Keep collecting Kilometres!

Sarah’s blog 15/09/22

Just a quick update with how the challenge is progressing. We are raising funds to build a desperately needed secondary school for some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi. Education is the way out of dire poverty for these young people and they are desperate to go to school. Secondary education needs to be paid for in Malawi so most of these young people would not afford to continue their education without help and support.

To raise awareness and funds, we are collecting kilometres to travel the distance that the boxes go from here to Malawi….over 13,000km. If you would like to help us along the way and add your kilometres to help, then please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com We have supporters cycling, walking, hill walking, cycling on stationary bikes and using rowing machines at the gym. If you could add your kilometres from walking the dog or walking the kids to school then every little helps! The new total is 4,484.333kms completed so far which works out at 34.12% of the total journey! Well done everyone and please keep the kilometres coming! The newspaper wants to know when we get to 50%.

Here is the previous news article that was in The Stirling Observer. Team Mackay made the news! – Changing Lives Malawi

We have raised £12,516 so far and we thank everyone for their generosity. Work is starting on the foundations of the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School this week which is very exciting!

However, we still need a lot more money to provide education to these very vulnerable young people. As well as the two classrooms we are building, we need to build toilet facilities and make desks and buy more textbooks. Then phase 2 will see another two classrooms built and so on until we have a whole school providing quality secondary education at The Foundation. No longer will vulnerable children have to leave their families to board at a school that is a distance away. Please donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 to help us give the gift of education.

I’ll add some more photos over the weekend and would love to see some photos of your kilometres. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Traci set herself a big challenge and donated her kilometres. An amazing achievement Traci, very well done!

Great job! Team Mottram climbed Ben Nevis in the rain!

Some of the older kids joined in by running a 4km race… great work!

Fundraising Calendar 2023

Sarah’s blog 12/9/22

We are excited to announce that we have finalised the layout for a new fundraising calendar for 2023. We should receive the calendar in approximately 10 days when it will be available to buy for £10 (plus p&p).

Here is a sneak preview of the calendar…these images are just photos of my laptop screen so aren’t very good quality but I was excited to share them with you. These will make great gifts for Christmas and can be easily posted, or would be good to purchase for your own house!

One of our trustees has generously paid for these calendars to be printed, so you know that when you purchase one all of the money will be going towards the building of Bright Futures Secondary School, providing secondary education for some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi. Please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you’d like to place an order and give the gift of education. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The front cover of our 2023 fundraising calendar
The back cover of our 2023 fundraising calendar

A previous presentation

Sarah’s blog 2/9/22

I wanted to share a presentation that I gave in a few churches three years ago before covid arrived.

Our charity is welcoming and inclusive of all faiths or none, differing abilities, colour and gender. We all have different skills and we are all about teamwork.

I have a faith and made up this presentation, for a specific audience, based on that. I have also given lots of talks and presentations for a variety of settings including schools, that there has been no mention of my faith.

I wanted to share this with you to show you how much has happened in the last few years. Also to say thank you for any help you may have given to us and we need people to keep on supporting us and being part of our team.

If you would like me to come and speak at your church or club or an event, or if you would like me to help put together some resources for you to talk at an event on our behalf then please do let me know. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

sarahfaithpresentationsummer19.pptx

100 x £100

Sarah’s blog 24/08/22

Firstly I want to share with you something one of our sponsors has written;

“We sponsor a student through this charity. In a world where some are born into families with many opportunities and benefits and others are born where opportunities are scarce and life is more challenging, it is essential we notice, commit, care and seek to share what we have been given so others can dream and hope and have an opportunity to make a difference in the world. May all these students dream and hope and make the best of the life they have been given.”

We need your help to raise the rest of the money we need to open Bright Futures Secondary School in rural Northern Malawi. Without this school, the most vulnerable young people will miss out on education. Please help us.

We have our fundraiser https://gofund.me/44a92444 where you can donate but we are also asking 100 schools, nurseries, colleges, universities, businesses, churches, clubs, families or individuals to raise £100. Are you up for a challenge? Can you raise or donate £100? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Let’s give the gift of education and help these very vulnerable young people out of poverty and to a brighter future! Let’s build this school! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Walking, cycling, running or scooting?

Sarah’s blog 9/8/22

We still have a very long way to go on the challenge to travel the same distance the boxes go on one of the shipping routes. It’s over 13,000km from central Scotland to The Foundation in rural Northern Malawi. We are raising funds for a much needed secondary school. https://gofund.me/44a92444

Currently there are not enough places in the nearest secondary schools and they are too far away to walk to so young people have to board. Young people don’t get to go to secondary school unless they’ve passed their primary school leavers exams and they don’t get to go to secondary school unless they can pay the fees. Because there are not enough places, if you don’t get picked for a place at secondary school, despite passing your exams and having the fees, then unfortunately you don’t get to attend secondary school which is heart breaking for the children who are trying their best to achieve against the odds. That is what happened to 11 of our sponsored children.

