The kilometre challenge – swimming

Sarah’s blog 17/08/22

I can’t walk far because of mobility issues. However, I can swim. It was the first day back at school where we live and Stuart and I went swimming once our son was off to school.

I wanted to add to the kilometre challenge to help raise funds to build a much needed school and, although it’s not adding much to the total, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. As the saying goes, every little helps!

Today I was able to swim 70 lengths of a 15m pool which totals 1.05km. Stuart did .66km too. We had been swimming as a family last week and I did half a kilometre whilst the boys were playing ball in the pool. It’s not much but I am hoping that some kind people would like to donate a few £££ so we can give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable young people in Northern Malawi. https://gofund.me/44a92444 So if you’ve only walked round the supermarket or walked to the bus stop…it still adds up so please join in and add your kilometres.

The kilometre challenge covers over 13,000km which is one of the routes that the boxes travel from here to the Foundation. People can donate their kilometres from their daily exercise to help us get to the total and also we are looking for people to support us by donating some money. Here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

I completed 70 lengths of a 15m pool today!

Children’s Education

Sarah’s blog 8/8/22

In Malawi, children in their last year of primary school and in the second year of secondary school, have all been busy with exams. The fourth year of secondary school will sit exams in October. Just like for our children, it’s a stressful time and a lot of pressure for the young people.

However, unlike most of our children, the children supported by The Foundation, have faced huge trauma. Most children have had family members who have passed away. Children are being cared for by extended family or another family have taken them in. Even if children are still with their parents or one parent, there is not enough food coming into their homes to enable the children to eat properly every day. Some children may have one basic meal a day, others might have to go without food or try to find food themselves.

We send money to support The Feeding Programme which feeds 500+ children once a week. They get a substantial and nutritious meal. Some children walk up to 20km for that meal as there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in that area. We would love to be able to feed the children more often but costs are rising and we, along with The Foundation, are trying to work holistically, so that money is also going to future projects for the benefit of the whole community and for them to be self-sufficient.

Teachers have noticed a difference in the concentration of the children and young people who are supported by The Foundation just from that one meal a week at the Feeding Programme. Imagine the difference if they were able to have more food more often? Once the fruit tree saplings have matured and are producing fruit the children will be able to have fruit to supplement their diet.

Children have had clean clothes instead of the rags they were wearing and are attending school more regularly and their self-esteem is better. However, are they sleeping properly? Are they cold? Are hunger pains keeping them awake? Most of the children supported by The Foundation won’t have anything to eat before school. They certainly won’t have anything to eat during school…if they are lucky they may have something once they get home. Sponsored children receive a monthly food parcel to supplement the food in their homes. All children are malnourished to different extents. Some children have stunted growth due to lack of food and nutrients in their early life. All 500+ children need our help.

The nursery has been set up for preschool children three times a week. It was intended for 50 children but now 75 children attend. They are fed at each session. There is some porridge provided by Feed The Children, for which we are grateful, but it doesn’t last long so we are supporting feeding these hungry children. These preschool children still aren’t having enough food and nutrition but what they are getting is more than the older children. Year on year the children should have better nutrition. We also want to be helping expectant mothers, babies and toddlers.

I’m typing as the thoughts are coming into my head so I am sorry if this isn’t flowing as well as it should, but the children’s wellbeing is very important to me and I have so many ideas sometimes my fingers can’t keep up with my brain!

So are we expecting too much from these vulnerable children and young people who are doing exams? Would we send our children into an exam without breakfast? Imagine if a child hadn’t been eating enough for a long period of time…how can they learn if they are hungry and tired? Basic needs have to be met first before children can start thinking about anything else. Have they slept properly on the ground in their very basic home? Unless they are sponsored, they don’t have a torch to do homework after 6pm when it gets dark each day. What about the trauma of people they love passing away? Girls had been missing out on school for one week every month until the Period Poverty Project was established. Some children had missed lots of school to try to earn a pittance to buy food.

The odds of achieving had been stacked against them. But things are changing. As long as the children are trying their best then that’s all we can ask of them or expect of them. Whether they pass exams or they don’t, they will have learned more being in school than out of school, also they are safer in school and there is less risk of teenage pregnancy and girls being married off too soon. Their literacy skills and numeracy skills will be better than if they hadn’t attended school. These skills will help the young people in future whatever they do. These children are doing brilliantly to do what they do each day, to learn at school. In the local primary, apart from year 8 all the children are sitting on the floor. Another issue we want to address when we can.

What I am trying to say is that the orphans and other vulnerable children, whether at primary school or at secondary school have had a very tough life so far and have missed out on some of the basics that every child should have. Hopefully, because we are introducing books in the nursery, library and primary schools and because children are having more nutrition, we should see literacy levels rise each year and children achieving better results in their exams. But, just like anywhere in the world, not all children are academic and so they should be supported to learn a trade or whatever they want to do. These children are brilliant. They are resilient. They are survivors. We are proud of each and every one of them. They will have brighter futures with a team supporting them at The Foundation.

We are looking to partner with businesses, clubs, families or individuals who will commit to a monthly donation towards the feeding programme. We have a few people already helping us with this and we’d love more people to help and share the costs so that these children can have at least two decent meals each week. We sent money for fruit tree saplings and we want to send more money so this is a future source of food and a source of income. If you would like to support the feeding programme with a monthly donation then please email me at contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . We will continue making a difference with your help and we will continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading and supporting the children, Sarah x

Children in a classroom at Chambo Primary looking at the books that the school had just been gifted as part of The School Literacy Project.
These three photos are from approximately three years ago but I think they are very powerful. 1.Little children enjoying their meal at the Feeding Programme. 2.Volunteers & some older girls preparing food for all the children. 3. A big sister delighted to have something to feed her baby sister…they had both just become orphans.
The children in nursery have received new clothes and flipflops. They were also sent a preloved trainset. It was all put in the middle of the floor and the children were observed working out what to do with the pieces and the trains…it didn’t take them long, despite never having seen a trainset before!

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.

Kilometre Challenge Update

Sarah’s blog 4/8/22

Jackie has written an update below of how the challenge is going.

Douglas & Lynda have been walking some of the Fife Coastal path and clocked up 67.5km. They also sent some beautiful photos. Thank you to both of them for their continued support.

Stuart and I managed some r&r in the East Neuk of Fife too and have added our km although nowhere near as impressive. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

“Hello All – Well the BALFRON TO BRIGHT FUTURES SECONDARY SCHOOL CHALLENGE has just passed its first month

The various people involved (a small team of 7 so far) have clocked up 1,817.805km. In addition the kids in Malawi have run 320km to join in.

This is a total of 2,137.805km an amazing 16.26% of the way to walk/cycle/run/hop/skip/jump the 13,144km that represents the journey from Balfron to Ibuluma in Northern Malawi.

So far over £8k has been raised (a lot off line so the GoFundMe looks a bit light!) but as prices are rising fast in Malawi just like here the sooner material can be bought the better so we really need to raise lots more money sooner rather than later.

Can you help Build the Bright Futures Secondary School?
Ways to help:-

1 – Make a donation and encourage me (and the team) to keep clocking up the km’s – https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3
2 – Join in and “donate” your km’s to the total to get us to Malawi sooner – https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9
3 – Follow the charity on FB to see how we are getting on with our challenge – https://www.facebook.com/changinglivesmalawi
4 – Share this post with anyone and everyone who might be interested in our project so we can raise awareness of the charity and its amazing projects (it does soooo much more – https://changinglivesmalawi.com/about/)

Thank you so much for reading and your support 🙂

PS – over 70,000 bricks are soon being fired to build the walls 🙂 – Jackie”

Beautiful views from the East Neuk of Fife courtesy of Douglas & Lynda

Photos I took from St Andrews and the East Neuk of Fife – one of our favourite places.

Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 1/8/22

I just wanted to do an update on where we are with this exciting project that is going to give a brighter future to hundreds, if not thousands, of young people in rural northern Malawi, changing their lives for the better by giving them the gift of education.

Secondary schools in Malawi charge fees, so those who cannot afford the fees just do not go to secondary school. However, because there are not enough places at secondary schools in that area, even if the children have passed their primary school leavers exams and have the money to pay for secondary school, if they don’t get picked for a place then they don’t go. This is unfortunately what happened to eleven of our sponsored children this year. It’s heart-breaking for them and they have been resitting their last year of primary school with the hope of getting better grades and therefore getting a place next time.

