Today, Stuart and I started packing boxes ready for the next container going to Malawi. We’ve had these amazing kids football strips from Riverside Football Club in Stirling. They were donated to Replay Sport Scotland who passed it to us for use by the vulnerable young people we help to support in rural northern Malawi.
Replay Sport Scotland have already donated sports clothes to our charity which are currently on their way to Malawi. We look forward to seeing photos of those clothes and also the Riverside Football Club kits when they arrive in Malawi.
Thank you Riverside Football Club and thank you Replay Sport Scotland. These donations will make a big difference to the young people who love playing team sports. Thanks, Sarah x
“We are delighted to be supporting you and congratulate you on your work.” The Clive Richards Foundation
Sarah’s blog 26/09/23
After a difficult couple of weeks, can you imagine my surprise and joy when I opened an email yesterday from The Clive Richards Foundation .
I had first contacted them regarding a grant a few months ago. We made it through the first round of applications, then I had an online interview with one of their trustees. I then had to produce more information to be shared with the rest of their trustees at their next meeting. That meeting happened last week and we are so pleased to be chosen as a recipient of a grant.
It makes such a difference when we know people trust us to carry out projects with their money. This grant will pay for a teachers’ accommodation block and teachers’ latrines. They recognise the fact that we have to have accommodation in place to attract teachers to Bright Futures Secondary School. The poverty levels are such that there is nowhere suitable for staff to rent locally. We are very grateful for this money to support education for some of the most vulnerable teenagers in rural northern Malawi. Hopefully, this can be built before the rainy season comes.
Here are some quotes from the letter I received informing me that Changing Lives Malawi had been successful and would be receiving money for our project.
Thank you so much to the trustee at The Clive Richards Foundation for believing in us and putting our project forward to the other trustees. It’s always about teamwork and I’m happy to play a small part in that team. No doubt, photos will follow over the next few weeks, Sarah x
“I’m delighted to inform you that The Trustees have agreed to fund the project to the requested amount of £11,000…..we were impressed with the work you are doing.”
“We are delighted to be supporting you and congratulate you on your work.”
This year’s S1 students at Bright Futures Secondary School. They have received gifts of uniform, shoes and school bags.
Sarah’s blog 20/09/23
Firstly, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated school uniform and school bags for the vulnerable students at Bright Futures Secondary School. Levison said that one of them had said ‘we never expected to have such good quality clothes as this’. So thank you for making a big difference to them and helping them feel important and valued for a change.
Secondly, another huge THANK YOU to the charity Sal’s Shoes Our Story – Sal’s Shoes (salsshoes.com). We were gifted three big boxes of shoes for the teenagers at Bright Futures Secondary School. We are very grateful for this support and we know the young people are delighted to have proper shoes to wear. It has such an impact on their confidence and self-esteem that people who don’t even know them have shown they care about the students by donating uniform and shoes. Now they all look smart and are able to have a sense of pride in their appearance. Proper shoes are also very important when the young people are walking the long distances to and from school across rough ground. Thank you again Sal’s Shoes for all that you do, all the hard work of your volunteers and for everyone who donates shoes to you to pass on to those who need them.
Here are photos of the new S1 students at Bright Futures Secondary School. All of them are vulnerable. All have been given shoes, uniform and school bags. The Only a few of them have sponsors to support their education through secondary school. If you are able to support one of these young people then please do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org It’s £25 per month to sponsor a young person. Or you could commit to £5 or £10 per month to help pay for school lunches. Each student gets a nutritious cooked lunch each day at Bright Futures Secondary School….for many it is their only proper meal of the day. These young people cannot be expected to concentrate and learn if they have no food in their tummies. Your help would be very much appreciated. The more people who help us support these young people, the more young people we can help and then we can offer places at Bright Futures Secondary School to additional young people. Thank you, Sarah x
Eligible children were given polio vaccinations this week
Sarah’s blog 16/09/23
As schools and nurseries started back in Malawi this week, so did the Malawi Health Department’s National Polio Vaccination programme. It is the aim to vaccinate all children between the ages of 5 and 15. So, when health officials arrived during the week, the eligible children and young people lined up to receive their vaccines.
It has been such a busy week as Levison is juggling projects; builders, carpenters, new teachers and far more young people turning up to register for Bright Futures Secondary School than they are able to accommodate. However, teachers and students have all reported that they’ve had a positive first week and are pleased with the new classroom accommodation.
