31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 13

Sarah’s blog 13/5/22

12.15pm Pot of soup made! 15km on exercise bike done! I’m doing ok but finding it quite hard to concentrate on other things apart from this challenge today. I’ve almost completed two weeks and I’m really pleased that I’ve had the willpower to do this challenge….I just need to keep going and need your help. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The thought that the hundreds of malnourished children supported by The Foundation don’t have the choices I have is keeping me going and focused on my challenge. They don’t have the luxury of choosing which vegetables they will be eating and how they will be cooking them. They might go a whole day without eating at all. Things are improving for them but there is still a long way to go.

Having a school in their village will make a huge difference. It will bring employment as well as education for all. It will mean that young people don’t need to board at school and can stay at home and help their families with chores. All children deserve an education. All children deserve enough to eat. All children deserve to have the opportunities to be the best they can be. Please support my challenge to build a school for them.

I thought I’d also show you a photo of some beautiful knitting for babies that we received recently. These little jackets will be so appreciated by new mothers for their babies. We are very grateful for all the donations and support we receive to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

beautiful knitting for babies in Malawi that we received recently

two lots of tasty soup I made this week – glad of a different way to eat vegetables

15km done today

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 3

Sarah’s blog 3/5/22

12.30pm Who needs sleep anyway? Sore tummy and sore legs last night and, for some reason, wide awake! I’m not saying this to moan, I’m just writing down facts as a record of how this challenge is progressing. I haven’t been hungry at all this morning. I’ve just had a lovely salad for my lunch which is the first thing I’ve eaten today. I’m saving my rice for dinner! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The first day of the challenge was really hard as I was hungry all the time but yesterday and today have been ok as my body is obviously getting used to the change in what I’m eating and eating less than usual. Not having meat is a big change but I’ve not really missed it. I’m finding that I am thinking a lot more about the children in Malawi and trying to imagine the different difficult situations they find themselves in. Not enough to eat, nowhere near enough resources in the local schools, no medical care if they can’t afford it. Lots of chores to do to help their families. The heavy rains this year have affected the crops and maize will be more expensive to buy and not as readily available. Life is very hard for them but, bit by bit, we are changing their lives for the better. Always, the end goal is self-sufficiency.

8pm It’s been a busy day today so I didn’t get round to doing my 10km until 7pm. When I got to 6km I started to struggle so I made my lovely hubby come and talk to me until I’d finished…. so I made it over the finishing line! A bowl of rice and a few beans just now. I’m feeling a bit tired but hopefully that means I might sleep tonight. My challenge is to eat rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables as a representation of what the children eat and cycle 10km to represent the distance the little kids walk to school and back. If you’d like to support me raise funds to build a desperately needed school then please donate to my fundraiser https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 thanks for reading and supporting me, Sarah x

Judith has been to see the doctor

Sarah’s blog 25/04/22

I’m feeling very emotional whilst writing this. I’m quite upset. But I’m also very, very grateful. Grateful to three generous people who got in touch offering to help with the cost of Judith going to see a doctor about her eye infection. I’m also very grateful to Levison who took Judith to the health centre and facilitated her appointment. We made a big difference to one child today.

The doctor cleaned her eyes and gave Judith eye drops and painkillers. Just look at the difference from yesterday! She must have been so sore. Levison has to take her back again on Wednesday for a check up and hopefully they will be pleased with her progress. Should the infection continue or come back the doctor at the health centre has said they will refer her to the hospital in Chitipa. This will obviously cost more money but we are very grateful for the people who have covered this treatment and also paid a bit extra so that Levison can give the family some soap and maize.

The reason I’m feeling emotional and upset? We have helped a little girl who was in pain and whose sight may have suffered if she didn’t get treatment. We have made a difference to one little girl. We have made a difference for Judith. Not me…we. I always say it’s teamwork. I try to raise awareness and find people willing to help these very vulnerable children. But I need kind people to get involved, to sponsor, to donate, to fundraise, to raise awareness etc.

For Judith, the team has been Levison, 3 people offering some money, the doctor and me to tell Judith’s story. Also the people who donated the clothes and shoes she’s been given. Judith will never forget today. The kindness that has been shown to her will stay with her forever. I am so proud of what we are achieving for these children and will keep raising awareness and finding people who can help us continue Changing Lives Malawi.

Judith and siblings need sponsors to help them out of poverty and malnutrition, to give them the chance of a better future. It’s only £25 p/m (85p per day) to sponsor a child. Can you join our team of sponsors today and change a child’s life. Every life matters and every child deserves to be the best they can be. Judith needs you? Can you help her? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

Judith needs medical help

Sarah 24/4/22

Levison sees a lot of children. To a certain extent, he must have to get used to the dire poverty these families live in, as he can’t help absolutely everyone. However, he’s sent me these photos and said he was almost crying because of how this family are struggling. Mum has a 4 month old baby (sitting on the blanket) and three other children. Dad has had to go away to find piece work and no one knows when he will come home. Matthew, John and Judith are all malnourished and all need matched with sponsors. However, poor Judith needs urgent medical attention for her eyes. She must be in pain and needs to be seen as soon as possible.

I realise I am always asking for help, but there are so many children who cannot get out of their awful situation without our help. They need your help.

So today I am asking for three people to each sponsor one of these malnourished children. It’s only 85p per day and you can sponsor as an individual, two friends, a family or a business or club. Judith also needs someone to pay for her to see a doctor. Is this something you can do to help her?

If you will help Judith and her family please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com This might be the kindest thing anyone has every done for Judith. Will you help? Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The Munyenyembe Family (baby Miracle is on the blanket). All are malnourished and Judith needs urgent medical attention.

Fundraising challenge to build a school

Sarah’s blog 20/04/22

Every now and again a mad idea pops into my head. This mad idea keeps popping into my head so I’m going to go with it. I am slightly concerned with this idea. As I’ve said previously, there are not enough secondary school places. We need to build a school for all children to be able to access the education they deserve.

Back in February, I was going to set myself a challenge to get fitter. However, it was too soon after my surgery to have a kidney tumour at the end of November. I’m feeling stronger now, so am going to try my very best with this challenge.

For the thirty one days of May I will highlight the plight of the hundreds of malnourished orphans and other vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. I will do a challenge each day for those 31 days. Secondary school pupils have to board as it’s too far to walk (over 20km away) and primary school pupils walk approximately 5km to school and 5km back home, some not having eaten at all that day.

At the Feeding Programme, once a week, 500 malnourished children are fed a substantial and nutritious meal. There are no big agencies feeding children in this area. We currently cannot afford to feed them more often. However, teachers are noticing that the children can concentrate better even from this one meal a week and their grades have improved.

Now for the crazy idea! During May, for the 31 days of May, I will cycle 10km on my exercise bike each day. This represent the walk to and from school for the primary school children. Due to mobility problems, I cannot walk far but I can cycle on my exercise bike (usually only 5km at a time). Each day, I will only eat one bowl of vegetables/salad and one bowl of rice (instead of maize flour). This represents the small amount of food the children have. Even so, I am very aware that although I will be eating that each day, this is the children’s biggest meal of the week. Some days many children may go without food at altogether.

So please sponsor me to cycle 10km each day in May and only eat one bowl of rice and one bowl of veg each day in May. Let’s build a school! I have a fundraiser link https://gofund.me/bd6578d7 or you can text SCHOOL to 70560 to donate or email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details.

If you would like to join in the challenge during May then please get in touch. Or could your children do a sponsored book read? Read one book a day every day in May? There are lots of ways you can help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Juliet Ng’ambi asking for a school

Sarah’s blog 13/4/22

A few young people were at The Foundation yesterday. Levison took videos of Laston (yesterday’s post) and Juliet Ng’ambi appealing for a school in their village. Juliet is also in p8 and is worried that, even if she passes her exams, she won’t be picked for a place in secondary school in January as there aren’t enough places.

I’m confident that by growing our team of supporters we can make this a reality and help hundreds of vulnerable children out of poverty through education.