The nearest secondary school is too far away for children to walk so they have to board which then puts the costs up and also keeps them away from their families who may rely on the young people to help with chores and looking after younger siblings.

Bright Futures Secondary School will be for orphans and vulnerable young people supported by the Foundation. Those who cannot pay fees will still be offered a place at the secondary school and those who can pay a bit will be asked to contribute what they can afford. Obviously, young people will have been required to pass their primary school leavers exams before continuing with their secondary education.

There has been lots of work going on in the background, collecting school uniforms, liaising with other charities who may help us etc. There are over 100 chairs going on the next container. They have also been busy in Malawi with making bricks and they are going to be firing all the bricks soon when they’ve stacked them to make the kilns. I have got good news and bad news so I think I’ll go with the good news first….as there are lots of good things going on.

Good things are happening

  1. One of the neighbours of The Foundation is gifting some land to ensure there is enough land to build the secondary school on. That is extremely generous.
  2. We had a grant from The Souter Charitable Trust for £3,250 for secondary school text books and are very grateful for their support.
  3. Recently we had a cheque for £4,000 from The Inverclyde Trust to help towards the secondary school. This was a lovely surprise and we are so thankful.
  4. I had a fundraiser in May to start off the brickmaking for the school. People were very kind and contributed over £1,000.
  5. We have a gofundme page open for donations towards building the school. If you would like to contribute a few £££ towards the school and to support those who are doing our kilometre challenge then here is the link; https://gofund.me/44a92444
  6. There have also been some donations straight into the bank account for which we are very thankful.

The not so good news

  1. The Malawian currency has been devalued and everything has also gone up in price. Maize is double what it previously was and also the building supplies have all gone up, some being double the price that they cost in the shower block build. All this makes it extremely difficult when we think we are working towards a target then the goalposts keep changing.
  2. We had a quote over the weekend for the first phase of the secondary school. It was, because of the reasons stated above, far more than any of us imagined.
  3. Levison and The Foundation do not have any funds of their own so are reliant on our charity for fundraising. They have started to bring small amounts of money in but because of rising costs and the huge number of children and young people they are supporting, it is like they are swimming against the tide. Self-sufficiency is obviously the end goal but it is difficult when prices are rising and children are hungry.
  4. We need more people to help with fundraising and telling others about our charity.

Bright Futures Secondary School

We are very excited and committed to changing the lives of so many children. They know that education is their way to a brighter future for them and their families. They want education and they want to work hard.

Unfortunately, due to the trauma and lack of nutrition that many have faced, not all children will be able to complete secondary school but we hope that there will be jobs available and opportunities within the Foundation or for further vocational training.

However, because of the Feeding Programme, and the preschool children being fed in nursery, they have a better start than the older children. As well as food, they have access to showers and clean clothes and are already looking at picture books. The Literacy Project is very exiting as we are hoping that the results of having reading materials readily available will be seen over the next few years. Year on year, exam results should start to improve in the schools that we are supplying with books.

We had hoped that we would be able to raise enough money for the first phase of the secondary school to open in October 2022. However, we have had to make the decision that we cannot achieve that this year. We have a year to work hard and ensure all the money needed is in place for the start of term in October 2023. Whilst we are disappointed that costs have risen and we don’t have as much money as needed at the moment, we think it is sensible to be able to spend the next year ensuring that finances are in place and that the school is built properly ensuring all children have Bright Futures.

Please, if you know of any grant giving charities who could help, or any businesses willing to give a donation in return for some publicity then please do let us know. This is a huge undertaking for a small charity like ours but we are determined to continue Changing Lives. Can you do a fundraiser for us in the community where you live? Can you hold a coffee morning or a bake sale? There’s loads of ways in which you could get involved and we would love you to join us. The children are relying on us so they all have brighter futures. Please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to suggest ways of helping, or to donate to the school. Any donation over £500 can name a classroom. Thank you for reading and supporting us, Sarah x

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!

Imagine a world with no school

Sarah’s blog 18/7/22

Imagine a world with no school. Lots of children might initially be cheering. But think of your life…if you’d not been to secondary school, would your life look very different now?