Lots more photos to follow next week. Thanks for your support, Sarah x
S3 students at Bright Futures Secondary School deserved a treat for passing their S2 national exams
Sarah’s blog 13/09/23
Schools across Malawi started back on Monday. We were so thankful that the new classroom block at Bright Futures Secondary School was finished in time for the new term starting.
We decided that the S3 students deserved a treat for passing their S2 national exams. The whole class passed and this story was even picked up by the national news. An amazing achievement for some of the most vulnerable students in Malawi. Many of them are orphans. Most don’t eat properly every day (apart from their cooked lunch at school) and most have missed school at some point to try and earn a pittance to buy themselves and their families some food.
After lessons finished on Monday, the S3 students were given bottles of fizzy drinks and sweets. These are things they would never have. They also had a meal of goat meat, rice, beans and vegetables. Again, meat is something that they might only have once or twice a year at The Feeding Programme. Rice is far more expensive to buy than maize so they don’t usually have rice either. Everyone was really happy and delighted to have these unexpected treats. The students were telling their friends in S1 and S2 how they must work really hard to pass their exams too.
The aim at Bright Futures Secondary School is to keep class sizes smaller than the average to ensure that these vulnerable students get the attention they deserve. However, class sizes remain very small as we need more help to feed everyone. Food prices continue to rise and students must be fed as, for many, this is their only meal of the day. How can they concentrate if they have not eaten? If you can help by either sponsoring a teenager’s education or commit a monthly amount towards school lunches then please get in touch email@example.com . The bigger the team who are supporting school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School the more young people we can help to educate.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the school project; Bright Futures Secondary School is an amazing learning environment. There will be more photos and videos later in the week as school supplies are handed out. Thanks again, Sarah x
The new term starts tomorrow and the new classrooms are ready just in time
Sarah’s blog 10/09/23
Just a few photos before the new school term starts tomorrow in Malawi.
The new classroom block at Bright Futures Secondary School has been finished, names have been written over the doors. The carpenter is making some extra desks that will be finished in a couple of days.
Three classes of students will arrive tomorrow. What the s3 class don’t know is that some of our trustees have sent money for a celebration for them tomorrow afternoon. All S3 (well last year’s s2) passed their national exams… a great achievement. So they will be having a treat tomorrow.
Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us to enable this to happen. It’s an amazing achievement and we are delighted that the classrooms are ready just in time.
Purple sky at sunset over the new classroom block at Bright Futures Secondary School
Sarah’s blog 8/9/23
Teamwork has done it again! Thank you so much everyone who has helped to make this happen. Classrooms 3 & 4 will be completed before school starts on Monday morning. Classroom 4 will be used as a staffroom/meeting room/general purpose room for this year until it’s needed for students in year 4 next year. The current staffroom is a bit too small for the extra teachers this term. We are fortunate to have this extra space this year.
The building looks amazing and the students are delighted that they have lovely classrooms and a great learning environment. Boxes have arrived with science equipment, reference books, pens, pencils and exercise books. Lots of photos will be taken over the next couple of weeks of the students receiving the equipment they need.
We are still fundraising for more latrines for the students and for extra staff accommodation as there is nowhere suitable in the village to rent due to the level of poverty. If you would like to help us a little bit further then the donation page is https://gofund.me/ece5753a or you can get in touch for bank details firstname.lastname@example.org . We are still looking for sponsors for these very vulnerable students if anyone would like to make a real difference to one young person. Please email for more details on sponsorship. These students need a sponsor
Many thanks again to everyone who supports us to help the whole community out of poverty, Sarah x
Can you help one of these vulnerable young people ? John is 14 and wearing a girl’s ‘brownie’ t-shirt (probably age 8-10). John is malnourished and needing help. Will you sponsor him or one of his friends? http://www.changinglivesmalawi.com
It’s been a difficult morning for me, but even more so for Levison. Yesterday registration opened for the returning pupils and new pupils at Bright Futures Secondary School. Yesterday over 70 families came. Today more families and their young people continue to arrive asking for free education at Bright Futures Secondary School.
We want to be able to say ‘yes’ to all of them. However, we cannot. We need to be sensible as the school costs money to run. It is the food prices that are crippling…prices have increased so much. All students at Bright Futures Secondary School get a free school lunch each day. This is a cooked, nutritious meal and, for most, it is their only proper food of the day. We will not stop feeding the students as how can they concentrate if the haven’t eaten? How can they sleep if they have stomach ache from hunger? How can we expect them to do their best and achieve without their basic needs being met?
