Would you help someone if you could? Would you like someone to help you if you needed help? Actions speak louder than words…please help

Sarah’s blog 21/12/21

The other day I asked for kind people to sponsor 9 young people to go to secondary school. They have passed their primary school leavers exams and have a place at secondary school…..but no sponsor to pay their fees.

Imagine this was your family, living in extreme poverty, the young people have missed lots of school to try to earn a pittance to buy soap or food. No one in the family eats properly every day. The children have one good substantial meal each week at the feeding programme but they are still hungry through the week. Unfortunately, there are no big agencies feeding children in schools that far north. How are the children in your family going to complete their education? How are they ever to get out of the extreme poverty that the village is living in? Some young people are orphans, living with grandparents or older siblings. Some orphans have even been matched with foster families. If this situation is to improve, then education is the key.

Thanks to three sponsors who have come forward, we only have 6 young people left who are desperately needing a helping hand this Christmas. Because the secondary school is so far away, the young people will need to board. So sponsorship will pay for their school fees, boarding, uniform, exercise books, soap, bedding etc and transport to and from school at the start and end of each term.

Please, can you sponsor one of these young people this Christmas? It will be the best present you could ever give them. Can you share the £25 monthly payment with family or a friend? It’s less than 50p per day if you share sponsorship. Please help. Only 6 young people left to be matched with sponsors. Or can you share on social media or tell your friends? This is my Christmas wish that all these young people’s dreams come true and that together we can change their lives for the better. Thanks for reading, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Looking for 8 kind people

Sarah’s blog 20/12/21

Yesterday, I put a shout out for sponsors for 9 young people so they could continue their education. Imagine not having the money to send your children or grandchildren to secondary school or to afford their uniform? Despite the fact they have passed their exams, their education is over because of poverty. How are they ever supposed to escape the dire poverty they live in without education?

Thankfully, I’ve managed to match one young person with a sponsor who made contact today….so that leaves 8 to find. I believe that we can do this. Together we can be the team these children and young people need. Their situation is so bad that the villagers don’t eat every day, we need to change that. By being their helping hand we can make changes. The villagers want to be self-sufficient. We believe that they will be but they need us, who are able, to help them.

So what qualities does a sponsor have? You don’t have to be mega rich….although we would be very pleased if you know people like that who can help us. All you need to have is empathy, kindness and compassion. You can be as involved or not as you wish…some sponsors are very invested in the children they sponsor, others are content to hear how they are getting on and give their sponsor money every month. We need YOU to help us please. If you are already a sponsor, can you spread the word at your work, or amongst your friends and family? Or if you would like to sponsor but can’t commit to £25 per month, could you find a friend to split the cost with so you are each only paying £12.50 a month? Can you share our posts? 8 young people need our help….that isn’t a lot but when you are desperate for someone to take a chance on you it seems impossible.

So can you take a chance on one of our young people please? Can you give the gift of education for £12.50 or £25 per month and change a child’s life and improve the future of a whole village? We would love you to be part of the team that supports these children. Please find a small place in your heart for one of them. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com the new school term starts in January. This could be the best gift you ever give. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Waiting for exam results

Sarah’s blog 14/12/21

Four of our sponsored girls (Telinah, Jean, Milliam & Dinales) have all left school now and are busy helping at The Foundation until their exam results are announced in the new year. They can then decide if they want to stay and work at The Foundation, get a job elsewhere or if they want us to try to help them into further education.

36 sponsored young people will be heading to secondary school in January. This includes 22 who have just finished primary school. As long as they pass their exams, which should be out later this week, 22 will be starting first year, 12 young people will be going into second year and 2 into fourth year. This is a huge achievement for a village where it was just accepted that children and young people do not get the chance to go to secondary school. This is one of the many ways that sponsors are helping to change the lives of these young people. SPONSORING A CHILD gives the gift of education and gives these young people chances that they never thought were meant for them. Sponsoring a child is probably one of the most important things you will ever do. £25 per month can change the future for a young person. We still have lots of primary school leavers whom we haven’t found sponsors for yet, so if you can help as an individual, two friends, a family or a business then please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

