Levison was able to visit Kalanga primary school today with clothes and books
Sarah’s blog 07/03/23
Chambo Primary School is the one nearest to The Foundation and the majority of the younger children who are supported by The Foundation go to school there.
Kalanga Primary School is a bit further away but some children who go there also come to The Foundation. Levison had arranged with the headteacher to visit today with clothes for the children who are all very vulnerable. There were enough clothes to ensure everyone received something.
These uniforms were very kindly donated by a parent whose children went to Sinclair House School, Fulham. This school unfortunately closed during the pandemic. However, we are so grateful that these beautiful clothes have been able to be used by children in need and who will make good use of them.
There were so many boxes of uniforms donated that some have already been given out to children who attend Chambo Primary and also some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. The children from yesterday’s blog were given new clothes from this school too.
Levison also took four boxes of books for Kalanga Primary School as part of our School Literacy Project to help the children have access to more books and become more confident readers. The teachers were extremely grateful for all these donations and the children were delighted to have new clothes. Hope you enjoy looking at all the photos, Sarah x
On World Book Day…find out the difference books are making to the orphans and vulnerable children we support in rural Northern Malawi.
Sarah’s blog 2/3/23
On World Book Day, I want to share some photos with you. These photos aren’t the usual fun photos that will be shared all over social media today.
Children at many schools will be dressing up as their favourite characters from fiction books to celebrate World Book Day. This is great fun and celebrates the importance of reading, love of books, favourite authors and most loved stories.
The children we help to support in Malawi are aged between 4 and 20 and all deserve to have an education and access to books. Our Literacy Project is addressing literacy for those in the nursery to the students in Bright Futures Secondary School. Previously, books were few and far between. How can a child be a confident reader if they don’t have access to books?
We are gifting boxes of books to rural primary schools where reading material is at a minimum and children are sitting on the floor in classrooms. A library has been built (The Emma Buchanan Rainbow Library) which now has a full wall of books of all subjects for children to read in the library and also to borrow. There are some computers in the library too (no internet yet) where students are learning to to type and learning about using computers.
All 75 pre-school children have been given a book each to keep. There are also picture books been donated to the nursery. All of these vulnerable children, have missed out on years of pre-reading. They weren’t able to sit on an adult’s knee as a baby and have books read to them daily. They weren’t given the opportunity to turn pages and look at pictures and then pretend to read the story by following the words with their fingers. I wonder, how many hours of ‘reading’ have our children had before they even get to school? These children have missed out on all of that.
So let’s celebrate, on World Book Day, that these children now have access to books every day. Let’s celebrate that the students in the new Bright Futures Secondary School have text books, bibles and dictionaries, as well as access to the library. Because of the School Literacy Project, will we see literacy levels increase amongst these vulnerable children in the next few years? Education is their way out of poverty. Education is the key to a better and brighter future for them. Education means chances and choices. Let’s celebrate that things are changing for these children and books are a big part of this change.
Here is the link to the fundraiser for the next classrooms at Bright Futures Secondary School https://gofund.me/ece5753a We would be so grateful for any donations to ensure that we can continue to build phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School and ensure that the education of the most vulnerable young people can continue.
I absolutely love volunteering for Changing Lives Malawi and helping to support some of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. It is hard work and a huge responsibility but very worthwhile. They are in a very rural location so there are no big agencies working in that area yet. There are no big charities feeding children in primary schools that far north.
Everyone is hungry. Most are suffering from malnutrition and don’t eat properly every day. 500 children come to The Foundation each weekend to be fed at the Feeding Programme we help to support. They are given a nutritious, substantial cooked meal. Some of the 500 children walk up to 20kms for this one proper meal of the week. We can only afford to send enough money for the feeding programme to run once a week for that many children as we are also trying to address other issues for them like education, skills for life, clean water and projects that will help the community be self-sufficient.
If there were less vulnerable children needing support, it would be easier. Five hundred hungry, malnourished children of all ages is a big responsibility. We need to grow our supporters so that these children have a team of people lifting them out of dire poverty. We need you. The 500 vulnerable children need you.
So how can you help?
500+ children are fed once a week at the feeding programme. Can you make a one off payment to support this? or can you commit to a monthly amount of £5 or £10 each month? Can your business sponsor the feeding programme one day for a donation of £100. firstname.lastname@example.org
The nursery – for 75 vulnerable preschool children, They are fed every time they meet. Can you commit to a monthly payment of £5 or £10 to support nursery feeding? Or can you help by buying a bag of gifts for a child for £12 (each child receives a gym bag containing a blanket, 3 pairs of pants, 2 red t-shirts, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste and a book). email@example.com
Bright Futures Secondary School – