World Education Day

On World Education Day, we thank our supporters who are helping us provide education to some of the most vulnerable orphans in rural northern Malawi.

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Sarah’s blog 24/1/23

What does education look like where you live? How many years do children go to school? Is it provided to all children, at no cost?

Where you live, what happens to children when they leave school? Do most go to college or university or an apprenticeship? Or they might go straight into employment? All of these opportunities happen after children have completed primary AND SECONDARY education. What would happen if they didn’t have these opportunities?

Not all children will pass all of their exams. As long as they’ve tried their best and worked hard, that’s all anyone can ask. They will still have been learning whilst at school.

Imagine that there are schools… but not for your children. In Malawi, primary school is free. However, if you cannot afford food then your children will have to miss school so they can earn a pittance to try to help buy food for the family.

Imagine your child walking all day to the nearest maize mill with a heavy bundle of maize balanced on their head. It’s not even your maize… they are walking 15km or 20km all day with their heavy burden to be paid a pittance for carrying someone else’s maize to the mill. No clean water or food to drink or eat all day, at risk of being attacked along the way. They have to miss school. How does that feel?

Laston, one of the boys we have matched with a sponsor, worked for a farmer, helping to look after his cows, for approximately £1.50 per month. There was no school for Laston – school was for other children – until we found a sponsor to support him.

In Chambo primary school, where the majority of orphans and other vulnerable children attend, whom the Foundation supports, they have minimal resources. No desks and chairs, apart from primary 8. All other children sit on the floor in their classrooms. They have hardly any books. They have no clean water supply and no latrines. We gifted 17 boxes of books to Chambo primary school to support literacy and help children become confident readers.

Children have to sit exams when leaving primary school. If you don’t pass then you don’t go to secondary school. There are not enough places in secondary school, so if you don’t get picked for a place then you don’t go. If you do pass your exams and are lucky enough to be picked for a place but you can’t afford to pay the fees… it’s heartbreaking. That is your formal education finished at the end of primary school.

That’s why Bright Futures Secondary School was desperately needed. To ensure all the orphans and vulnerable children, supported by The Foundation, had the chance of a secondary education without having to pay. Education is everything to these children. They know it is their escape from the dire poverty they live in.

Bright Futures Secondary School is being built in phases, as it’s obviously a big and costly project. Phase 1 has been successfully completed – staff accommodation, staff latrine and classrooms 1 and 2 and passed with flying colours when the inspectors came from the Education Department.

Now we need to continue our fundraising commitment to build classrooms 3 and 4 to ensure these vulnerable students have the opportunities the deserve. That they have choices and chances. That they have a brighter future.

All students at Bright Futures Secondary School are provided with a uniform, a school bag, other clothes. They receive a free school lunch. They have access to clean water and showers. Girls are given reusable sanitary towels (made at The Foundation) so they don’t have to miss one week of school each month. They are allowed to borrow books to take home from the library at The Foundation. Their dreams are coming true. They are working hard. With your help we are changing lives in Malawi.

On World Education Day we are saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who has helped us to support the students this far. Without your help, these students would not have been able to attend secondary school and have a free lunch each day. The school lunch is vital as it’s probably the only meal for many of them.

We need your help to build the next phase of the school. Two classrooms and more latrines will cost £25,000. Will you be part of the team supporting these vulnerable students to succeed and achieve? Will you be part of the team allowing them to have more choices and chances? Will you be part of the team helping them to help themselves out of poverty? https://gofund.me/ece5753a

If, on World Education Day, you would like to show your commitment to some of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi, please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or donate to our fundraiser here

We are passionate about helping these children to help themselves out of poverty and giving them a better start. The nursery has 75 preschool children (age 4-6). As well as clothes and blankets, each child has just been gifted a book to take home. We want children to learn that books are a wonderful resource that can be used each day for information and escapism. Who knows if any of these children will become authors in the future and write books for other children?

