Food is scarce and more expensive. The maize crop hasn’t done well because at the Foundation they couldn’t afford to buy fertilizer. The Foundation is feeding 500+ vulnerable children once a week but obviously this isn’t enough. All are hungry. All are malnourished. No big charities are feeding children in primary schools in the far north of Malawi.
A donation bought sweet potato vines which students at Bright Futures Secondary School helped to plant at the start of April. Levison has sent me photos today and the crop is looking very healthy. The sweet potatoes will be ready at the end of July and will be used to feed the children. The fact that there are so many hungry children, even if this is a great harvest, it won’t last long.
We must find more people who are willing to make a monthly donation to support the feeding programme so that these vulnerable children can keep being fed. Ideally, we would like to feed them more often and we would also like to supply every family with sweet potato vines and other vegetables so that they can grow their own crops. Please email me if you would like to make a regular donation to the feeding programme or if you would like to contribute to buying sweet potato vines that can be shared with vulnerable families to help them become more self sufficient. firstname.lastname@example.org
Agriculture Classes at Bright Futures Secondary School
Sarah’s blog 10/05/23
Agricultural Classes are a core part of the curriculum in Malawi. The students at Bright Futures Secondary School are amongst the most vulnerable in Malawi and would not have been able to attend secondary school as this has to be paid for in Malawi. Bright Futures Secondary School is free of charge.
Today is the start of the primary school leavers. These are national exams and you cannot progress to secondary school if you have not passed these exams. But you can’t go anyway if you cannot pay – even if you have passed your primary school exams.
Because of the huge level of poverty, children and young people drop in and out of school to help their families/carers earn money for food. They earn a pittance for a full day’s work with no food or water. Laston (pictured in one of the photos) worked for a farmer looking after his cows for the equivalent of £1.50 per month. Thankfully, Laston now has a sponsor and is doing well at school. So students are probably 2 or 3 years older than expected becaus they have missed so much school. The older the student, the poorer their family. Most students in these photos are still needing a sponsor to support their education. This will help us pay the teachers salaries, provide uniform and the supplies they need for school and pay for breakfast and lunch each day. It’s £25 per month to sponsor a student. Can you help give one of these students a brighter future? Or you could split the cost with a friend and pay £12.50 p/m each. email@example.com
Thanks to our supporters, phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School was completed and opened in November 22. Students (and teachers) have been working hard and will have exams in a few weeks time. We certainly aren’t expecting all students to pass their exams. We just expect them to do their best. We will obviously be delighted for those who are able to pass exams. These young people have been so malnourished and had such difficult lives that basic survival was all they could manage. Things are improving. Now all students will have a brighter future by being in school. Even if they do not excel in exams they are more literate. They will have better numeracy skills. They will also be learning skills for life. There will be far less teenage pregnancies and child marriages due to young people being in school and being fed in school even if their families cannot afford to feed them.
Self-sufficiency is the end goal for the community we are working with. However, no children in primary schools in the far north of Malawi are being fed by big agencies. All are malnourished and all are hungry. We support a Feeding Programme that feeds 500+ orphans a substantial meal once a week. We wish we could provide more money for food but we are also investing in their education. We would love you to commit to £5 or £10 per month to support the feeding programme as food is getting more and more expensive firstname.lastname@example.org
The Agricultural students at Bright Futures Secondary School have already built a polytunnel using an old trampoline frame we sent. They have started growing vegetables. They have also planted a field of sweet potato vines to produce food to eat. Now, the teacher has set them the task of clearing an area of ground by their homes to plant some vegetables. More skills for life and, hopefully, food to share with their families. Also, if successful, they will have a huge sense of satisfaction and achievement and be more confident about their skills for a brighter future. The photos are just a few of the students. We will look forward to updates from the teacher.
If you’d like to sponsor a student, contribute to the feeding programme or donate towards phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School to build the next classrooms then please email email@example.com or donate to the school fundraiser at https://gofund.me/ece5753a . Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x
Sustainability and self-sufficiency for the community we are working with in rural Northern Malawi is always the end goal. So much is being achieved but there is still so much more to do.
Because no children are being fed in primary schools in that area, all children are malnourished. All children are hungry. No children and young people whom we help to support have enough to eat. We MUST ensure they get food NOW to help them begin to thrive whilst also ensuring that there is food for the future.
This is why we are asking for more people to join our feeding team. By committing to just £5 per month, you will help us feed 500 malnourished children and young people more than just once a week. They deserve our help. They deserve food. They deserve to thrive. They need us. Please will you help us help them? firstname.lastname@example.org Our bank details are: Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, Sort Code 80-22-60, Account Number 21605268. By donating £5 per month you WILL make a difference. You WILL help a child thrive. Please put ‘feeding’ as the reference.
It is a juggling act because we cannot spend all of the donations we receive on feeding the 500 orphans and other vulnerable children and young people. That just isn’t sustainable and there will be nothing to help the community be self-sufficient in the future. So whilst we are investing in this vulnerable community’s future, we need more help from our supporters to be able to provide enough food for the children now.
