Giving for a Sustainable Future


Sarah’s blog 27/11/23

Tomorrow (Tuesday 28/11/23) is known as Giving Tuesday. It started in America, being the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving Weekend. People began donating money, time or talent to charities and other good causes as a way of giving and being thankful for what they had in their lives. Giving Tuesday has grown over the years and is now a recognised day of giving to good causes.

So, this leads me onto our new fundraiser and hoping that you might give to our charity and the good causes we are supporting. Costs keep rising in Malawi and food is becoming more scarce. Hundreds of children are relying on us to feed them a substantial, nutritious meal once a week. That isn’t enough, but it’s all we can do until we can get others partnering with us to provide more.

Food – Please can you help us to keep feeding 500 orphans and other vulnerable children each week? A one off donation would be really helpful or you could set up a monthly donation of £5 or £10 if you’d prefer.

Fruit Trees – We want the community we support to be self-sufficient. They want that too. Can you please help us? Fruit tree saplings have already been planted a couple of years ago and we want to plant more. This will provide future food for the orphans and other vulnerable children as well as some fruit being sold and bringing in an income. Planting trees and bushes also helps prevent soil erosion during the heavy rains and is good for the planet. Four fruit tree saplings cost £10. Will you support this project please? If you would like to give this as an alternative gift at Christmas or for someone’s birthday then please let me know and I can send a gift card on your behalf.

Pig Project – At Bright Futures Secondary School Agricultural Lessons are part of the core curriculum. The second year students, along with their teacher, are setting up a Pig Project where they will learn to care for and breed pigs. Some of the future piglets will be given to vulnerable people in the community and some piglets will be sold. This income will go back into making the school self-sufficient as they will be able to purchase exercise books and other equipment they need. A piglet costs £45 to purchase. Would you like to buy a piglet? This could make a good alternative gift to buy for the person who has everything! I can send a gift card on your behalf stating what you have bought.

Sewing – We sent some hand turn sewing machines to Malawi and some of the older girls who have left school have been learning how to make reusable sanitary towels for all who needed them, ensuring all girls do not miss a week of school each month and, therefore, are receiving the same amount of schooling as the boys. Now, we would like to set up two or three of these girls in business so they can start making school dresses and other clothes to sell. Would you like to ensure these girls have a sustainable and better future? £50 will buy fabric that they need. I can send a gift card if you decide to buy this as an alternative Christmas gift.

Education – Secondary Education in Malawi needs to be paid for. All of the young people at Bright Futures Secondary School would not have been able to afford to continue their education without help and support. Could you pay for a student to attend school for a month please? It costs £25. Or you could become a sponsor to a student for £25 p/m. These vulnerable young people, many of whom are orphans, deserve a better and brighter future. If you would like to pay for this option as part of an alternative Christmas gift, please do let me know and I can send a card to the recipient on your behalf.

As you can see, we cannot do this alone. It is always about teamwork. Please will you join our team to help support these children as we work towards a sustainable and self-sufficient future for them? They deserve every opportunity to be the best they can be. They deserve choices and chances. They deserve to know they are important and that people care about them. If you would like to support one of the above projects in particular then please do put that project against your name when making a donation, otherwise we will allocate funding between the projects. Many thanks for your continued support. Together we can make a difference and continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks, Sarah x Donate here:

Feeding some of the vulnerable children once a week

Students at Bright Futures Secondary School planting sweet potatoes as part of their agricultural lessons

Exam time at Bright Futures Secondary School

Giving Tuesday Logo

We keep the Sustainable Development Goals in mind for all of our projects

Fundraising Packs of Cards


Sarah’s blog 30/10/23

On Saturday morning, I attended a Christmas Card Sale & Coffee Morning at The Kirkrooms, Strathblane. It’s always a great event and lovely to catch up with people and have a chat. I had a selection of packs of cards for sale and, thanks to everyone who bought them, made £184.50 for Changing Lives Malawi.

These cards are taken from original paintings by my mum, Christine Cresswell, who is a very talented artist. She has generously gifted these cards to our charity so all the money from sales will go towards building the new latrine blocks. Some of the original paintings are for sale so let me know if you see something you like.