As you might imagine, running costs, as well as capital costs for these projects need to be found. The children need more people fighting their corner and supporting their education. Here are ways you can get involved;

1. Can you donate to our fundraiser to build classrooms 3 & 4? https://gofund.me/ece5753a

2. Can you commit to £5 or £10 monthly to help pay for food for the nursery or secondary school?

3. Will you organise a fundraiser for us? Can you involve your friends? Can your family help? What could your children & their friends do?

4. Would you like us to visit your club or school and show photos & talk about the projects we are supporting in Malawi?

5. Would you like to be matched with a vulnerable child to support their education and wellbeing? It’s only £25 p/m and you can split this cost with a friend.

6. If you are selling preloved clothes or toys… could you do it on behalf of our charity?

7. Can your business sponsor an event? Or donate towards a building? Or pay for the feeding programme for a week? We would, of course give you publicity. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

You can be sure that all money goes to the projects we support. Our charity is run by committed volunteers. So we have no salaries or admin costs. Thank you for reading and supporting us to help continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Gifts for the nursery children – Changing Lives Malawi

Rugby, School & Sponsorship – Changing Lives Malawi

children at the nursery have all been gifted a book to support their literacy
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School in the rugby kit donated by Merchiston Castle School
Some of the girls with their new school bags
Students showing off the new rugby kit and balls supplied by Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Students in a practical science class
we sent school uniform for the students at Bright Futures Secondary School
Exam time
Practical agricultural lesson – preparing the ground in the new polytunnel for growing crops.
The library has a good selection of books and computers
Laston, one of the sponsored teenagers. The photo on the left shows Laston in the only clothes he had. His shoes had holes in the toes so he could continue to wear them as they were too small. He missed a lot of school and worked for a farmer, looking after his cows, for approximately £1.50 per month. Laston is now doing really well as he’s been matched with a sponsor and is working hard at school.
Stuart, one of our trustees, collecting rugby balls and kit from Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh

Reasons to celebrate

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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.

Giving Tuesday – 29th November

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Sarah’s blog 29/11/22

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helps us to support the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

As today is Giving Tuesday, please could we ask that you donate to our charity if you are able?

These are our current priorities, and any donation of any amount WILL make a difference.

  1. To provide a Christmas Lunch for all the children at the feeding programme so they have an extra meal and party – £150
  2. To provide a bar of soap for all the children at Christmas (we have already sent enough pencils for a pencil each) – £200
  3. Bright Futures Secondary School – to provide more desks -£500
  4. Bright Futures Secondary School – to provide more textbooks – £2,000
  5. Bright Futures Secondary School – to provide science equipment – £500
  6. Bright Futures Secondary School – free school lunches – to provide a one-off donation or regular monthly amount towards school lunches – approx £400 per month. Any amount will make a difference to these vulnerable teenagers.

Whatever you are able to give will be very much appreciated. The hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children who we help to support need to know that people care about them. We want for them the same chances, choices and opportunities as our own children have. We want them to succeed and be the best they can be. Will you help us? Together we can make a difference. Together we can help these children out of poverty and onto a brighter future. What can you do today? email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details.

To donate to our school fundraiser the link is here https://gofund.me/44a92444

Here is a link to our fundraising gifts, cards & calendars Christmas Cards & Gifts – Changing Lives Malawi

The photos below are from last year’s Christmas Party. A donation from Strathblane Guild paid for the food and Julian from Wear a Sports Shirt Day sent the Christmas hats. Can you help us provide a Christmas Party this year? Or make a donation towards Bright Futures Secondary School? Thank you in advance for your support. Hundreds of children will know that people care about them. Thank you for helping us continue Changing Lives in Malawi, Sarah x

Christmas Gifts That Keep on Giving

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Sarah’s blog 12/11/22

I never like to think about Christmas shopping until after Halloween is over. Then we have November and December birthdays in our family…so Christmas shopping has to be squeezed in between all the birthday celebrations!