As soon as Levison hears exam results and that all our children have passed we have a big list of shopping to get. Uniforms, shoes, bedding, buckets for washing clothes, bags, plates, cups, towels, flip-flops, soap, exercise books and pens and the list goes on…… Usually, the school term starts in February but this time it’s January 3rd to catch up from schools being closed due to covid last year. So if you do have £25 to spare (or two friends with £12.50 each) could you give one of these children, who still don’t have sponsors, the gift of education? Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Good news for two girls – the gift of education

Sarah’s blog 26/11/21

Levison asked me to put an appeal out for sponsors for Eunice and Maria. They were both desperate to get to secondary school, both hard workers and Eunice has been described as being a bright girl. Thankfully, a generous supporter contacted me and offered to sponsor both these girls to make their dreams of secondary education come true. There are still lots of young people waiting for that chance and if you can help to give them the gift of education it’s less than £1 per day….you can share this cost with a friend or a business could sponsor a child. Can you make a young person’s dreams come true? Thank you for joining the team that supports these young people. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . Thanks for reading, Sarah x

“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person”

Sarah’s blog 21/11/21

Following on from yesterday’s post, Levison has specifically asked if these two girls could please be matched with sponsors. They are both desperate to go to secondary school. Both are hard working. Eunice has just finished p8 and is very bright. She has no way of finishing her education without a sponsor. Maria had finished primary school with nowhere to go so Levison added her to the apprenticeship scheme despite not having a sponsor. Levison has said what a good worker Maria is and is keen to learn and wants the chance to go to school.

Please, please find it in your heart to change the world for one of these girls. Eunice and Maria both need a helping hand. Will that be you? It’s only £25 a month to sponsor a child. You can sponsor as an individual, family, two friends, a group or a business. If you are unable to commit at this time, then please share. Potential sponsors are out there somewhere so by sharing you could be matching these girls with the support they require.

Also, by sharing, you will be supporting our small team of volunteers. We’ve had a difficult few months and we are eternally grateful for those of you who have continued to trust us and see, by our actions, that we are working hard for the orphans and other vulnerable children in Northern Malawi. I am having to do less hours for the next two weeks, but I will still be available each day, prioritising my family and myself, so I would be absolutely delighted if we could grow our team of supporters and find Eunice and Maria the help they need. Can you sponsor Eunice please? Can you sponsor Maria? Can you share our posts on social media? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Another two girls are going to secondary school!

Sarah’s blog 17/11/21

January is only a few weeks away and I’ve been trying to find sponsors for the young people who have finished primary school. Without sponsors they have no hope of getting to secondary school. They don’t have enough money to eat a proper meal each day…so how are they going to afford the fees for secondary school? The children and young people’s concentration, self-esteem, confidence, school attendance and their exam results have improved now that they have been given new clothes and they attend the feeding programme each weekend at The Foundation. Approximately 500 children are fed a nutritious meal once a week. If we could afford it, we would be feeding them twice a week or providing money for the children to be fed at school. There are no big charities feeding children in the far north of Malawi, so children walk from as far as 20km away for their one proper meal of the week at The Foundation.

Soon, the young people who are lucky enough to be matched with sponsors and whose lives have now amazingly changed direction, will all need measuring for school uniform and shoes. All their bags, soap, exercise books, pencil cases etc will all need to be bought too. It’s going to be a busy time.

However, there are some young people still waiting for that chance of education. There are photos of some of them below. It’s £25 per month to support a young person to go to school. You could be a sponsor as an individual, a family, split the cost with a friend or sponsor from your club or business. Every little helps as the saying goes…it might not seem like much to us, but to one of these young people it will be the biggest gift they’ve ever received. To change a life please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or send us a message. We are on facebook, instagram & twitter. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Sarah’s blog 7/11/21

There are so many rights in this document but I’m just highlighting a few today with regards to the hundreds of children and young people supported by The William Stewart Foundation in rural Northern Malawi.

‘Children have the right to clean water to drink, healthy food, clothes and a safe environment to live in.’

‘Every child who has been placed somewhere away from home should have their situation checked regularly to see if everything is going well and if this is still the best place for the child to be.’

‘Every child has the right to an education. Primary education should be free. Secondary and higher education should be available to every child. Children should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level possible.’

‘Every child has the right to rest, relax, play and take part in cultural and creative activities.’

These are just a few of the statements I have picked out of the document. Things are obviously very different in Malawi than they are here but you can see that we are supporting Levison and his team to help the children holistically.