We need to build this school to ensure that education is available to all young people. They shouldn’t miss out just because of where they were born and family circumstances. The children are desperate for an education as they know that this is their way out of poverty and a way to a brighter future.

We need your help. We know this is a huge challenge but we can do it as part of a team. We need more people to join in by donating your kilometres. Whether you are walking the dog, doing the shopping, out for a run….whatever you are doing…you can donate your kilometres to us towards our total journey. Here is the form to join in https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 or you can email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .

Unfortunately, we cannot wave a magic wand and the school will appear. It is taking a lot of hard work and requires a lot of money. Costs are rising in Malawi and the currency has been devalued so things aren’t as cheap as you might think. Each classroom is costing approximately £7,000 and we are hoping to start with a block of 4 classrooms and a latrine block. Then build more year on year including a science lab, IT room and teachers accommodation. We are committed to the 500+ children who are supported by The Foundation and we want the best for them. Please help us?

If you know someone who might donate to help build the school then please do tell them. We have been very lucky to have had a few generous donations already. If anyone donates £500 or more then they can name a classroom. We need lots of small donations too! So can you give a few £££ today? https://gofund.me/44a92444

Bright Futures Secondary School is for all children to have a brighter future. They need a team to help them achieve this. Can you be part of the team to help build the school? Whether you can give us £5 or £50 or more….please give what you can and share our posts. The more people who can give then the quicker the children and young people can go to secondary school in their village.

A father and son team joined the kilometre challenge yesterday. They each did 4km, one walking and one scooting. I’m not sure that the dog’s kilometres should be counted…I wonder how many she did? Thanks for adding your kilometres to our total! To show your support for them and other team members doing our challenge you can give here https://gofund.me/44a92444

one boy and his dog

Jackie had done another great cycle at the weekend 19km….well done! She also told me that 20.17% of the journey has been completed now – 2,331.755km in the UK and 320km in Malawi = 2,651.755km. That’s brilliant but we need more people joining in and donating their kilometres and others donating money to show your support for the team! Where do you live? Can we get kilometres from all around the world? Join in an tell us where your kilometres are from! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 https://gofund.me/44a92444

Well done Jackie!

‘On the road again…’

Sarah’s blog 2/8/22

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

Here’s the link if you’d like to add a few £££ to our fundraiser to build a school https://GoFund.me/44a92444

Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 1/8/22

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

  1. 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.
  2. We had a grant from The Souter Charitable Trust for £3,250 for secondary school text books and are very grateful for their support.
  3. 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.
  4. I had a fundraiser in May to start off the brickmaking for the school. People were very kind and contributed over £1,000.
  5. 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
  6. There have also been some donations straight into the bank account for which we are very thankful.

The not so good news

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.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

Traci is clocking up kilometres!

Sarah’s blog 29/07/22

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.

You can read all about our challenge here with the details you need to join in and log your km. https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

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!

To sponsor Traci as she’s doing a fantastic job please give a few £££ at https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3

Thanks for reading and supporting us to build Bright Futures Secondary School, Sarah x

Some of Traci’s latest walks… she’s now walked over 350km! Brilliant Traci! Well done!

Our website visitors

Sarah’s blog 24/7/22

Just a short post from me today as I’ve got an issue with my laptop that will hopefully be sorted by tomorrow. It’s times like this that I realise that technology isn’t my forte… but thank goodness for friends who can help.

Douglas & Lynda delivered another load of boxes to Dundee yesterday. Stuart & I spent a couple of hours yesterday packing boxes. The Bananabox Trust shed in Dundee will soon be full again and then they will book another container. It won’t be long until the current one arrives at it’s destination .

Hopefully, I’ll have an update on the kilometre challenge for you tomorrow with some photos too.

So I want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ again to everyone who supports us. We really do appreciate you.

I love this photo from The Foundation Christmas Party where younger children were all given a rain jacket, a pencil and a lolly. Smiles like this are so good to see.

Our website is having visitors from all over the world which is brilliant! This week some of the countries from which people have viewed our website are; Thailand, Spain, U.K., USA, UAE, Canada, Israel, China, Netherlands, Malawi, Ireland, Peru, Zimbabwe, Libya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Antigua and France.

You can keep up to date with the most recent news by signing up to receive my blog. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Traci’s reached 200km

Sarah’s blog 18/7/22

Traci has just logged her second 100km… you are amazingly dedicated Traci, even in this hot weather! Very well done and thank you for supporting us.

Now we need people to show support for Traci’s effort to help raise funds to build a much needed school in rural Northern Malawi. Please read what Traci says:

“I’ve just logged my latest 101.64km for Changing Lives Malawi, walked over the last 8 days, bringing my total for the first 18 days of July to 229.21km – so I’m well on schedule to smashing my 500km by the end of August. I’d like to proudly boast that 4 of those km were done in high heels on Wednesday in Dundee! The rest were done locally in East Dunbartonshire in sensible walking shoes, but todays 11.5km were particularly challenging in Sahara-like conditions!
If you’d like to show your encouragement, and more importantly help build a school in Northern Malawi, please make a small donation at https://gofund.me/44a92444
It would also be great if you could support the cause by logging your own km – it can be a one-off walk, run, cycle, swim, row etc – we really need more people to get involved to reach the target of 13,144 km to Malawi. You can log your km at https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9
Thank you!”

Please donate here: https://gofund.me/44a92444

And to read more info and take part in the km challenge: https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9%20

Thanks for reading and supporting and thanks Traci for your dedication, Sarah x

Traci on her walks in sensible shoes and her lovely high heels that walked 4km!

More kilometres completed!

Sarah’s blog 13/7/22

As well as being good at cycling, Jackie is good at numbers so she is very kindly keeping a record of how many kilometres have been completed….however she does need people to record their km on our form https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 or if you aren’t able to do that then please message me so we can make sure your kilometres are counted contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

We need more people to join us as there are over 13,000km to cover. We are aiming to cover the distance from Balfron where the boxes of aid start from to The Foundation. One of the routes the container takes is from Dundee where the container gets loaded at The Bananabox Trust, then Grangemouth Docks, Antwerp all the way to Beira in Mosambique and through Malawi to Chitipa District where The Foundation is. So any kilometres you can add will be gratefully received….and we will be grateful for any sponsorship money too so we can help build a desperately needed school. To donate here is the link: https://gofund.me/44a92444

Jackie tells me that (including the 320km the children in Malawi completed in their run) 934.42kms have been completed so far…which equates to 7.11% of the total required. It’s a great start but we need more of you to join our team. Whether you are walking your dog, walking round the shops, running after your children or going for a jog…. get a pedometer or track your kilometres on your phone…. you can help us by just doing what you do each day!

Paul is on holiday and has recorded a lovely 5km walk on the beach. Who else is on holiday and having a stroll? Or are you in the gym and can add your cycle or running machine efforts to our total? Looking forward to hearing from you. Today’s photos are of Paul’s beach walk and Jackie’s bike ride with her eldest son Ben. Very well done all three of you! Thanks to all who are continuing to help raise funds to build a school. We really do make a great team! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

https://gofund.me/44a92444 https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

Ben and Jackie both cycled 23.51km

Paul’s late evening walk on the beach

Bright Futures Fundraiser – join in!

Sarah’s blog 30/6/22

Every child, no matter where they are in the world, deserves an education. Let’s build a school! We need you on our team.

Here is the link with the information you need to join in our challenge! https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 It is a huge challenge for our team to travel the 13,144 km that is one of the routes the container travels. It also includes the journey from here (Balfron, Scotland) to Dundee to the Bananabox Trust warehouse and in Malawi the distance from Ekwendeni which is the final destination of the container back to Chitipa that Levison will make. We have used Chitipa as the nearest destination on all maps to The Foundation.

https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

So we are looking for families to join in as well as serious athletes and gentle walkers. Oh and bored teenagers who would like to keep their fitness up over the school holidays – we’d love to hear from you too! Maybe you could have an element of competition with your friends? Do you need to learn something new for your Duke of Edinburgh Award? Or do some volunteering? This challenge could be used for either of those.

The more people who help us, the quicker we can do this challenge. The more people that take part and are sponsored, the more money we raise. The more people who share our posts then the wider the audience so we aren’t always asking the same people. We would absolutely love people right across the world to take part in our challenge. This is a challenge to raise funds to build a secondary school for some of the most vulnerable children in Northern Malawi. It would be fantastic to have people from our global community taking part and raising funds to build a school and give the gift of education.

The challenge starts tomorrow, 1st July, and you can do as many or as few kms as you want. Please ask your friends to join in and please ask people to sponsor you. Together we can keep Changing Lives Malawi. Together we can build a school. Land clearing has already started and bricks are being made. Thanks so much for your continued support and let me know if you have any questions, thank you, Sarah x

https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

https://gofund.me/44a92444

some of the first bricks being made for Bright Futures Secondary School
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