Would you be ok if your children didn’t have the opportunity to go to secondary school? I think we can all agree, no matter whether you liked secondary school or not, secondary school enabled us to learn more. Whether you liked science or languages or PE or arithmetic or music, or whatever subjects you had at your school, you had the opportunity to learn and to try different things.

You may have gone on to college or university or gone straight into the workforce. Could you have done that with just your primary school education?

The point of my rambling is that education is every child’s right. All children, wherever they live in the world, whatever their background or circumstances, should have a chance to go to school. We would be different people to the people we are now if we hadn’t had those opportunities. Please help us ensure that the children The Foundation supports have access to education. It’s their way out of poverty. It’s their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Currently, there are not enough secondary school places available for the young people whom The Foundation supports in rural northern Malawi. Secondary school needs to be paid for. None of the children supported by The Foundation can afford to pay school fees, which is why we try our best to match children with sponsors to help pay their school fees.

Children can only go to secondary school if they pass their primary school leavers exams. However, because there aren’t enough secondary school places, even if you’ve passed your primary school leavers exams, if you don’t get picked for a place at secondary school then you can’t go. It’s heart breaking for these children who have so many problems in their lives not to be picked even though they have tried their best.

Also, as the nearest secondary school is a distance away, pupils who are supported by The Foundation and who are picked to go to secondary school, have to board at school making it even more expensive. Families and caregivers who rely on these teenagers for help with chores or looking after younger siblings also miss out on having them at home.

Bright Futures Secondary School is going to make a difference to so many. It is going to change lives. It will be in the village, for village children who cannot afford school fees. The first year classrooms will be built during the first year, then the second in the second year and so on until all four years are built. However, we cannot do this without you. We know it is a huge project and a huge ask but we have a responsibility to ensure that all children have an education. We want the same things for the children supported by The Foundation that we want for our own children.

Can you help us please? Can you make a difference? Can you change lives? Here is the link to our fundraiser for the school. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Even just a few £££ will make a difference. Here is the link to our kilometre challenge https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 and we would love you to get involved. It’s always about team work and we cannot do what we do without your help. Please?

We don’t want children leaving primary school and going straight into work. They would be working for a pittance with what prospects of a better future? One boy, who is now sponsored, was working for a farmer for the equivalent of £1.50 per month. We need to ensure all children have a childhood and have the opportunities they deserve. Please help us to continue Changing Lives Malawi.

Laston, the boy in the video, was the boy who was working for £1.50 per month and only had rags to wear. He is thriving since being matched with a sponsor. There are hundreds of children like Laston who need our help. What will you do today to help a child like Laston? Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Laston had no other clothes. His shoes had huge holes in them.

International Day of the African Child – some of the projects which are helping the most vulnerable children

Sarah’s blog 16/6/22 (I wrote most of this post on 16th but as it was a very busy day I ran out of time so had to add the photos this morning 17th)

Today we remember all the vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi who are supported by The Foundation and those who will require support in the future.

We want all children to have the best possible start in life and be the best they can be. Unfortunately, life has been very difficult for the community we are helping The Foundation to support. Through a variety of projects, these children’s lives are changing for the better. We are passionate and committed to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Here are some of the ways life is improving for the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children that The Foundation supports.

