How many kilometres now?

Sarah’s blog 22/9/22

Lots of people have been busy in the background adding kilometres to the total for our challenge. We are fundraising to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi and decided we would follow one of the routes that the boxes of aid travel. The total route is over 13,000km and we need more people ‘donating’ their kilometres to help us get to our total.

Do your children walk to school? Could they take part and let us know their totals for the week? Do you walk them to and from school? That means you will do double what your children do. Are you walking the dog every day? Or supermarket shopping? We need your kilometres please whether the total is big or small. The more people who help then the quicker we will get to our total. The local newspaper said they will feature our fundraising story every time we get to a significant goal. So please join in and tell us how many kilometres you’ve walked in a day/week. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

A few of the children that the Foundation supports ran 3km yesterday adding to our total. They were delighted to be helping and they also received some new clothes and flipflops too. So, the new total is 4,940.423 km which is 37.59%. Very well done everyone who has helped us so far…and if you’ve not donated any kilometres yet….please can you help us?

We are building Bright Futures Secondary School as there are not enough places available in the secondary schools nearby. Also, young people have to board as it’s too far to walk every day. Secondary education has to be paid for, so it makes it prohibitive for the majority of young people who are supported by the Foundation unless they have sponsors.

The school is being built in phases as we are on a shoestring budget as usual! Two classrooms will be built to start with, and we will add to the school over the next few years. Please will you help? These young people need a way out of poverty… they are desperate for education as they know this is the way to a better future for them and their families.

To donate you can get in touch by email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for our bank details or you can donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 You can make a difference today. We need you to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Hope you enjoy the photos and videos of the children running yesterday. All of these children (apart from Catherine) would benefit from being matched with a sponsor, so please get in touch if you’d like to support one of them. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The two boys running 3km
The four girls running 3km
These four girls ran 3km and also received some new clothes. Only Catherine (pink top) has a sponsor. If you’d like to be a sponsor email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
Chimwemwe and Ivet received new clothes and ran 3km to add to our total. Both need sponsors.

Gifts for the staff

Sarah’s blog 13/09/22

Some of the boxes have been opened and clothes are being sorted into age groups so they can be given out at the weekend.

One box that we had sent was for the staff and volunteers. I had found a large quantity of blue adult t-shirts in a sale so I bought them and boxed them up for the adults. Levison gave out some of the t-shirts this morning and everyone was pleased that we had thought about them.

In the video, Alice, thanks us for remembering them and for their gifts. To us, a t-shirt is just an ordinary item – nothing to get too excited about. However, when you aren’t used to receiving gifts, and don’t have many clothes of your own, it means a lot to them. I hope you enjoy the photos and the video, Sarah x

Levison distributing t-shirts to staff and volunteers
Levison with the female staff and volunteers

Nakaonga – the sewing instructor with Loveness
Alice thanking us for the t-shirts
Mrs Domingo and Nakapenda – the nursery cooks
Alice, Loveness and Jean
Alice, Loveness and Jean

– the nursery teacher

Getting ready for school

Sarah’s blog 26/7/22

As you know, we are trying our best to raise money to build the first block of a secondary school. Bright Futures Secondary School will be a community school for the orphans and other vulnerable young people to attend.

Education should be available for everyone. There are currently not enough places at local secondary schools. If you don’t get picked for a place, even if you have passed your primary leavers exams and can afford the school fees.

This is what happened to eleven of our sponsored young people this year. They are resitting their last year of primary school, hoping for better grades, hoping to be picked for a place.

As the local secondary school is a distance away the young people, who are sponsored and do get a place at school, have to board at school. This adds to costs and also means they aren’t available to help their families with chores.

A secondary school in the village would make such a difference to so many people. Education is their way out of dire poverty – their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Bricks are being made…about 40,000 so far, and kilns are going to be built soon to fire the bricks.

There are people working hard in Malawi and here to try our best to help these vulnerable children. As well as education, a school will help prevent teenage pregnancies and girls being married off too soon. Already, The Foundation has proved that if the young people are kept busy and given opportunities then there will be far less teenage pregnancies. The young people’s self-esteem has increased as they learn new skills, play team sports with their peers and read in the library. They know people care about them. They have hope for a better future. We need to continue supporting the projects that support them. This is absolutely vital to protect these vulnerable young people.

Here, we are trying to raise funds and awareness. It’s really hard as we know that some people have less available cash. We need to reach a wider group of people and if we all give a little, that will add up to a lot!

Also, we are trying to source supplies to provide for the young people when the school is built. We need to plan ahead as the container takes approximately 3 months for its journey.

There are over 100 chairs at The Bananabox Trust warehouse that we are sending for the first phase of the school. Someone donated boxes of new laptop bags. We are sending 80 of these for the young people to use as school bags. Pencil cases and pens are in boxes too as well as some secondary school uniform.

Stuart, my husband, delivered some boxes and 72 rugby balls to Dundee today and took a photo of all the chairs to show Levison.