We need your help. I need your help please. Can you organise a coffee morning where you live? Or an event with your friends? Do your teenagers need volunteering opportunities and could help us with a sponsored event? Are you experienced at applying for grants? Can we come and speak at your club or church? I would love to hear your ideas of how you can help the children have a school in their village…so they can all go to school and be the best they can be.

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to chat about how you can help or for bank details to make a donation. Or you can donate via this website or by texting SCHOOL to 70560 . I know we can do this together to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

When the first few picture books arrived at The Foundation

Juliet Ng’ambi asks for a secondary school in her village so there are enough places for all children

Let’s build a school!

Sarah’s blog 12/4/22

If only it were that easy! It’s going to take a lot of fundraising and a lot of money and some very generous people to make this work. We can do this, together!

There are just not enough secondary school places. Even though children are passing primary leavers exams and have sponsors to pay their fees, if they don’t get picked then there’s nothing they can do! We have 11 such children who have sponsors kindly paying their fees but they have had to resit p8 as they didn’t get a place in secondary school. It’s heart-breaking for them when they are working hard and know that education is a way out of the dire poverty they are living in. We have bought text books and Levison is tutoring them each week to try to ensure they get better passes and are picked for a place at secondary school in January. Life is hard and not fair for these young people. We can help them if you join us.

As you will see from some of the young people’s writing, nearly all of them want to see a secondary school in their village. All the young people who had passed their primary school leavers exams would be given a place. As a lot of the young people are orphans, living with a single parent or grandparent, the fact that they could stay at home whilst attending secondary school would be a bonus as they would still be able to help with some chores at home. Let’s make their wishes come true.

This is us getting started but we need help. We need you. What are your skills? Are you good at applying for grants? Do you have the energy and enthusiasm for fundraising? Do you know anyone famous? Or do you have a large following on social media? Please get in touch and we can do this together. We can build a school. We can change lives. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x fundraisingschool.docx

‘I alone cannot change the world….’

Sarah’s blog 10/4/22

A quote from Mother Teresa ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples’

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has’ Margaret Mead.

I found blogging very difficult to start with. It’s not in my nature to put myself forward….I’m much more comfortable behind the scenes. However, although these blogs are written by me, they are all about bringing news and photos from The Foundation about the hundreds of vulnerable children we are trying to help. The blogs are about raising awareness, raising funds and trying to bring more supporters into our team.

In order to keep helping the community towards self-sufficiency, we do need to widen the net and increase our team. Self-sufficiency is the end goal and always has been but things have been so bad for this rural community it is going to take a while and a lot of support.

All children in this rural community are malnourished. Most do not eat properly every day. Some go for a couple of days without eating at all. The plan was to set up The Feeding Programme for approximately 200 orphans and vulnerable children who live in the villages surrounding The Foundation. However, there are no big agencies feeding children in that area. I have made contact with them numerous times but they are busy further south. Some children are walking up to 20km for their one substantial, nutritious meal each week. On average 500 children and young people are fed every weekend. Teachers are noticing a difference to these vulnerable children’s concentration and grades after The Feeding Programme being set up. If this is after one meal a week, imagine the difference to these children if they were able to eat nutritious food more often?

I can’t imagine not being able to feed my children. Especially during the pandemic when the schools were closed, my youngest son was looking in the fridge for food an hour after he’d had his breakfast. He wanted lunch at 10.30am….I think quite a few children were like this whilst at home and out of their routine. We had to say ‘no’ some of the time. We said ‘have some fruit’ ‘have a carrot or cucumber’ or ‘have a glass of water to fill yourself up until lunchtime’. We live in a totally different world to those living in dire poverty in Ibuluma and surrounding villages in rural Northern Malawi.

Lack of food will affect strength to carry out manual jobs like collecting and carrying wood, carrying maize, walking to school, it will make them tired and cold, it will mean stunted growth and malnutrition and the inability to concentrate. Imagine your children were crying with hunger and you’d nothing to give them. Imagine the hopelessness of sending your young children out to work instead of them attending school as you need the pathetically small amount of money they will bring in. One boy (now sponsored) helped a farmer with his cows for the equivalent of £1.50 per month. In this situation, children are missing a huge amount of school. Life is hard and it is certainly not fair.

Some girls are at risk of being married off too young as child brides, despite this being illegal. Their families don’t want this, the girls don’t want this but their families cannot afford to feed all their children. What a desperate situation to be in.

My youngest son needed some new t-shirts and a waterproof jacket as he has grown. We don’t have an endless pot of money but I was able to order the clothes he needed. Imagine your children have one set of clothes and they grow? These families cannot afford to buy new clothes. Children have been wearing rags.

Thanks to your help and support, The Foundation is able to feed these children once a week and you have donated clothes and shoes. You’ve also generously donated stationery and books to help with the children’s education. Then there are the 90 children who are sponsored who have a monthly food parcel and their secondary education paid for them by their generous sponsors. There are lots more children needing a helping hand and a sponsor.

So what I am trying to say is that, as a team, together we are Changing Lives (in) Malawi. However, we need more people to help more people. Here are some ways you could help;

  1. Fundraising – can you do a sponsored event for us like The Kiltwalk or something else? I will help with sharing posts on social media to get more sponsors.
  2. Fundraising – can you organise an event in your community? Whether a quiz, a table top sale or a coffee morning or a carwash? Or what else? All these type of events help spread awareness of our charity to a new audience.
  3. Fundraising – could you organise a raffle, whether online or at an event?
  4. Fundraising – are you part of a church or club that you could invite us to speak at and show photos?
  5. Sponsoring – could you sponsor a week of the feeding programme or raise £100 to sponsor one meal for 500 children?
  6. Sponsoring – could you sponsor a child or young person. It’s only £25 per month.
  7. Donate – could you make a one off or regular donation towards the feeding programme or support another one of the programmes?
  8. Sign up to receive the blogs to receive up to date information.
  9. Share our posts to reach a wider audience please and talk to family and friends about what we do.
  10. Are you doing your Duke of Edinburgh Award or another volunteering activity? Do you want to add some volunteering to your CV? What could you do to raise funds or awareness for the children in Malawi?
  11. Any other ideas you have – please get in touch. As the saying goes ‘every little helps’. We cannot do this on our own. The hundreds of orphans and other vulnerable children need you.
  12. WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY? EVERYONE CAN DO SOMETHING. WE NEED YOU. THE HUNDREDS OF ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN LIVING IN POVERTY NEED YOU. PLEASE HELP US CONTINUE CHANGING LIVES MALAWI.

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you, Sarah x

Each child deserves a chance

Sarah’s blog 6/4/22

These amazing children need a helping hand to reach their potential. To be the best they can be. Isn’t that what we all want for our children? Each of these children suffers from malnutrition. They need more food, clothes, education. Can you be a helping hand for one of these children? It’s only £25 p/m to sponsor a child. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com please look at each photo and help a child today. Thanks for reading, 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

Some of the most vulnerable children

These are the most vulnerable children and most in need of a sponsor. Can you be a helping hand to one of these children?

Sarah’s blog 5/4/22

I wanted to highlight some of the orphans and vulnerable children that Levison has taken photos of previously. He’s done this as they are some of the most vulnerable and most in need of a sponsor. It’s only £25 per month to sponsor a child and you can do that as an individual, a group or two friends. 85p per day will mean the world to these children.

I’ve highlighted each child with a coloured background because I think they deserve to be seen. They deserve to have the same chances our children have. They deserve to have food, clothes, education. They deserve to reach their potential. They deserve to have a helping hand. They deserve to know that someone cares.

Please…can you be a helping hand to one of these children? It might be one of the most important things you ever do. It might be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thank you for reading and I hope to hear from some of you and match you with a child. Sarah x

This year’s S1 students

Sarah’s 29/03/22

Whilst the first year students were back from secondary school for the school holidays last week, they each had their photo taken and were asked to write their thoughts by answering a few questions. I hope you find their answers interesting. If you’d like to sponsor a young person to help them achieve their potential then please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com it’s only £25 per month to change a child’s life. Thanks, Sarah x

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