How can they learn if they are hungry and can’t concentrate? How can they go to school without clothes to wear? How will their self-esteem be if they are in rags compared to their friends? What about if they don’t have soap to wash themselves and their clothes?

The children are benefitting from all the work being done to support them at The Foundation. There are now showers, clean water to drink, they are fed at the weekend, new clothes and shoes gifted, there are crops in the fields, books to read, foster families found for children completely on their own and skills for life taught to the children. There is also a nursery for 50 pre-school children which meets (and feeds them) three times a week. Apprentices are learning skills whilst they work and other children are going to school.

So much good is happening but there is still so much to do that we need your help with. We are all part of the team around these orphans and other vulnerable children. So please help us if you can. We need CHILD SPONSORS and FUNDRAISERS, and loads of volunteers in between! Whatever your skills or finances, we would welcome your help. We have lots of sustainable gifts for Christmas too that we are hoping people will buy. Please get in touch. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

A small act of kindness with big rewards

Sarah’s blog 5/11/21

What have you spent money on today? There are things we need and bills to pay but could you spare 85p per day? What do we waste money on that we don’t need to? Every penny counts when it comes to these children. They don’t have money to waste…they don’t even have enough food to eat every day. They need food and they need secondary education to help them have a chance at a better future. These children cannot afford secondary school fees. Unless they have a helping hand the cycle of poverty will never be broken. Can you help please? Get in touch via the website or by emailing contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Please help us changing lives. You can also help by sharing posts to reach potential sponsors. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

“Just because I can’t walk, doesn’t mean I can’t play”

Sarah’s blog 29/10/21

Mwiza Mtambo is a boy who has touched our hearts. He has additional needs. He has a sponsor and so does one of his three sisters so life is a little bit easier for this family. Life is still very hard though. The dad is sick so cannot work, the mum has to do everything and Mwiza, because he cannot get to school, sits or lies on his mat most of the time. Even if Mwiza was able to get to school, there is no local school with staff and resources to cater for children with additional needs. Life isn’t fair. “Fairness is not giving everyone the same thing. Fairness is giving each person what they need to succeed.”

My background, for those who don’t know me, is Early Years Education, Additional Needs and Social Care. Although I’m not a teacher, I love this quote as it applies to everyone who cares about children with extra needs, “Some see the disabilities, but special education teachers see the possibilities.” Whether your own children have additional needs, you’ve cared for children with additional needs or worked with them. They touch your heart and teach you so much.

Mwiza had previously been given some books in which he showed great interest and his sponsor recently sent him a wooden trainset. This will help his muscles when reaching and hand eye coordination as well as something to stimulate him whilst playing. Mwiza’s sponsor and I had bought and sent a box of resources for Mwiza as he cannot go to school.

The next part of the plan is that there are 4 sponsored girls about to leave school after doing their final exams. They obviously have to wait to find out their results in a couple of months and Levison will discuss with them what they would like to do next; a couple of them have said they would like to train to be teachers. If their grades are good enough, we will try to support them with this and apply for sponsorship grants for their further education. In the meantime, they are all going to be helping at The Foundation. It will be good for the girls to help at the nursery and also for them to visit Mwiza at his home to read to him and play with him and see what progress he makes. I will be able to support with activities if needed and we can monitor progress. A great experience for Mwiza and a great opportunity for potential new student teachers.

Also we are going to source a low chair with a back on it so Mwiza is able to have some support as his muscles tire very easily. I love seeing photos of Mwiza and I hope you do too. We will do another update to share how Mwiza is getting on. Hopefully, this is an insight into how there is so much going on behind the scenes. Each child, each family, has it’s own needs and times of hardship. We are hoping that our group of supporters will grow as time progresses so that we can help more children and families in need. We all need a helping hand from time to time. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Good news for two school girls

Sarah’s blog 28/10/21

We appealed for new sponsors for two of our secondary school girls. Their sponsor was unable to continue with their sponsorship. Tamiwe only has one year left to complete her secondary school education, and Catherine got top marks out of 80 children at primary school so she and one other girl, Emily, won places at Wenya school where they are doing very well. It was important that Tamiwe and Catherine were able to continue their education and not be told that, unfortunately, they were no longer sponsored. Thankfully, a new sponsor has come forward to ensure the two girls complete their schooling. We are very grateful to all our sponsors for the chances they are giving some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi, supported by The William Stewart Foundation. If you can help an orphan have a better life please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . Thanks, Sarah x

The 3 C’s of life: Choices, Chances, Changes

Sarah’s blog 22/10/21

The 3 C’s of life: Choices, Chances, Changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.