If you are struggling to find time for shopping, or you have gifts to buy for the person who has everything, or you would just like to have an alternative feel good gift that is going to be much better than a pair of socks then we can help you. If you want to help the planet as well as orphans and other very vulnerable children, then please do have a look at our Christmas fundraising gifts and get in touch to purchase. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

We have 2023 full colour fundraising calendars at £10 each plus £2 p&p. I can post to you or post directly to the recipient on your behalf. We also have alternative gift cards to send as Christmas gifts. £10 will buy a football for the children we help to support. £10 will buy 4 fruit tree saplings providing future food and a source of income. £20 will pay for a box of books to go to Malawi for our School Literacy Project and £40 will buy soap for 100 orphans and vulnerable children. I can send these to you or directly to the recipient.

One of our trustees, Christine Cresswell, has donated her beautiful paintings to raise funds for Malawi and also, we are selling her range of cards. All money is going to our projects. We have no admin fees or salaries as we are a small group of volunteers passionate about changing the lives of the most vulnerable in rural northern Malawi.

We are grateful for all the support we have received so far and would love it if you could consider our charity, and the projects we support, in your Christmas shopping list. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

One of the packs of cards from original paintings by Christine Cresswell one of our trustees. 8 blank cards £5 plus £2 p&p
2023 fundraising calendar £10 plus £2 p&p
Moored at Sunset 10″x 12″ framed original by Christine Cresswell £75 plus £5 p&p
Three Boats 10″x 12″ framed original by Christine Cresswell £75 plus £5 p&p
The Black Mount, Rannoch Moor, 10″x 12″ framed original by Christine Cresswell £75 plus £5 p&p
Arisaig Beach 10″x 12″ framed original by Christine Cresswell £75 plus £5 p&p
Low Tide 10″x 12″ framed original by Christine Cresswell £75 plus £5 p&p
Meaningful Alternative Gift Card… Football £10, 4 Fruit Tree Saplings £10, Box of Books for Literacy Project £20, Soap for 100 vulnerable children £40.
Meaningful Alternative Gift Card… Football £10, 4 Fruit Tree Saplings £10, Box of Books for Literacy Project £20, Soap for 100 vulnerable children £40. Any of these can be bought in multiple quantities. Thank you.

Kilometre Challenge News

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Sarah’s blog 08/11/22

Because of all the exciting news about Bright Futures Secondary School opening yesterday, we haven’t had an update on the Kilometre Challenge recently.

First Day of Bright Futures Secondary School 07/11/22 – Changing Lives Malawi

Our Kilometre Challenge is to virtually add kilometres to total the same distance that our boxes travel between here and The Foundation. On one of the routes that the container ships follow (plus land kilometres) the total kilometres are 13,144km. We have been asking people to donate their kilometres from their daily walk, run or cycle. Whether you only walk 2km or you’ve cycled 20km – every little helps so please get in touch to give us your kilometres to add to our total. The race is definitely on as the container ship gets nearer its destination. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

We took our boxes to Dundee to the Bananabox warehouse. Once their warehouse is full, they order and pack a container which then goes to Grangemouth Docks. The container started off on The Alana which went from Grangemouth to Antwerp. The container then changed ship to The Chloe. This container ship left Antwerp for Le Harvre and then onto Las Palmas. From there The Chloe travelled to Cape Town and has now reached Durban.

Some of the people who have been supporting our challenge are Team Mackay. They were on holiday recently and, between the four of them, clocked up 574km. Very well done and thank you for your support, Team Mackay! One of our other supporters had t-shirts made for Team Mackay, and as you can see from the holiday photos Jackie has sent, the t-shirts were worn proudly! Thank you to Jim for the t-shirts!

The new update on the totals is (drum roll) 8,249.205 which is 62.76% of the total journey!! Amazing!! Please do message with your kilometres so we can try to win the race against these boxes that will arrive very soon! contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Although phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School has been completed, we still need desks and more textbooks and then will continue fundraising to provide more classrooms. If you can donate and support education for the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi, then please donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 Thank you all for your continued support and for helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Lots of News

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Sarah’s blog 27/10/22

Sorry that this is going to be a bit disjointed tonight but there are so many things going on at the moment and I thought it would be good to have an update.

