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.

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

Lots of News

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

Bright Futures Secondary School – progress report

Sarah’s blog 06/10/22

The builders are continuing to work hard on the walls of the two classrooms in phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School. It’s exciting to see it coming together! Some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi will benefit from your help https://gofund.me/44a92444 Please help us help them. Every child deserves an education. These children want to learn.

Yesterday, more supplies were bought in Chitipa. However, there was no diesel again until this morning. They had to wait overnight at the petrol station before a delivery of diesel arrived this morning. Nothing is straightforward but, despite setbacks, the team are succeeding… the most vulnerable young people, supported by The Foundation, will be able to go to secondary school within their village at no cost to them. Education is the way out of poverty and young people are desperate to have the opportunity of education.

We still need some more donations to complete this first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please help us help these orphans and other vulnerable young people to have the gift of education https://gofund.me/44a92444 If 400 people each give £10 then Bright Futures Secondary School will be educating and nurturing young people to provide them with a brighter future. Please donate £10 today to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The wood has been bought to build the frame for the roof of Bright Futures Secondary School.

Building Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 25/09/22

It’s very exciting to see the work has started on the first phase of the new secondary school – Bright Futures Secondary School. This will be for the most vulnerable young people who would otherwise not go to secondary school.

Unfortunately, only primary education is free in Malawi. The nearest secondary schools are too far to travel daily so the students supported by The Foundation, and who have sponsors to pay their fees, have to board. These schools do not have enough places which is why Bright Futures Secondary School is much needed.

Everything we do is on a shoestring. We are a small charity, and we are achieving. However, there is still so much more to do. We are volunteers so you can be sure that all money that you give to our charity goes on projects. We do need your help to ensure that we can complete phase 1 of the school. We are building two classrooms and then more latrines. The staff accommodation block is almost finished but we do need more funding to complete the classrooms. Please help us? Please give the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Together we can make a difference. Together we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thank you for reading and supporting us. Sarah x

Traci has completed her challenge!

Sarah’s blog 1/9/22

I can’t believe it is the first of September already! That means Traci’s challenge has finished. She emailed her results last night so here are the results.

Traci had set herself a challenge to walk 500km during July and August. However, she realised that she could do some more and changed her target to walk 700km during July and August. She has been sending regular updates and some great photos and I am in awe of how determined she has been to reach her goal. In fact, she has exceeded her goal by 10km. You are amazing Traci! Very well done!

All Traci’s kilometres have been added to the total that Jackie is keeping for us. As of today, 3,625.615km have been completed in UK plus 320km that the kids in Malawi clocked up in their run gives a total of 3,945.615km. This means we have travelled 30% of our journey now! Well done everyone!

We need more people to ‘donate’ their kilometres from their walks, runs or cycles to add them to our total. Whether you are just taking the dog for a walk or doing the shopping…every little helps…so please do tell us and we will add your kilometres to our total. It’s all about teamwork and we need you on our team.

We are covering the equivalent kilometres of one of the routes that the boxes take that we send from Scotland to Malawi. The aim of this challenge is to raise money and awareness to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi. Please donate if you can to help us give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable young people in northern Malawi.

Here is the link to donate https://gofund.me/44a92444 to show your support for Traci’s brilliant achievement and to give the gift of education. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Traci says “Well, thank goodness I was well ahead of the game before succumbing to Covid – I have been totally floored by it for the last 6 days and barely managed a lap of the garden. But I’m pleased to say I have still exceeded by target of walking 700km by the end of August. If you are able, donations for the wonderful work of Changing Lives Malawi to build a school would be most gratefully appreciated via https://gofund.me/44a92444

Very well done Traci! Amazing achievement!

Traci’s challenge update

Sarah’s 14/08/22

Wow! Traci is still clocking up those kilometres to help us with our challenge. She also set herself the challenge of walking 500km in July/August. When she saw that she could do more than that she decided to set her self the target of 700km in July/August. She’s amazing! and the photos of the scenery on her walks are beautiful. It’s been very hot during the last few days so I’m sure that it has been hard work. Very well done Traci and thank you.