I also received a photo from one of our supporters today who put a shout out on her village Facebook page asking for preloved secondary school uniform. People have been very generous as she’s collected a great amount which will kit out some of the pupils who will attend Bright Futures Secondary School.

There’s still so much to do and so much money to raise but we WILL do this. The children are relying on us. So if you can spare a few £££ we would be so grateful. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Donate here: https://GoFund.me/44a92444 or get in touch contact_us@changibglivesmalawi.com

The donations that Stuart took to Dundee today including 72 rugby balls from Annan rugby club and Merchiston Castle School. You can see that the warehouse is getting full.
The chairs that we are sending for Bright Futures Secondary School
We are grateful for this huge pile of secondary school uniform donations that we will send for the pupils when they start school

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

Today we are talking pants!

Sarah’s blog 10/07/22

Thanks to a small Scottish charity, Smalls for All, we are talking pants today! This is the second time they have generously donated pants for all the children supported by The Foundation.

Levison gave me a list of how many boys and girls there were in each age group and I contacted Smalls for All. Stuart and I collected them from Livingston when they had made up the huge order.

Levison gives out clothes and gifts a bit at a time rather than all at once, so today was the day chosen to give out the pants which had been sorted into age groups. Each child was given 3 pairs of pants and you can see from their faces that they are delighted. I can’t really imagine us being quite so delighted with 3 pairs of pants…but then we take so much for granted and are really fortunate. These pants bring dignity and help self-esteem. The children know that people care about them enough to send all those pairs of pants. So a big THANK YOU to https://www.smallsforall.org and all the people who donate pants to them for making hundreds of children happy today. Thanks, Sarah x

Sponsored – Melise & Mwiza – update

This story is about the Mtambo family, living in rural northern Malawi. Not many of us can imagine just how tough life is for this family.

Sarah’s blog 4/4/22

This family has four children and a mum and a dad. That sounds a good way to start a story. Depending where in the world this family live they might have a big house and 2 cars and plenty of money in the bank or a smaller house with the children having to share bedrooms and only one car in their family. Life might be a bit more of a struggle for them but they still have enough to get by.

But this story is about the Mtambo family, living in rural northern Malawi. Not many of us can imagine just how tough life is for this family. Not many of us can imagine just how poor they are. Mum is trying to earn some money to feed her family and hold everything together. Dad is ill and unable to work or help her with housework or the care of the children. There are three girls and a boy. Mwiza, the boy is disabled. He is left to his own devices a lot of the time, sitting on a mat, as mum cannot spend all day with him as she is working and the girls are at school and nursery. Grandma sometimes comes to help.

The story of this family and the mother’s struggle touched people’s hearts and two kind people came forward to sponsor Mwiza and Melise. The other two girls, Thokozani and Eliness, still need to be matched with sponsors. Melise’s sponsor also wanted the mum to have some money to spend on food or what she needs so she pays an extra £5 for the mum which Levison gives her and for which she is very grateful.

Having two out of the four children sponsored has made a big difference to this family. They have two monthly food parcels which supplement what mum can earn, so it takes a bit of pressure from her knowing that her children and herself and her husband have something to eat. The four children have been given new clothes and blankets and Mwiza has received a mattress and lots of toys and books to stimulate him and build up his muscles as he reaches for them. A chair is on the next container for him too.

Mum has said to Levison that she is amazed at the difference in Mwiza since the family started to have regular food and he had books and toys to stimulate him. Also, Melise although just 5 has been given a place at primary school as she is very bright. Usually children start primary school in Malawi at age 6. The extra food is obviously helping her concentration and growth and also the books sent for Mwiza will be helping all three of his sisters too. Families like these do not have the luxury of books so children miss out on lots of literacy that our children have from a very young age. It is great that the books that have been donated and sent are having a positive impact already.

This family still need a lot of help and support but the difference so far is great to see. Having the ongoing support of The Foundation and the two sponsors is helping to change these children’s lives. I hope you enjoy looking at the photos and if anyone feels they would like to join the team around this family by sponsoring Thokozani or Eliness then please do contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for reading and for all the support we receive helping us to continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Juliet & Moreen

Sarah’s blog 3/4/22

Just a quick blog today as it’s been a busy day. Levison was able to give Juliet and Moreen the gifts their sponsors had sent. Juliet has received gifts previously but this is Moreen’s first time and she looks a bit overwhelmed to receive lovely new things. Thank you to their sponsors and all our other sponsors for your continued support and generosity. If you would like to sponsor a child it’s only £25 p/m to help change their life. You can sponsor as an individual, a family, two friends sharing the cost or through your business or club. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Together we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Care packages from sponsors

Sarah’s blog 1/4/22

Sponsoring a child is probably one of the most important things anyone will ever do for them. They will know that someone they have never met cares about them enough to want a better life for them. Sponsor money provides food, education, clothes and shoes for these vulnerable children.