This is where we need your help again. As I always say, it’s teamwork and we cannot help this community without you. These young people need a sponsor to help pay for their education. They are all malnourished. They are all extremely vulnerable. Will you help us to help them please? Being a sponsor is only £25 p/m. You can sponsor as an individual, as a family or two friends can split the cost of sponsorship between them. £25 is less than £1 per day. Much less than the price of a takeaway coffee. Will you give your support? email@example.com
Or could you commit £5 or £10 per month towards school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School? firstname.lastname@example.org for our bank details. Several people each giving £5 per month would make a big difference to how much food can be bought. Can you commit £5 please?
Thank you so much to everyone who has/is supporting us to help these students. We are so grateful that they now have choices and chances for a brighter future. Can you give one of these young people the same chances? Can you be a sponsor? Thank you, Sarah x
Bright Futures Secondary School will reopen next Monday and classrooms 3 & 4 are almost ready!
Sarah’s blog 04/09/23
I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since I last wrote a blog. It has been so busy and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to try to get things ready for school starting back in Malawi next Monday.
Tomorrow is registration day. All students who have been given a place at Bright Futures Secondary School will be coming to register and have their photos taken. There will be some who will be looking for sponsors to help support their education. If you would be interested in being a sponsor it’s £25 p/m (or two friends can split this cost). email@example.com
As there will be three classes this year, extra teachers have been employed. Money has been sent from a generous donation of £500 for the carpenter to build more desks. We’ve also sent money for some text books to be bought and for exercise books for all the students. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough money yet to buy all the text books we need, so if anyone could help with that we would be very grateful.
Also, we are still raising money for more latrines and we would be delighted if you could spare a few £££. Money for text books and latrines can be added to our school fundraiser https://gofund.me/ece5753a .
Have a look at these photos to see how hard the builders have been working! Let’s build a school! Bright Futures Secondary School now has four classrooms! Classroom 4 will be used for a combination of agricultural classes, sewing classes, a meeting room and study space until it is needed next year for the next intake of students. Thank you so much everyone for your continued support, Sarah x
Maria Chizumira is an orphan living with her aunt and younger sister….
Sarah’s blog 24/08/23
Maria Chizumira is an orphan living with her aunt and younger sister. They are living in extreme poverty. Maria had missed school so she could try to help earn some money to buy food. When she was 15, having failed her primary school leavers exams, she asked Levison for help with her school work. Levison has previously commented to me how hard she works and how Maria will help out around the Foundation.
Maria managed to pass her primary school leavers exams and we found a sponsor for her. She went to Chisenga Secondary School for s1 and then, when Bright Futures Secondary School opened in November last year, she transferred there for s2 and worked hard for her s2 exams. Unfortunately, Maria found out she was pregnant a few months ago and this was obviously a big shock to her. However, Maria kept studying and working hard at school. She sat her s2 national exams along with her classmates while she was just weeks away from giving birth.
When her baby was due, unfortunately she needed a c-section which was very traumatic for her. Her baby boy, Wasika, arrived safely and they have both recovered well. Last week we heard that all the s2 students, including Maria, passed their s2 national exams. Maria intends to start back to school next month and her auntie will help with childcare.
Whilst having a baby before finishing education isn’t ideal, if these vulnerable teenagers didn’t have secondary education, far more of them would be pregnant and being married off too young. Secondary education in Malawi has to be paid for. Bright Futures Secondary School is free for those who cannot pay and has part-funded places for those who can contribute.
Education is the best way out of poverty and all the students want to work hard and reach their potential. We are proud of them all, especially how hard Maria has worked, and we know that her little boy Wasika will be proud of her too. Maria’s younger sister, Ethel, has just passed her primary school leavers exams. She came and asked for a place at Bright Futures Secondary School and is delighted that she now has a place in s1 next month and that we have matched her with a sponsor.
Bright Futures Secondary School will continue supporting students like Maria. Classrooms 3 & 4 are well underway for next session. However, we still need to buy text books, build a latrine block and build more teachers’ accommodation. If you are able to donate students, like Maria, will be very grateful to you. https://gofund.me/ece5753a .Thanks, Sarah x
Bright Futures Secondary School is a big project and, because of costs, we have had to divide it into phases. We were asked to support this project due to lack of places available at the nearest secondary school and the fact that the vulnerable young people we help to support couldn’t afford to pay for secondary school.