Here’s what Traci wrote ‘Still clocking up km for Changing Lives Malawi, but this weekend I have swapped the Campsie Fells and the River Kelvin for the Moffat Hills and the River Annan. Just 129km to go to meet my 700km target. https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3

We need people to show their support for Traci and the rest of the team who are taking part in the kilometre challenge – travelling the distance boxes of aid travel from here to Malawi – to raise money for a much needed secondary school. Please donate so that the most vulnerable young people can go to school – education should be available for all. Please donate a few £££ and give the gift of education today. https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3 Let’s build a school! Thank you Traci for your hard work and raising awareness of the importance of this project. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some wonderful photos from Traci’s latest walks. Fantastic Traci, thank you.

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!

The Kilns are being built

Sarah’s blog 07/08/22

There is always something happening in Ibuluma and here. Being part of a small charity means that there is always something to do! I wanted to show you some photos of progress that is being made with the brick making.

I’ve shared some photos of the bricks being made and now they are being stacked to make the kilns and fire them. These are amazing structures, it takes skill to stack them properly…the gaps underneath are for the fires which will be lit and kept alight all night.

Some money has been saved by bricks being made rather than bought. However the biggest costs of building classrooms are the cement and the roof panels. We hope that you will be able to spare a few £££ to help provide the gift of education with this much needed secondary school. Here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 to our fundraiser. Please help if you can. If we all donate a few £££ then we will reach our target much quicker.

Also I’ll share the link to Traci’s story from yesterday of her 30km walk for our school fundraiser. It’s Traci’s birthday today…so happy birthday Traci and I hope you are sitting with your feet up today! Traci’s kilometre challenge – update – Changing Lives Malawi . Thanks for reading and supporting and I hope you enjoy these photos of the progress being made, Sarah x

Stacking the bricks to make a kiln takes skill and hard work.
One of the kilns that has been built reading for firing the bricks.
Some of the people involved in making bricks…they’ve worked so hard.
Thousands of bricks have been made and left to dry in the sun. This has provided employment for local people instead of buying bricks from elsewhere.

How many kilometres now?

Sarah’s blog 31/7/22

Wow, how did we get to the end of July already? It’s certainly been a busy month!

Just thought I’d do a quick post with an update as to how many kilometres have been travelled so far on our journey to help build a secondary school for some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. We are following one of the routes that the boxes of aid travel between my house and until they arrive at their destination. That’s over 13,000km!

We have several people working hard and adding their kilometres from walking, cycling and running…however, we need more people taking part…we need you! Do you walk round the supermarket? Do you walk the dog? Or take your children or grandchildren to the park? All of those kilometres count! Can you attach a pedometer to the children whilst they are doing football training or playing with their friends? Every kilometre will help us help the children. Please get involved.

Jackie has just updated the total and has completed a bike ride with her son, Ben, this afternoon…well done both of you!

So the UK kilometres are 1,652.655 and the Malawi kilometres are 320 so the total so far is 1,972.655 = 15.01%

This is brilliant but the more people we have taking part then the quicker the journey. Please take part. Please add your kilometres. Every kilometre counts.

The whole point of this journey is to raise funds to build a desperately needed secondary school which is going to be named Bright Futures Secondary School. Currently, there are not enough places in secondary schools in that area so if you don’t get chosen for a place then you don’t go. We want all children to have access to education. The children know that education is their way out of poverty…their way to a brighter future.

Here is the link to donate to help build Bright Futures Secondary School https://gofund.me/44a92444 and give the gift of education.

This is the link for all the information you need to take part in the challenge https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 We’d love you to join us! This is a huge challenge and we need your help. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Thank you Ben and Jackie… you can put your feet up this evening!

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
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