This is very true for most of us. However, if you are living in poverty, a lot of those choices might not be choices that are open to you. They are only choices for other people. Those choices don’t apply to people like you. You are too poor to get yourself out of the situation you are in. You are stuck without choices, chances and changes.

What if the choice is to go to primary school today hungry, or work all day for 10p to try to buy some food?

What if the choice is to buy some food or to buy a candle so you can have light to do your homework?

What if you want to go to get a job but you’ve no shoes and and only have rags to wear?

What if you’ve worked really hard at primary school, passed your leavers exams but you cannot go to secondary school because you can’t afford the school fees?

The hundreds of vulnerable children supported by The William Stewart Foundation don’t have the choices that we take for granted. Choices aren’t for the most vulnerable. Chances for a better future aren’t going to happen by themselves. Change cannot happen without help. Without our help. Without your help.

These children want to have choices, have chances and make changes. They need opportunities and they need us. Eventually, they will be self-sufficient, but they need our compassion and commitment in the short term. Can you help a vulnerable young person to go to secondary school for four years? It’s less than £1 a day to sponsor a young person and give them choices and chances to make positive changes. Can you help us change lives in Malawi? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com The young people below are all looking for a sponsor to have the chance of education. thanks for reading, Sarah x

Reading in Emma’s Rainbow Library

Sarah’s blog 17/10/21

Fundraising enabled a library to be built and named after Emma Buchanan, a lovely girl who sadly passed away. She loved reading and, if she had been in better health, would have loved to have visited Malawi.

Shelves have been built in the library and we’ve been sending books. There are more on the next container; educational books as well as fiction. Also some tables and chairs.

This morning Levison sent me photos of young people sitting reading in the library. I asked if he could ask a couple of the young people what they were reading and why they picked the books that they had. It was really enlightening to hear from them and find out a bit a more information.

Moses is in the white t-shirt and Lameck in the pink t-shirt. Moses has a sponsor and is on the apprenticeship scheme. Lameck doesn’t have a sponsor and does casual piece work to try to buy food.

Moses said he wanted to look at stories in books and, if possible, wants to write his own stories. Unfortunately, Moses had only completed his first year in secondary school and then dropped out due to lack of resources and money to pay his fees. He then was able to be sponsored to go on the apprenticeship scheme for two years. After hearing he would like to write stories, I contacted his sponsor today to ask if they would be willing to support Moses for three years if he was to go back to secondary school and finish his education as Levison said that is what Moses would love to do. His sponsor was delighted to be able to help with this. Moses will find out tomorrow that he is able to return to secondary school in January and I’m sure he will work hard.

Lameck told Levison that he was interested in learning more about culture so that’s why he chose that book. Lameck has no sponsor. He didn’t even complete primary school and sit his leavers exams through no fault of his own. He only had rags to wear. He didn’t have notebooks and pencils that he needed to write his lessons. He had no choice but to drop out of primary school. So, despite wanting to learn, unless his luck changes, he is destined for a low paid job (if he can find a steady job) or doing piece work as and when work is available.

It would be amazing if someone could sponsor Lameck to go on the apprenticeship scheme for two years to be taught practical skills or if he could finish his last year in primary school, do his exams, and then go to secondary school for four years. It’s £25 per month to sponsor a child or young person. You can sponsor as an individual or a family or share the cost with a friend. Can you imagine if we hadn’t been able to go to school because we didn’t have a notebook and pencil? Sponsoring Lameck might be the most important thing anyone ever does for him. Can you give Lameck the gift of education. Please? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

Lots of young people reading books in the library this morning. Lameck was reading about history and culture and Moses was reading different books with stories as he’d like to write stories too.
Moses had completed one year of secondary school but dropped out due to poverty. His sponsor has been supporting him on the apprenticeship programme but is going to support him to go back to school. Life is looking good for Moses thanks to his sponsor.

Lameck didn’t even get to finish primary school due to extreme poverty and has been trying to do casual work ever since to buy food. Lameck deserves a chance to finish his last year of primary school and go on to secondary school. He clearly likes learning and reading and is trying to better himself. Please can you give Lameck the gift of education?

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