  1. I went to Strathblane Church on Saturday for their Charity Christmas Card sale. It was lovely to see some people that I hadn’t seen for ages! I sold some calendars and lots of my mum’s lovely cards which have been made from her beautiful paintings. I also sold some alternative gifts with our new gift cards; a football and some fruit tree saplings. Altogether the charity made £258 which was fantastic.
  2. I’d recently been to visit the Ranger Guides in Strathblane to talk about the projects in Malawi. They are holding a bake sale this Sunday and have very kindly said they will donate some of their proceeds to Changing Lives Malawi.
  3. I’m taking part in the church service this Sunday at Balfron Church and will be showing photos and talking about Malawi. If you are local, then you are very welcome to come. It starts at 11.15am and there’s tea and coffee afterwards.
  4. In November, I have been invited to show photos at a knitting & sewing group in Torrance. They very kindly made lots of lovely baby things that are on the way to Malawi in the container. I am looking forward to meeting them.
  5. In Ibuluma, phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School is almost finished. It’s so exciting to see it all coming together. The floor is drying in the classrooms, the windows are getting finished tomorrow, the doors and roof are on and chalkboards will be made over the weekend. The teachers’ accommodation is finished, and teachers are being interviewed! Bright Futures Secondary School is really happening and will make a difference to so many vulnerable children’s lives. Thank you to all who have supported us to help the children. We still need more funds to buy more textbooks and have more desks made by the local carpenter so, if you can, please donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444
  6. I appealed for some support for the children whose dad had sadly died at the weekend. Two people have generously committed to a monthly amount to help buy food for them. We would like to have a little bit more support for them so if anyone else could spare £5 or £10 per month then please do let me know contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
  7. We will hopefully have an update on our kilometre challenge tomorrow…please let me know if you have some more kilometres to add to our total.
  8. If you’d like to buy any calendars for yourself and for Christmas gifts, they are only £10 each plus p&p. Packs of 8 cards (blank inside) are £5 each plus p&p. Alternative gifts are; 4 fruit tree saplings £10, a football £10, supporting the literacy project to send a box of books £20, soap for 100 children £50. These can be bought in any multiples and posted out to yourself or the recipient.

Thanks for reading and supporting and I’ll be back tomorrow with more photos and updates, Sarah x

Help needed!

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Sarah’s blog 23/10/22

We have some sad news and are hoping that some of our lovely supporters might help us.

The team of builders who have been working hard on Bright Futures Secondary School had the weekend off and went home. Levison heard late yesterday that one of the builders had died suddenly which, of course, has been a big shock. This man had a wife and children, although I don’t have details of the children yet. They are poor people and live in a village on the way to Chitipa town.

The funeral is tomorrow and Levison and a few others will attend. Levison will take some maize for the widow and her children. Although he wasn’t an employee of The Foundation, this family have lost their husband and dad. They no longer have his financial support. We would like to be able to help them like we try to help other families who are in need.

Would anyone be willing to help this family either by sponsoring one of the children when I have more information or by committing to a monthly amount towards a food parcel? You can email me if you can help and, hopefully, we can get a little support team around this family. Thank you, Sarah x

More Building updates

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Sarah’s blog 17/10/22

Things are progressing well with both the staff accommodation and the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School.

The staff accommodation has been having windows put in during yesterday and today and will need painting and doors fixing. Apart from a bit of tidying up outside, that will be it ready!

The builders have finished their work on phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School and the carpenters are working on the roof. There are still some jobs to do after that but it’s exciting to see it taking shape! It won’t be long until the first students arrive.

A teachers latrine block is also being constructed and, when finances allow, we will be building another girls and another boys latrine blocks.

The children still need your support. As yet we still need to find money for windows in the school block, doors, chalkboards, desks, more textbooks and notebooks.