In November 22 phase 1 opened with two classrooms. Numbers of students in each class were smaller during last year as we couldn’t offer a full school year because the classrooms weren’t finished for the school year starting in September. However, small class sizes have obviously been of huge benefit to the very vulnerable students who were in our first intake. All students in s2 passed their national exams which is an amazing achievement. Two news outlets in Malawi have picked up on this good news. In the news!100% exam pass rate S2 BFSS
We knew that another classroom would be needed for term starting September 23. However, we didn’t know whether we would be able to achieve this. Prices have kept going up in Malawi so any quotes we got for work were soon out of date and we did wonder if s3 classes would have to be held in the library until we had raised more money.
Thankfully, once again, people have helped us. We have had a few successful grant applications and generous donations. We have had people raising money for us. On behalf of the students (and future students) of Bright Futures Secondary School we thank everyone so very much. We are pleased to report that we have enough money for the next classroom block. The decision was taken to build classrooms 3 and 4 together as this was more cost effective. Classroom 4 will be able to be used for meetings, study and also sewing classes this year until it is needed for teaching an s4 class next year. It seemed like an impossible task a few weeks ago but it is happening for the students!
What we do still need, as we have to employ more teachers for the extra class, is more accommodation for the teachers. We also need to build more latrines and buy more textbooks. We can do this but need your continued help and support. Together we are making a difference and changing lives and giving these vulnerable young people the chance of a brighter future. They deserve investment in their education as this is their way out of the extreme poverty in which they are living. Education will have and impact on them, their families and their whole community. Will you help us again please?
https://gofund.me/ece5753a is our fundraiser where you can donate to help us provide staff accommodation in order to attract good teachers. We also need to build another latrine block for the students.
Could you help us by sponsoring a vulnerable student for £25 p/m? Students receive school uniform and other clothes, a free school lunch each day and all the equipment they need for school.
Or could you commit to £5 or £10 p/m towards a nutritious school lunch each day for all the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. For many, this is their only meal of the day. firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s build a school!
Here is a photo dump and videos to show how hard the builders have been working over the past few weeks to ensure that the fantastic s2 pupils who all passed their exams have a classroom to continue their secondary education. There will also be a new class of needy children who have just left primary school to come to Bright Futures Secondary School, as well as last year’s s1 class moving up to s2. What has been achieved is fantastic and it’s thanks to your support and teamwork. Thank you, Sarah x
Please support grassroots rugby in rural northern Malawi. £5 to have a chance to win a signed Scotland Rugby Shirt. https://gofund.me/46e63377
Sarah’s blog 21/8/23
It’s just over a month until Jack Maphande, Malawi Rugby Development Officer, returns to Chitipa for a second visit. Jack introduced rugby to the far north of Malawi on his first visit. He spent time with the older orphans and they loved it and picked up the skills quite quickly.
There is great excitement as Jack is visiting for two weeks. He is going to be working with the primary schools in the cluster; coaching and then having tournaments between the schools. In the middle weekend he will be spending time again with the orphans and vulnerable young people that we help to support.
We are grateful that lots of rugby kit and rugby balls have been donated and sent to be shared out amongst the schools and we are delighted that Jack has been able to set aside two weeks to visit which will benefit so many young people. We are so pleased that young people will be having the opportunity to learn a new sport, new skills and have fun with their friends. They will get to be children for a while and forget all the daily challenges in their lives.
As well as Jack’s expenses for public transport from Lilongwe and some accommodation and food for the days he isn’t staying at the foundation, we need to provide the children with food on the days that they are playing rugby. No organisations are feeding children in primary schools in this area, so these children are hungry and many are malnourished. We cannot expect them to play rugby and concentrate if they are hungry and have no energy. So we are looking for your help with providing money to buy food.
Scottish Rugby Union have been extremely generous to us. They have donated kit and some Scotland Shirts. They have now also given us two Scotland shirts signed by the Scotland Rugby Team. We are going to raffle these shirts to provide food for the children at this rugby event. Tickets are £5 each and you can purchase a ticket by donating to our fundraiser. https://gofund.me/46e63377 and make sure you write your name so you can be entered into the draw. Thank you in advance for your continued support, Sarah x