Each pack contains 8 cards of the same design, blank for your own message and they are £5 each plus £2.50 p&p. (if you purchase multiple packs then we can combine postage amounts). Perfect for sending or giving the whole pack as a gift.

Here are the selection of cards available, email us to order on

Fundraising Cards by Christine Cresswell


Sarah’s blog 15/10/23

My mum, Christine Cresswell, is an amazing artist. She has only been painting for a few years and finds it very relaxing as she can totally switch off whilst she is concentrating on the beautiful scenes she is painting. My mum is also a trustee of Changing Lives Malawi.

She is generously selling her paintings with all proceeds going to support our work in Malawi. We have had cards made from some of her paintings which will raise funds as all money from sales will also go to the projects we help to support. I will do a post of the paintings soon.

These cards have been packed in 8 cards of the same design. They are blank inside for your own message, with our logo being on the reverse. As well as buying to send, you could also give a pack as a gift. Each pack is £5 with p&p being £2.50. If you would like to purchase more than one pack, then please get in touch and I will work out postage rates. These cards will also be sold in a shop local to us soon which is very exciting! details to follow about that partnership soon. Thanks for your continued support everyone. Thank you, Sarah x

Cards, Paintings & other ways to help us


Sarah’s blog 09/10/23

We are really fortunate to have Christine Cresswell as one of our trustees. Christine is a talented artist and donates the proceeds of her artwork to our charity to help fund the projects we support in Malawi. I will do another separate post with a selection of paintings soon.

As well as being a talented artist, Christine is also my mum. We have had cards printed from some of her beautiful paintings. I have spent a couple of hours at mum and dad’s dining table today. Dad was tasked with counting cards, mum was counting envelopes and I was putting the two together in cellophane bags.

These cards are blank inside so are suitable for any occasion, or a pack could be given as a gift. They are a bargain at £5 per pack of 8 cards (same design) plus p& p of £2.50 per pack. (I can check postage rates for multiple purchases).

My parents also, very generously, paid for the printing of these cards, so every penny from the sale of each pack will be going towards the projects we help to support. if you would like to order some cards.

If you prefer to send e-cards then click on this link to support us

You can also raise funds for us every time you shop online by going through the Easy Fundraising site

Or why not host a fundraising event for us or take part in a sponsored activity? As we are volunteers, 100% of donations go to our projects.

Thanks for reading and supporting Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Bright Futures SS – Phase 2 -Foundations

work has started on the foundations of phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School, however we still need your help to reach our target


Sarah’s blog 10/8/23

Today’s blog is a bit of a photo & video dump to share how busy it has been during the last few days. Because the new school term starts in September in Malawi, there will be another intake of vulnerable students wanting to continue their education if they pass their primary school leavers exams.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far….work on phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School has started. However, we haven’t reached our target yet. We are taking a leap of faith that by the beginning of September we will have enough funds to buy everything that is needed. Work had to start otherwise, should we reach our target, work would never have been completed in time for the new school year.

Using bricks left over from phase 1 last year, the builders are starting on the foundations. The thousands of bricks that have been made over the last few weeks will begin to be fired at the weekend and we will share photos of that.

If you are a business or an individual wanting to support the education of some of the most vulnerable young people in Malawi, then please do get in touch . A donation of £500 or above can have your name written above a classroom door or on the building. Without your help, these young people cannot achieve their potential and will not find their way out of poverty to a brighter future. These young people, most of whom are orphans, have experienced loss, hunger, extreme poverty and missed periods of school to work for a pittance to try to feed themselves. We CAN help them.

Please consider being part of the team around these young people and future students who will benefit from Bright Futures Secondary School. The link to our fundraiser to help us ensure that classroom 3 is ready by the start of September is: Please give if you can and share this post. Young people are depending on us to help them out of poverty. Education is the best way to do this. Help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks, Sarah x

Joanne’s July Journey

Please show your support for Joanne who is fundraising for a new classroom for Bright Futures Secondary School. Read today’s blog to find out how brave and strong she is.


Sarah’s blog 31/07/23

My sister is amazing. My sister is strong, brave and determined. She has been through so much in the last few years; finding out she had breast cancer, having her breast removed, several operations, lots of infections, not to mention the mental trauma of all of that.