Some sponsors choose to also send gifts for their sponsored child. This isn’t a necessity at all but a choice over and above their sponsorship. Whenever any gifts are sent, Levison will also make sure that any siblings receive some clothes and soap at the same time so they aren’t left out. Here are a few more children who have received gifts recently. NB Amos is still waiting for a sponsor but his sister Roda’s sponsor kindly sent gifts for Roda, Amos and Manuel, their cousin who lives with them. Thank you so much to the sponsors for changing their lives. If you would like to sponsor a child, it’s only £25 per month so please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Sponsored – Granda Nyondo

Sarah’s blog 31/3/22

Each of the children who are supported by The Foundation is an individual. Each child is important. We don’t know all their names. Levison does, but there are approximately 800 (up to age approx 22) who have been or are supported by The Foundation through one project or another. Maybe they’ve been given a blanket and some shoes. Or they also attend the feeding programme or the Christmas Party.

My local high school is in the village where I live. I suppose providing for all those children whom The Foundation supports might be like me having to help every single child in our local high school with clothes because they were all wearing rags. Having to provide shoes for every child at my high school as they are barefoot. Having to feed all those children as they are all suffering from malnutrition to varying degrees Imagine if all those children at my local high school just had one substantial, nutritious meal a week? And how would we feel as parents, grandparents, carers if we couldn’t feed or clothe our children?

Granda came to The Foundation asking for help because her family was absolutely desperate. Because they were hungry. Because she saw her mum’s struggle. Because Granda herself was at risk of being married off as a child bride as her mother couldn’t provide for her children. Granda is the oldest child of four. Their mum is bringing them up alone.

Immediately, Levison visited the family to chat to the mother as well as the children. Some maize and soap was given to them as well as clothes for the children. We put out an appeal for sponsors to help this family. Luckily Granda and one of her brothers, Isaac, were matched with kind sponsors who came forward to help. The family are doing far better now. Yes life is still a struggle but they have regular food coming into the home to supplement what mum earns. Granda will have her secondary school fees paid so her education will continue and thankfully she will not be married off too soon as a child bride. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have that threat hanging over you. Thankfully, for Granda she no longer has to worry about being a child bride.

Look at these photos to see how being sponsored is making a difference to her phyiscally and mentally. Her smile, on receiving some gifts from her sponsor, is just beautiful to see. Her sponsor also said it made her day to see Granda smile like that. Thank you to all our sponsors and if you would like to make a difference to a child like Granda then please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It’s always about teamwork and we need your help to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

A boy and his backpack

Sarah’s blog 30/3/22

I know I’ve been blogging a lot recently…sorry about that….but not sorry really as there is so much going on and I’m just trying to pass on all the good news stories to our supporters.

This story started last July. A boy at The Foundation making things out of old cardboard boxes. Levison observed what he was doing as he was absorbed in his task. He made himself flipflops and a backpack out of cardboard as he didn’t have real ones.

Asante is a clever boy who loves using his hands to make things. Levison took photos and sent them to me. We decided that he should receive a real backpack of his own. I put a post up to show people what Asante had been making and how good his cardboard rucksack was.

Two ladies, mother and daughter, were quick to offer to sponsor Asante. A while later they put together a parcel for him and he has received it today. Levison told me how happy Asante is and he is very, very thankful. I’ll put up the original photos for you to see what he had made using cardboard and his imagination. Compare those to today’s photos. His smile says it all. Thank you ladies for sponsoring Asante and for making him smile. It’s made my day too. Thanks for reading and supporting us to support the children and continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

On Mother’s Day (UK) …..

Sarah’s blog 27/03/22

It’s Mother’s Day where I live but I would like to spend a few minutes thinking about the orphans whose mothers are no longer with them. The mothers who are struggling to feed their children. The mother figures who are caring for other people’s children. Thank you to all the volunteers who help at The Foundation to help nurture the hundreds of orphans and other vulnerable children. Life is hard for these children but these strong women are an integral part of Changing Lives Malawi. Thank you for helping these children feel loved and important. Thank you for all you do.

If you would like to support the work at The Foundation contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Happy Mother’s Day

Spring has sprung and there’s the promise of warmer weather right around the corner. Mother’s Day is a week on Sunday, 27th March.

This is just a little reminder that we are still planting a sustainable future for the hundreds of orphans and other vulnerable children supported by The Foundation.

So how about buying a feel good gift for your mum? Fruit tree saplings will provide future food, an income and jobs at The Foundation and of course planting more trees is what the planet needs. Buying seeds will ensure that the children can grow more vegetables to eat at the weekly feeding programme. Or would you like to provide some blankets for children who are sleeping on the floor and covering themselves in rags at night. All these things are desperately needed and will be a huge help if you could buy a virtual gift.

5 blankets costs £25, seeds can be bought in any amount starting at £10, and fruit tree saplings can be bought in any amount starting at £10 for 4 saplings. If you think of anything else you’d like to contribute to then I can easily make up a picture and email it to you. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading and considering these alternative gifts for Mother’s Day, Sarah x

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