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.

Football & netball matches

Sarah’s blog 27/1/23

The students at Bright Futures Secondary School have had an invitation from Chisenga Secondary School to play football and netball against them. Bright Futures teams will go to Chisenga Secondary this Sunday and, at a future date, the Chisenga School teams will play at Bright Futures Secondary School.

The Bright Futures students are really excited to be playing against another school at netball and football. It will be so good for them to be having fun with their friends playing team sports. Everyone is looking forward to Sunday.

We need some help please. It would be far too tiring if the students were to spend hours walking there, playing their matches and then walking back…so they will need to go in taxis to Chisenga School. We have already had one donation towards this but need approximately another £150. So if any of our supporters love football or netball or both, or just want the teenagers at Bright Futures Secondary School to be able to represent their new school playing sport, we would be so grateful for any donations towards the cost of taxi fares. contact_us@changinglivesmalaw.com There will, of course, be lots of photos from the matches on Sunday.

Thank you so much for helping us to support these vulnerable teenagers, Sarah x

Fakenham Town Football Strips donated by Wear A Sports Shirt Day

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.

Christmas Fundraising & news update

Sarah’s blog 8/12/22

There is so much going on both in Malawi and here, so I thought I would do a quick update.

  1. Our charity accounts and trustees’ report have been completed and filed with OSCR. We now have three years of completed accounts and our charity is progressing well, thanks to all the support we have received. More grants can be applied for as many organisations require three years accounts from applicants.
  2. I am continuing to try to raise funds to support the projects; education and feeding the orphans continue to be our priorities; and we must reach more people to try to get more awareness and more support to ensure that children are fed and that phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School can be built next year. If you would like to contribute to the school project the link is here https://gofund.me/44a92444 or you can email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Why not make a monthly donation to support the feeding of 500+ orphans? Or if you are in a position to gift £500 or more then you can have your name, a name or your choice or your business name above a classroom door or one of the other new buildings.
  3. Fundraising calendars – I still have some available. These make great Christmas gifts. These are only £10 plus £2 p&p. As one of our trustees paid for these to be printed, all of the £10 will go towards Bright Futures Secondary School. We have alternative gift cards available, paintings and packs of cards by Christine Cresswell one of our trustees who has donated her time and talents to raise funds for our charity. Have a look and see what you can buy for Christmas without leaving the house! The link to all the fundraising items is in a previous blog post here Christmas Cards & Gifts – Changing Lives Malawi
  4. The container is due in Ekwendeni any day now. Levison is just waiting for confirmation then he will be travelling south to collect the boxes and chairs that we sent. Thank you to everyone who donated items to be sent. There will be great excitement when the chairs and the boxes arrive.
  5. Government schools will close for the Christmas holidays on 16th December. Because Bright Futures Secondary School was a bit late opening, due to having to raise funds as we go, the teachers have kindly suggested that the school remains open for an extra few days. So, the last day of term at Bright Futures Secondary School will be 21st December and a Christmas party, for all the 500+ orphans and other vulnerable children, will be held on 22nd December which they are all very much looking forward to. We thank the generous donors who gifted money to feed the children an extra time to enable there to be a party.
  6. Desks for the classrooms are being made thanks to donations we have received. If you would like to purchase a desk for use by a student, they are £20 each.
  7. As it has been so busy, unfortunately, we have not had as many updates about sponsored children as we would have liked. I have now linked with one of the teachers who will work with me to remedy this and sponsors will be able to hear from their sponsored children a lot more regularly.
  8. If you would like me to come and talk at your club, church or school (or for any event) I’d love to hear from you. I have a laptop, projector and screen and lots of photos to show!

Thank you for reading and supporting us, Sarah x

Our fundraising calendar will make a great Christmas gift – £10 each (all of the £10 goes towards the school project) plus £2 p&p
Some of the school desks – £20 each
The front of the alternative gift card
Inside the alternative gift card – just circle or tick the gift you are wishing to purchase. A football is £10, 4 fruit tree saplings £10, soap for 100 children £40 and transportation of a box of books is £20 contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

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

The Wear A Sports Shirt Day Football Tournament

Sarah’s blog 23/09/22

We have been extremely fortunate to have had donations of football kit and other sports kit from a variety of sources and we are very grateful for the donations and support we have received. If you see a kit that you recognise/donated in the photos or videos from this tournament, then feel free to share and tag teams or people.