Can you help us help the children please? We are nearly there but need your support to give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable teenagers in rural Northern Malawi. They wouldn’t normally be able to afford secondary school without help. At Bright Futures Secondary School, none of these vulnerable children will have to pay anything.

Here is the link to our fundraiser and we would be so grateful if you could spare a few £££ for the children. Https://GoFund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

At sunset – the wooden roof supports on the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please help us complete this phase https://GoFund.me/44a92444 Let’s build a school!

The roof is going on the first phase of the school… two classrooms are being built in this phase
The carpenters have been working hard today please help to get it finished https://gofund.me/44a92444
The staff accommodation is almost complete. Female teachers will be offered accommodation due to the remote location. Eventually there will be male staff accommodation too.
Bright Futures Secondary School is taking shape… thank you to all who have donated so far
Putting the windows into the staff accommodation block
Female teachers will be offered accommodation
The staff accommodation is almost ready

Help us please to complete the school!

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Sarah’s blog 14/10/22

The building of phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School is making great progress. We are so thankful for all the donations we have received so far. We couldn’t do what we do without you. It’s always about teamwork and our team of volunteers and team of supporters are amazing. Thank you!

However, as usual, we are aiming big even though we are a small charity. As we are volunteers, you can be sure all of your donation goes to the projects we support. We are still needing your help to get windows, build desks and purchase more textbooks. These young people are some of the most vulnerable in rural northern Malawi. Together, we can give them the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444

On the container that will arrive in December are 130 chairs, school bags, school uniform and blankets. Already there, and waiting for phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School to be completed, are pocket dictionaries, calculators, windup torches and filled pencil cases. These young people are desperate to learn. They are desperate to have a better life. They are desperate for a brighter future. They are desperate for education. They need our help. Together we CAN help them and give them the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444

The reason we are fundraising to build Bright Futures Secondary School is that there are not enough places in the current secondary schools. Even if you have a sponsor to pay your fees and you have passed your primary school leaving exams, if you are not offered a place at secondary school then you don’t get to go. That is heartbreaking. They have to repeat their last year of primary school, hoping for a better grade and hoping to be picked for a place at secondary school. This happened to eleven of our sponsored children last year. We will do everything we can to ensure that all children have access to the education they need and deserve.

On our kilometre challenge we are trying to complete 13,144km which is the total that the boxes we send travel from here to The Foundation. We are asking people to send us the number of kilometres you run, walk or cycle so we can add them to our total. We are almost at the halfway mark now! Please email me to donate your kilometres contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

In addition to this fundraiser, we have lovely cards and paintings for sale by one of our talented trustees, Christine Cresswell. We also have calendars for sale at £10 each plus p&p. All of the proceeds of these fantastic paintings, cards and calendars will go towards phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School and will make great Christmas gifts.

Christine Cresswell Artist – new paintings – fundraising – Changing Lives Malawi

Fundraising Calendars 2023 – Changing Lives Malawi

I hope you enjoy the photos of how the school is progressing. Please help us if you can. If you are unable to help at this time, then please share our posts. Thank you for your support, Sarah x

One of the lovely cards we have for sale. Taken from an original painting by Christine Cresswell, one of our trustees. Pack of 8 cards for £5 (blank inside for your own message)

Our 2023 fundraising calendar £10 each plus p&p

Work is progressing well on phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School

Fundraising Calendars 2023

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Sarah’s blog 6/10/22

I am so happy that the calendars are finally here! There are some lovely photos on each page and some information about the projects we are supporting. They will make great Christmas presents or just to treat yourself to a calendar for next year.

The calendars are A4 size and will be £10 each plus postage. All money raised will go towards the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School.

Please email me if you’d like one or more fundraising calendars. I can either post them to you or directly to the recipients if you’d prefer. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for your support and helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Sarah x

Our fundraising calendar for 2023 – £10 plus p&p goes towards Bright Futures Secondary School

Keep collecting Kilometres!

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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

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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
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