  1. Mother & Baby project. We have received beautiful hand knitted blankets and baby clothes as well as lots of generous donations of preloved baby clothes. This is an ongoing project with the health centre local to The Foundation. Mothers are given some clothes and a blanket for their new born baby. They can return at a later date to receive some more baby clothes. This gives staff at the health centre another chance to have an informal check up of each new mum and her baby.
  2. Agriculture – The Foundation grows a variety of crops and the children and young people help with planting, weeding, harvesting. This gives the children skills for their future and also provides some food to be used at The Feeding Programme.
  3. The Feeding Programme – many of the approximately 500 children who attend every weekend do not eat every day, or eat very little. They are given a substantial, nutritious meal once a week using food that has been grown at The Foundation if possible. Lots of maize and soya beans and vegetables still have to be bought as 500 children is a lot of mouths to feed. We wish we could afford to send money to feed them more often as there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the far north of Malawi. Some children are walking up to 20km to have their food and 20km back home again.
  4. The nursery – was set up for 50 of the most vulnerable preschool children. It now has 75 children meeting three times a week. They are fed at each session. Feed the Children occasionally provides some porridge for the children to help but it only lasts a couple of weeks each time. All nursery children have been given clothes, nursery uniform, shoes, a blanket and a waterproof jacket. In future, all children starting nursery will receive a bag containing; a blanket, 2 red tshirts (uniform), 2 pairs of pants, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste, and a picture book.
  5. School Uniform & preloved clothes – all children supported by The Foundation receive preloved or new clothes. We have sent lots of shoes but not enough…more shoes are needed in all age groups including adult sizes. Children are more confident and have better self-esteem now they aren’t wearing rags. They are warmer at night time because they have warm clothes. Eventually we won’t need to send so many clothes as they can start making their own as we have sent vintage hand turn sewing machines. The aim has always been to give a helping hand towards self-sufficiency.
  6. Period Poverty Project – why should teenage girls have to hide in shame at home for one week every month and miss out on lessons at school? Why should there be such an inequality just because of gender? Some girls have been making drawstring bags containing; 5 reusable sanitary towels that they have also made, 3 pairs of pants, soap and a health information leaflet. These have been given to every girl who needs one and will be an ongoing project. A small project making a very big difference.
  7. Apprentices – some teenagers are learning all about agriculture as Levison has a degree in this subject. They are learning about animal husbandry, making bricks and building, carpentry and other skills. These skills will help them with future employment.
  8. Child Sponsorship – currently there are 90 of the most vulnerable children and young people who have been matched with sponsors. They receive a monthly food parcel, clothes, a blanket, welfare checks and their school fees are paid.
  9. Sports – the children love playing team sports; football, netball and rugby. Generous people have donated sports kits/balls/equipment to enable the children to learn and play these sports. They are learning new skills, being part of a team, being healthy and active and able to forget their problems whilst having fun with their friends.
  10. Library and School Literacy Project – previously the children had little or no access to books. How are children supposed to learn to read without having books to practise their reading.
  11. WASH – (water, sanitation & hygiene) Latrines, a clean water supply & a shower block have been built at The Foundation.
  12. School – we have started fundraising to build a much need secondary school. There are not enough places for students in the nearest secondary school, so even if children have passed their primary school leavers exams and have a sponsor to pay their secondary school fees, if they don’t get picked for a place at secondary school then they don’t go. The young people know that education is vital as it is their way out of poverty. We want education to be available to all.
  13. Eco stoves are being made for the villagers. These are safer than open fires, retain more heat and use far less fuel.
  14. Fruit tree saplings have been planted as a future source of food and income and are a way of helping towards the climate crisis. More trees will be planted each year.

These are just some of the ways the most vulnerable children are being supported to have a better future. We are grateful for all the support we have had so far but, unfortunately, all these projects require funding. If you can donate we would be very grateful and please share our posts so others can learn about these amazing children in rural northern Malawi. Self-sufficiency is always the end goal and Levison and team lead the way on what is appropriate and most needed in their village. Thank you for supporting the children and enjoy the photos, Sarah x

some of the chidren at the weekly feeding programme
a donation of books for the school literacy project from Arnprior nursery
thanks to a donation from Strathblane Guild, the children received a meal at their Christmas party
the apprentices were sent some work clothes and also gifted other clothes

a borehole was dug and clean water is now available

17 boxes of books for all age groups/reading levels were gifted to Chambo Primary School to help improve literacy levels. More books are on the way to be gifted to other primary schools.

Younger children received waterproof jackets (paid for by a supporter), lollies and pencils at the Christmas Party

Some of the most vulnerable young people have been matched with sponsors who pay their school fees. These are some of them at Chisenga Secondary School. As it is too far to walk each day, these children need to board. There are not enough places at secondary schools for everyone which is why we are fundraising to build a school for all at The Foundation.
Many boxes of donations are sent via The Bananabox Trust Container. It costs £15 per box on the container and Levison has a long trip to collect them. Thankfully, he no longer has to hire a truck thanks to a donation that went towards the purchase of this truck.
A library has been built and books sent. It now has some computers (although no internet yet) so the children are learning computer skills.

The young people are delighted with all the sports kits that have been donated. They love playing team sports.

Eco stoves are being made for the villagers. These are safer to cook on than open fires, retain more heat and use far less fuel.