The Foundation has hosted the first football tournament that will be held annually. It has been named after one of our supporters. Julian Chenery works tirelessly every weekend collecting preloved football kit and other sports kits to send to those who need them. Julian’s charity is called ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’ and that is what this annual tournament is called as a thank you for the ongoing support that Julian has given.

It has been very successful, well attended and enjoyed by all. Five teams received gifts of new (to them) football kits. The players in the local teams taking part are all aged between 14 and 20 years old.

Well done to The Bombers who were the overall winners beating Mtelera in the final 3 – 1.

In one of the videos you will see a man talking to the crowd. This is Mr Msachi and he is the chairperson of The Area Development Committee for Chisenga District. I asked Levison to summarise what he had said. Levison said “He was saying this is the first well organised short tournament. He is really thankful to the donors. He is very happy.”

As I have been preparing this post, Levison has messaged to say that he has been contacted by a journalist from Tuntufye Radio who had heard about this football tournament!

Footballs are always needed so if anyone would like to donate money for footballs then please do email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

I’m so thankful that it has been a success and was well organised, well attended and everyone enjoyed this first tournament. And, of course, we couldn’t do what we do without the help and support of everyone who has donated kit to us to send to The Foundation. It’s always about teamwork….so thank you for being part of our team. If you recognise any of the kits in this blog, then please do tag and share. Thank you again and hope you enjoy looking at the photos and videos. Sarah x

Mr Msachi, Chair of The Area Development Committee for Chisenga thanking the donors for the football kits and saying how well this new tournament has been organised.

Football Tournament

Sarah’s blog 22/9/22

This is only a short post…it’s been a hugely busy week in Malawi (and also here).

The young people are on holiday from school and Levison and team thought a football tournament between local teams would be a good idea. So that is what has been happening today and will conclude tomorrow.

Unfortunately, Levison has been busy with other things today so there is just one short video clip of a match, however I have been promised more photos tomorrow!

This is going to be an annual event and we decided that it would be nice to name it after someone who has been very good to The Foundation. Julian Chenery, whose charity is Wear a Sports Shirt Day, works tirelessly every weekend (and sometimes midweek too) going to football clubs, schools, other sports clubs etc to collect preloved sports kit that can be reused by those who need it. He supports lots of organisations. Julian has supplied the Foundation with football kit, hockey kit, tracksuits, Christmas jumpers and Santa hats over the few years we have known him.

So, this is another opportunity to say thank you to Julian for supporting us and The Foundation. More photos and videos from ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day Football Tournament’ will follow. Sarah x

A few people to thank

Sarah’s blog 29/04/22

We are always very grateful for the kind and generous people who support us. Whether it’s donating pencils, or shoes, driving boxes to Dundee, sharing posts, helping with fundraisers or sponsoring children….we thank you as we couldn’t help the hundreds of vulnerable children in Northern Malawi without you.

I want to thank four lots of people today who have helped us recently;

  1. Aquamarine.media in Devon have been helping us with our website and using their expertise to help us reach more people. We are very grateful for their input. Thank you Alona and Geoff.
  2. Strathendrick FC 2003/2 sections had been running in Balfron for 12 years. Now that the players have all left school and are no longer playing, the leftover funds have been shared with some local charities and UNICEF. We were delighted to be one of these charities and the money donated will help us a great deal. Thank you very much.
  3. Another Strathendrick but this time Strathendrick RFC have supported us again with more rugby kit to send to the children who have just started playing. This time they have donated a big bag of rugby balls, a box of cones and some water bottles. Once again, your support is very much appreciated. Thank you.
  4. Dumbarton FC Walking Football Club have donated a big bag of training kit and waterproofs which will be very valuable to the children in Malawi. Thank you so much for donating this. It’s very kind of you.

With a little help from our friends

Sarah’s blog 17/3/22

It’s been an extremely busy time at The Foundation. As so many boxes were sent, they have been opened gradually and there are still more to open.

Today Levison sent me photos of donations from Julian Chenery whose charity is ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’. Julian is always very generous to The Foundation (he had supplied the Christmas hats and jumpers as well as previous donations of sports kit). These are some of the lovely sports kit that was in one box Levison opened today. Thank you Julian and to all the people who donate to you. We are very grateful for the difference you are making.

Julian spends almost every weekend going to football matches and other sporting events and collecting used kit to send on to lots of different organisations. Some donations he gives to groups like refugees or other people in need in England, and other donations go to lots of organisations like The Foundation working with vulnerable communities in other countries.

I love that there are so many helping each other to help the children and Julian is one of those people who does a great job. Thank you Julian at Wear a Sports Shirt Day! Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Some of the donations of sports kit that Julian sent to The Foundation

Donations…..

Sarah’s blog 21/1/22

We have lovely supporters donating in lots of different ways. Some give money to help feed the children, others sponsor young people so they can attend secondary school. I have a donation box in my front garden that people will leave things in if I’m out, and people will knock on the door with bags of preloved clothes and shoes or books. Occasionally, someone will proudly bring a bag of bargains that they’ve managed to pick up in a sale. Some supporters collect pencils, pens and soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste whilst doing their shopping. We are grateful for monetary donations to help cover transport costs as we are charged £15 per box on the container. These are all ways you can help us help the hundreds of children we help to support in Malawi. A few of our kind supporters knit lovely blankets or hats to keep babies and children warm and others help take the boxes of donations to Dundee to await the container to Malawi.

Whatever you choose to do to help and support us, ‘Thank you’. We are grateful you are part of our team. There is still so much to do…so if you want to get involved we would be very glad to have you on our team….Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

A big donation of preloved sports clothes was recently collected
We love it when people add things to their shopping for us….the children always love receiving a new pencil or some soap….and with up to 800 children to support….that is a lot of pencils needed!
Someone very kindly left these preloved teenage boys school shoes and two maths sets in the donation box in our front garden
One of our supporters has been busy knitting again….beautiful blankets

Watching your football team

Sarah’s blog 18/1/21

There seems to be something that is the same almost wherever you are in the world….cheering on your team when they are playing football. Malawi have been playing Senegal today. Unfortunately it ended up 0-0 but these children and young people enjoyed watching their team on the tv at the Foundation (until a power cut near the end). Levison has a wind up radio thankfully. The tv was installed for educational programmes (and for a treat like watching your country play football).

Hopefully, with your help, we will be able to provide more food for these children to eat and match more children with sponsors to pay for their secondary school fees. These children are just like our children and deserve the same chances. £25 p/m provides food and education for a young person or a commitment of £5 or £10 p/m will help feed the children more often. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

The Third Sunday in Advent

Sarah’s blog 12/12/21

There’s been no rushing around for me shopping and meeting people this advent season. I am so grateful for the care and attention I received from all the NHS staff when I was in hospital recently, but it’s going to be a while before I’ll be back to normal…whatever normal is!

Advent season is about waiting and reflecting and the third Sunday is about love. Who do we love and care about? How do people know that we love and/or care about them? Hopefully, by our actions. Also by our kind words.

How do the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children supported by The William Stewart Foundation know they are loved and cared about? by our actions. A new football means the world to them. A blanket for two children to share to help keep them warm at night. Reusable sanitary towels, pants and soap giving a teenage girl her dignity back and enabling her to attend school all month like her male peers. There are so many ways we can show these children that they are important and cared about.

So in this season of giving, we would be so grateful for an extra football, or a blanket, or soap for the children. Can you help feed them an extra meal or provide some fruit tree saplings. By your actions they will know they are loved and not forgotten. Thank you for reading and supporting us. You can donate through our website, or by contacting us contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or through the link below. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

https://www.dontsendmeacard.com/ecards/charities/changing-lives-malawi

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