We had a grant from The Souter Charitable Trust for £3,250 for secondary school text books and are very grateful for their support.
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.
I had a fundraiser in May to start off the brickmaking for the school. People were very kind and contributed over £1,000.
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
There have also been some donations straight into the bank account for which we are very thankful.
The not so good news
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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
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.
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
Traci is doing a brilliant job! She’s so committed to this challenge to help build Bright Futures Secondary School in rural Northern Malawi.
You can join in too… even if you are walking round the supermarket your kms will count. We would love children to join in and this could help with getting them out of the house for some fresh air! You can help us give the gift of education to vulnerable children who wouldn’t otherwise get to secondary school. Education is their way out of poverty.
This is what Traci said last night. “Here’s my latest photos of knocking off more Kilometers for Changing Lives Malawi. I’ve now reached 351.21km in the first 28 days. I’m upping my pledge and now aiming to reach 700km by the end of August. https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3 “
Well done Traci! The more people who join in then the quicker the challenge will be finished!
School holidays can be hard for children who need routine and have extra needs. We organised a trip today for our youngest and one of his friends from school to go to https://briarlandsfarm.co.uk.
We had a great time but while chatting his friend asked me what I did as a job. I said that I help children in Africa. She said ‘Why?’ It made me stop and think. ‘Why?’ I answered her saying that the children don’t have enough food to eat and they need clothes to wear too. I told her that uniform from her primary school had been sent for the children to wear. She seemed happy with this answer.
It got me thinking ‘why?’ Well why not? It could easily be me that needed a helping hand. Why shouldn’t we help others wherever they are in the world? Everyone deserves the chance to be the best they can be…they don’t want hand outs, they need a helping hand back to self-sufficiency and a brighter future.
How can children learn properly if they are hungry? If they’ve not slept because of hunger pains or they are cold? If their bodies and brains aren’t nourished and basic needs met then how can we expect them to thrive? Here is really interesting article and why we are supporting some of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi by taking an holistic approach. Unfortunately, there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the rural far north where The Foundation is. We can only afford to feed 500+ children once a week with a substantial, nutritious meal and food costs are going up all the time.
At the nursery, where 75 children meet 3 times a week they are fed at each session. When we build Bright Futures Secondary School, we hope to be able to feed the young people before they start learning for the day. Unfortunately, we cannot feed all the children at the local primary school as there are so many and we do not have the resources. We are changing lives in Malawi and things have improved greatly for some of the most vulnerable children in the rural north but there is still so much to do.
Eventually, children shouldn’t need to be fed in schools when their families are earning a proper wage or having their own small business. Their families will be able to provide food for the children and young people every day. Still some children aren’t eating each day. Their futures depend on being fed and educated. I am glad to be able to play a small part in helping Levison and his team to achieve their dreams for the children they support.
To donate to our fundraiser to build a desperately needed school – Bright Futures Secondary School, you can click on this link https://gofund.me/44a92444