Whilst she was waiting for her original surgery, she raised money towards the shower block by doing a walking challenge. Now, whilst she is waiting for reconstruction surgery and needing to reduce her BMI slightly, she has taken on another challenge for us. Thank you Joanne.

Bright Futures Secondary School opened last year with two classrooms. Secondary education needs to be paid for in Malawi and none of the teenagers we help to support could afford this. There will be another intake of vulnerable teenagers wanting to start at Bright Futures Secondary School in September, but we need to build another classroom. As there will be more students, we also need to build another toilet block. Will you help us?

She set herself the challenge of walking 200km in July….she’s almost finished…5km left to go and this is her last day. It’s pouring with rain here today, so she would welcome some support. Can you help?

Joanne’s fundraising link is here: If you could spare a few £££ it would be much appreciated. Joanne has taken photos from her walks round the village of Killearn where she lives. If you are a business in Killearn who would like to support Joanne we will give you lots of mentions on social media. We welcome businesses partnering with us to help support the hundreds of orphans we help in rural northern Malawi.

Hope you enjoy Joanne’s photos and please support her if you can. Thank you, Sarah x

Joanne’s walk for a classroom for Bright Futures Secondary School

Joanne is taking on another challenge on behalf of the vulnerable young people we help to support


Sarah’s blog 30/06/23

In November 2020 my sister, Joanne, was waiting for surgery for breast cancer. She used that time to do a walking challenge to raise money towards the shower block that was being built.

Now, as she’s waiting for reconstructive surgery and needs to lower her BMI slightly, she has said she’s going to challenge herself again. I have no doubt that she will reach her target of 200km in July. As well as being one of the bravest people I know, she is also one of the strongest.

So she has set up a fundraising page to raise money towards a new classroom for Bright Futures Secondary School. Please support her in her challenge as it will mean a great deal to her, to us and, of course, the children who need a new classroom for term starting in September. Joanne’s fundraiser is .

If anyone else wants to set themselves a challenge to fundraise for our charity we would be so grateful and would promote it on social media for you.

Good luck, Joanne and thank you…we know you can do it! Thank you all for reading and your support, Sarah x

Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 2

Joanne one one of her walks in November 2020

Thank you Strathendrick RFC & Scottish Rugby Union

Thanks to Strathendrick RFC and Scottish Rugby for supporting grassroots rugby in rural northern Malawi.


Sarah’s blog 29/6/23

As well as Scottish Rugby having given us pre-loved rugby kit to send to the vulnerable young people we help to support, Scottish Rugby have given us 6 new shirts for fundraising.

We have teamed up with our fantastic local rugby club, Strathendrick RFC, who have a big rugby family. They have kindly offered to help raise the profile of the projects we support and, in particular, the two week rugby event in September that hundreds of young people will be able to take part in and learn to play rugby. Our fundraiser for that event is here Proceeds made from the shirts will be split between our rugby event and Strathendrick RFC. Thank you everyone who is supporting us to help change the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in Malawi, giving them choices and chances and a much brighter future. Here is what they have said on their facebook page:

“We are proud to be supporting Changing Lives Malawi as we provide an exciting opportunity to enhance their ongoing valuable work. is a small charity, based in Balfron, run by volunteers who are passionate about changing the lives of the most vulnerable in rural Northern Malawi.
They support several projects including a feeding programme, a nursery & are currently fundraising to build classrooms 3 & 4 of Bright Futures Secondary School. The children are also provided rugby opportunities thanks to the donations of kit, equipment and coaching.
To help raise much needed funds, the SRU have provided 2022/23 playing jerseys for us to raffle off. To be in with the chance of winning a jersey (sizes M, L, XL, 2XL) complete the Google form. £5 a number. We will draw the winners on Wednesday 5 July
To support further work in the area, on behalf of hundreds of vulnerable children, we would be very grateful
Google Form Entry Form Lives Malawi (

Changing Lives Malawi (

Rugby Event – Fundraiser

Please support this rugby event in September. Give vulnerable children the joy of rugby.