A couple of years ago, over 100 fruit tree saplings were bought and planted at The Foundation. The orchard was named after my lovely mother-in-law who had recently passed away. We made a personal donation towards buying some fruit tree saplings and lots more were bought by other people through an appeal. Unfortunately, the weather and also termites have killed some of the saplings. However, the majority are thriving and I was delighted with these photos that Levison sent me yesterday.
Amazingly the guava saplings are producing fruit now, even though the plants are still quite small. The orange and lemon saplings are doing well but have no fruit yet. Some more saplings are going to be planted soon. We would also love people to help pay for more saplings email@example.com Our bank details are: Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, Sort Code 80-22-60, Account Number 21605268. £5 will buy two fruit tree saplings. Please put ‘saplings’ as the reference.
The hope is that this project will be sustainable for people and planet. Planting more trees is obviously vital for the planet and climate change. It will also help prevent against soil erosion in the heavy rains. Levison will send photos of the children eating the guavas when they are ready to be harvested in about a month’s time. In future years, especially if you help us plant more trees, there will be fruit for the children to eat and there will be extra fruit that will be able to be sold which will bring in an income for The Foundation. It’s really exciting to see the trees bearing fruit….may this be the first of many harvests supporting the 500 malnourished children.
I’ve put the links to previous posts about the fruit tree saplings and the orchard. I know Levison would like to also grow bananas in addition to the fruit trees in Isa’s Orchard. Who is driving you bananas that you would like to name a banana plantation after? Enjoy the photos of the first guava fruits and thank you for your support, Sarah x
Students were busy planting sweet potato vines after lessons today
Sarah’s blog 04/04/23
It’s Easter School Holidays in Malawi as well as here but we had arranged to support an Easter Study School for students. We had to arrange for them to be fed each day so they would be able to concentrate and study. We are still looking for supporters to contribute towards these extra costs please. firstname.lastname@example.org for our bank details or text FEEDING to 70480 to donate £5 towards feeding these hungry, vulnerable students. As the saying goes….every little helps!!
Maize is getting more and more scarce and more expensive as it is the rainy season and also because a lot of maize is being redistributed to the south of Malawi for the victims of the recent cyclone, meaning that it is becoming really difficult to secure enough food.
We sent some money last week as Levison had been able to secure some maize and beans towards feeding the students for the next two weeks. However, due to heavy rain and flooding, it wasn’t safe to go and fetch these supplies. Three days passed with heavy rain and the roads were more and more muddy. Would there be any food for students on Monday?
Levison was able to make a shorter journey on Saturday, in between the rain showers, to collect sweet potato vines. These were paid for by a donation for which we are very grateful. On Sunday late afternoon Levison and one of his staff set off to collect the maize and beans knowing that it was needed for the next day. However, their truck got stuck in the mud….they were there for 6 hours until another truck passed and was able to pull them out of the ditch. Nothing is ever easy or straightforward. I don’t think any of us realise just how difficult things are every day. However, thankfully, they returned with some food.
After lessons today, some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School, helped with planting the sweet potato vines as part of their agricultural lessons. This crop is far less labour intensive than maize and, hopefully, the sweet potatoes should be ready after three months. There still won’t be a huge harvest considering that 500 hungry children turn up every weekend to be fed, but it is on the right road to self-sufficiency and these students are learning important skills for their futures.
Thanks for reading and supporting these vulnerable students, Sarah x
You would be forgiven for wondering why I’ve put those two words together in the heading of today’s blog. Not subjects that usually go together! And they don’t…the only thing they have in common is that Netball Club and Farming Club both took place this afternoon.
The children who have chosen to participate in these groups meet twice a week after school to learn new skills. The Farming Club look to be having great success with their carrots. They are allowed to take these ones home with them. Hope you enjoy looking at the photos from this afternoon. Thanks for reading, Sarah x
The maize is growing well. Some was washed away and had to be replanted but hopefully there will be a decent crop. There is a very decent crop of weeds in the fields thanks to all the rain they’ve had….so today was another chance for people to lend a hand and pick out all the weeds from amongst the maize. Look at those beautiful hills….The Mafinga Hills. The other side of those hills is Zambia….but at a glance it could be Scotland!
weeding in the maize field with the Mafinga Hills in the background…beyond them is Lwangwa National Park in Zambia.
Work never stops at The Foundation. Whether it’s looking after the animals or preparing the fields, farmers the world over will know that there’s always something to do, something to plan ahead for. Over the last few days, the fields have been prepared and today maize and groundnuts have been planted. The rainy season is just starting so it’s the perfect time for planting seeds. As you can see, people are working hard and would love to be self-sufficient. Because there are so many mouths to feed and the situation has been so bad, they need our help for a while.
We have money for approximately 100 fruit tree saplings that have been bought as Christmas gifts for which we are very grateful. Levison will choose which fruit varieties are best to buy for future food and sustainability. Again, this is the perfect time to plant them. If anyone would like to contribute towards seed costs or fruit tree saplings then please do get in touch email@example.com Even a small donation would help feed the hundreds of malnourished children.
We still have 5 young people looking for a sponsor to help them get to secondary school. Sponsorship is £25 per month and one of the best things you can every do for one of these children. Thank you for reading, Sarah x