Lots of fruit tree saplings have been planted and are being cared for by the children. These will provide food for the future, create an income and provide sustainability for people and planet. More will be planted next year.

young people enjoyed learning new skills at a recent rugby camp
baby clothes and blankets have been gifted to the maternity dept at the local health centre as part of the Mother and Baby project
Children in the nursery have been given uniform, clothes, blankets & flip flops. Here they are investigating the new train set/roads/trains & cars that have been gifted to them.

Young people are learning to grow their own crops at The Foundation

Children have fun with their friends at The Foundation

Mwiza has additional needs. We, and his sponsor, have sent books and toys to stimulate him and encourage him to use his muscles. He is also benefitting from new clothes, soap and food. His mum has noticed a big difference in him now he has more food as he is more alert. Mwiza’s younger sister has benefitted from Mwiza’s books as she has been allowed to start school at age 5 instead of the usual 6 years old.
The new shower block and sinks are making a big difference to the lives of the young people
School uniform donations. Children are more confident now they aren’t wearing rags and are warmer at night. Eventually, they will make their own clothes as we have sent vintage hand turn sewing machines.

An amazing homemade guitar!

young people learning basket weaving

Some young people have been learning to use the sewing machines that have been donated. Reuasable sanitary towels are being made for all who need them, enabling girls to be at school all month like the boys. They no longer have to hide at home for a week each month missing out on vital schooling. Tailoring lessons have also started.

Madalitso made himself a fantastic bike out of scraps he found.
Asante made himself some shoes and a backpack from cardboard. When a mother and daughter saw my post they were so impressed with his ingenuity that they both decided to sponsor him, splitting the monthly cost of £25 between them. They also sent him a lovely backpack of his own filled with practical gifts.
Singing and music making with a homemade guitar
Great dance moves from these children. You can’t help but smile when you see them enjoying themselves.

Fun, Clubs & Skills

Sarah’s blog 08/05/22

An holistic approach is taken to improving the lives of the hundreds of children supported by The Foundation. Levison has sent lots of photos from a busy Sunday.

Today was a feeding day and some of the children from the gardening club who had helped grow cabbages, were shown how to prepare and cook them as part of today’s meal. Children have started learning to weave baskets, others were weaving mats to sit on. Some children were playing rugby, some knitting and some sewing. These are all great skills to have for their futures. Children are having opportunities to learn new things that they wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to try. These children are having fun with their friends whilst learning and are able to forget about their problems for a while.

I hope you enjoy looking at the photos. There is a lot happening at The Foundation. We don’t always see how much is happening or how busy it is. However, with so many children to support, every day at The Foundation is a busy one! I hope you enjoy the photos. Remember the link to my fundraiser to build a school for these children is https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

children learning basket weaving

Rugby Coaching with Jack Mphande, Malawian Rugby International

Sarah’s blog 23/3/22

There are a few small charities, supporting the most vulnerable in Northern Malawi, who work together when we can and also learn from each other as some are more experienced in certain areas than others.

We helped Andrew Bottomer, of Community Sports Leaders Africa, to get boxes of sports equipment to the people he works with in Malawi, not far from The Foundation. Andrew lives in the north of England so we met him in Edinburgh and took his boxes with ours to The Bananabox Trust in Dundee to await the container. Then Levison collected and delivered Andrew’s boxes to where they needed to be. Amongst those boxes were lots of rugby balls.

Community Sports Leaders Africa has paid Jack Mphande’s expenses to Chitipa for him to be able to teach rugby there for the first time. He’s been busy teaching adult coaches who have loved learning about and playing rugby and Jack’s enthusiasm for the game has been infectious. Jack plays rugby at international level so we are delighted that he is going to spend time with 25 young people teaching them basic rugby training which they can then teach their peers and younger children.

You’ll notice from the ages of the young people that they are all older than you’d expect for the class that they are in. All of these vulnerable young people have missed school, some more than others, to try to work for a pittance to make enough money to buy some food. One boy, who is thankfully now sponsored and doing well, worked for a farmer with his cattle for the equivalent of £1.50 per month…which hardly buys anything. Thankfully, more children are attending school now that they are fed by the weekly feeding programme. Unfortunately, young people in their last year at primary school are busy studying…hopefully they will be able to attend a future course.