Sarah’s blog 9/6/23

We are delighted that Jack Mphande, Rugby Development Officer for Malawi Rugby Union, will be making a second visit to rural northern Malawi to introduce the sport of rugby to orphans and other vulnerable children.

Jack will be heading north from Lilongwe in the south where he is based for two weeks in September. He will be working with two clusters of schools during the two weeks and with the older orphans we help to support during the middle weekend. Teachers from each school will be trained and there will be tournaments too.

As there are no big charities feeding children in school in that area of Malawi, all the children that we help to support are malnourished. We help provide funds for a feeding programme for 500+ children once a week….but it’s not enough. Children are hungry and some are walking 20km for that one proper meal of the week. We need to feed all the children who are taking part in the rugby tournament. We can’t expect them to have the energy to play and enjoy themselves if their tummies are sore and they are tired because they have not eaten. Can you help please?

We have been very fortunate to have support from Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, Balfron High School, Scottish Rugby Union, Strathendrick Rugby, Stirling County Rugby, Grangemouth Rugby Club, Hillfoots Rugby, Blaydon Rugby, Annan Rugby Club and others who have helped and supported us with kit, boots and rugby balls.

We are charged £17.50 per box/bag on the container to cover the cost of getting everything to Malawi. Will you help please?

Thank you to those who have already donated via Facebook. We need to pay for Jack Mphande’s transport costs, his accommodation, food and expenses for the two weeks he has kindly set aside for the hundreds of vulnerable children who will benefit from his visit. We need to provide food for the children taking part in the coaching sessions and tournaments. We need financial help with sending kit to Malawi. We need your help please to spread the joy of playing rugby to orphans in rural northern Malawi. Until recently, they were ignored and forgotten. They didn’t have opportunities like this. Please help us make this happen for them. You can donate via our fundraiser or by emailing for bank details I’ve put some links to previous relevant posts where you’ll see some great photos and videos. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh – Rugby Kit Donation

Scottish Rugby & Club Donations Rugby videos

Rugby day 1 – “It amazed me because it was like they have been playing the game for sometime” – Jack Mphande

Students outside the first two classrooms to be built at Bright Futures Secondary School wearing kit donated by Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh

A visit to Balfron High School

We were delighted to receive an email from one of the teachers at our local high school, Balfron High, asking us to go and meet with him and the headteacher.


Sarah’s blog 24/5/23

We were delighted to receive an email from one of the teachers at our local high school, Balfron High, asking us to go and meet with him and the headteacher. Jackie and I spent an hour with them and I was able to give a presentation about some of the projects we are supporting. It was really useful to meet face to face as we were able to talk about how many children and young people are needing a helping hand and how little food many of them have to eat and the daily struggles they face.

They are keen to form links between Balfron High School and Bright Futures Secondary School and communication between some of the students from both schools. We spoke about ways that we are trying to help Bright Futures Secondary School towards self-sufficiency by having projects that provide food and an income. I also suggested ways that the Balfron High students could help by donating maths sets, calculators and pencil cases to pass on to students in Malawi if they are no longer needed.

It was a really positive and informative discussion and we look forward to seeing what might happen after the school summer holidays.

In Malawi, the primary 8 students have done their national leavers exams and we have our fingers crossed that the ones supported by the Foundation will pass and therefore be able to start at Bright Futures Secondary School in September.

National high school exams are done at the end of S2 and also at the end of S4. The S2 students at Bright Futures Secondary School have been working hard. Their exams start on Tuesday for seven days. All we can ask is that they work hard and try their best. They have had such difficult lives that their school work has suffered. We have everything crossed for them!

So, looking forward to September 2023 and the new intake of S1 students. At the moment, we have nowhere to put them as we only have two classrooms. We need your help please to build another classroom. Will you help us please by donating to our fundraiser?

  1. All children have the right to a proper education.
  2. All children have the right to food, clothes and warmth.
  3. Bright Futures Secondary School is for the most vulnerable students who wouldn’t have been able to go to secondary school without support (secondary school has to be paid for in Malawi).
  4. These students are each given a blanket as well as school uniform (and other clothes) and the supplies they need for school.
  5. Each student is fed a nutritious and substantial meal each day (twice a day when we have extra funds). This is the only food many of them have each day so it is vital.
  6. They have a clean water supply to drink and are able to have a shower at the shower block.
  7. The Period Poverty Project means that all girls are given reusable sanitary towels made by a group of girls. We sent hand turn sewing machines and now no girl needs to miss a week of school each month.
  8. All students have use of the well stocked library – Emma’s Rainbow Library and are learning how to use the computers there.
  9. All students are learning skills for life through their Agricultural Lessons.
  10. All students are regularly taking part in team sports.

Does this sound like a worthwhile project? As we have no admin costs or salaries because we are volunteers, all money donated goes to the projects we support. You can be sure that your donation towards a new classroom will go to that project. Foundations have been prepared and, as soon as we have more funds, work will start on building. However, we cannot do this alone. Please help us help these vulnerable children.

You can donate to phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School to build a new classroom or you could you sponsor a student for £25 p/m? Or maybe you could commit £5 or £10 per month to the Feeding Programme? Our bank details are; Bank Of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, S/C 80-22-60, A/C 21081462 to make a donation. If you could put ‘school’ or ‘food’ or whatever project it is you are supporting as the reference please. We also have a rugby event in September that we are needing financial support with.

My email is if you’d like more information about ways you can help us to support the children. I’ll put the links to some other relevant stories if you are new to reading my blogs. Many thanks for reading and supporting us, Sarah x

From here to Malawi – The challenge is complete!

The challenge is complete! Yay!


Sarah’s blog 21/04/23

Well it has taken longer than we originally planned….but the small, dedicated team has done it! What an amazing and fantastic group of dedicated supporters!

We planned, in order to raise money for Bright Futures Secondary School, to run, walk, swim, scoot, cycle and sail to add together kilometres to cover the distance that the boxes travel between here and Malawi. It was a bigger challenge than we anticipated, for a small team, and the container covered the distance way before we reached our target, but the challenge is now complete!! Well done team!! We never give up!

As of yesterday, the total kilometres travelled was 13,161.195km! That was 17.195km more than was actually needed.

As you know, Phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School was built and opened in November 2022. This comprised of staff accommodation and two classrooms to add to the other buildings that we had previously fundraised for which included the library, shower block and clean water supply.

Now fundraising is well underway for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School. We need at least one more classroom to be in place for the new term starting in September 2023. We also need some more staff accommodation and a dormitory block for the most vulnerable girls to be able to stay on campus. This will enable them to be safe rather than risking being attacked on the long walk to and from school. These are big plans but education is the way out of poverty for these very vulnerable children and young people, many of whom are orphans.

The photos below are just some of the lovely people who helped us achieve our goal. Thank you to everyone who took part. You are all brilliant and we couldn’t do what we do without you. If you would like to contribute towards phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School then you can either email me for bank details or donate at Thanks so much for supporting, helping, donating, volunteering, sponsoring….whatever you do to help us….thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Sarah x

Previous stories…. More Kilometres! – Changing Lives Malawi Keep collecting Kilometres! – Changing Lives Malawi

Phase 2 0f Bright Futures Secondary School – classrooms 3 & 4 – Changing Lives Malawi

Traci on top of the world!
Brilliant effort Traci!
One boy, his scooter & his dog
Team Mottram reached the top of Ben Nevis on a rainy day
Team Mackay, wearing their team t-shirts in Lanzarote
The kids in Malawi were keen to join in and added some kilometres by running
Team Mackay in the news!
Team Mackay climbed Scafell Pike on a very hot day

Support us with your leftover currency


Sarah’s blog 3/3/23

Exciting news – We’ve partnered with a company called Leftover Currency. You can send coins and notes to them and ask them to donate the amount to our charity, helping us to continue supporting the hundreds of vulnerable children in northern Malawi.

Here is the link Leftover Currency – Donations to Changing Lives Malawi so have a little read and keep us in mind after you’ve been on your holidays or if you’ve found some foreign coins or notes in a drawer.

It’s just one of the many ways that you can help us and we will be very grateful for any funding that comes our way via Leftover Currency. Thanks for your support, Sarah x

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