The young people who have been picked to attend this first rugby coaching course are; Brian Sichamba, 16 (S1), Chancy Chisale, (S1), Moses Ng’ambi, (S1), Titus Ng’ambi, 14 (S1), Makayiko Simkonda, 13 (p5), Chimango Nyondo, 13 (p6), Chigomezyo Nyondo, 12 (p5), Hopeson Nyondo, 14 (p7), Fumbani Sichamba, 15 (S1), Elisha Sichamba, 15 (S1), Walusungu Nyondo, 12 (p5), Lameck Kanyika, 16 ( ), Manase Nyirenda, ( ), Chancy Kaonga, ( ), Chickumbutso Mtambo, 14 (p6), Pemphero Mbyghi, 13 (p7), Victoria Kayange, 16 (S1), Maria Chizumila, 16 (S1), Elizabeth Nyondo, 13 (p6), Tyness Sichamba, 15 (p6), Mitren Nyondo, 12 (p6), Tryness Sichamba, 16 (S1), Esther Nyondo, 16 (F1), Tamandan Nyondo, 15 ( ), Granda Nyondo, 13 (p7). (Lameck, Manase & Chancy K are the team making the eco stoves so not at school). We are very glad that 14 out of the 25 young people have been matched with sponsors…. if anyone would like to sponsor one of the other 11 taking part in the rugby, or any of the other children you’ve seen on our posts, then please do get in touch. It’s only £25 p/m to change a child’s life.

We are looking forward to bringing you lots of photos and we want to thank Jack for his time and sharing his talents with the children at The Foundation. To meet someone famous will be a new experience for them… someone they might be able to watch on tv. Opportunities like this to learn new sports and have organised events during the school holidays is still very new and exciting for them. They are orphans and very vulnerable children… why should people do things for them? Thankfully they are starting to realise that each of them is important to us. Thankfully they are starting to realise that people do care about them and are trying to improve their lives little by little. With your help we continue to be able to support The Foundation by Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Jack Mphande

And more learning in Emma’s rainbow library

Sarah’s blog 20/3/22

Here are couple of short videos of the children using the computers for the first time and also photos of them looking at the new text books that have been bought for The Library to help the children’s learning. New opportunities for these young people to be the best they can be. Thank you, Sarah x

More & more opportunities for learning…this time technology

Sarah’s blog 18/03/22

This is something Levison is hugely excited about and I guess we can only understand his excitement to a certain degree. I learned to type on an old fashioned typewriter at school but we had a ZX81 at home and my friend had a ZX Spectrum and thought these were the coolest things ever! My brother had a Game Boy with Donkey Kong on it which I preferred as I wasn’t patient enough to programme in pages of instructions just to see a dot move across a screen!! How times have changed!

Almost everyone in the developed world has access to technology. Children can access school work online, you can ‘google’ just about anything and do all your banking via your mobile phone. So it is really important to Levison that the orphans and vulnerable children have access to computers which will open up a whole new world for them. There is no internet at the moment so the children will learn to type and use Word and get more familiar with using a mouse and what a computer actually is. This will take a bit of time as they have never seen or used computers.

When we can afford to pay for internet, imagine how that will extend their learning. The apprentices, for example, will be able to access online learning or look up something on Youtube to see ways to do things. Children will be able to link up with a school here and have a ‘penpal’ and maybe occasionally will be able to email their sponsors. There is so much learning out there that the children will soon be able to access to help their grades: maths practice sessions, spelling games, history, geography and much, much more.

I asked Levison what the children said and this is what he said “The children have said that they never knew and touched a computer. They can’t believe they can work on a computer.”

I asked Levison what he thought “This is the same Ibuluma, a rural place in Northern Malawi. Bringing ICT to the rural setting. Defying the impossibility ideology. My dreams are coming into reality.”

There also needs to be another source of power. Just this morning there was a power cut due to the heavy rain and other times electricity isn’t guaranteed. But little by little life is changing for these children. Opportunities are happening and the children are desperate to learn and know that people care about them. When the children first saw the computers they thought they were televisions. They will be experts in no time, I’m sure! Thanks for reading and if you’d like to get in touch to help in any way it’s contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for being part of the team helping us to continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

%d bloggers like this: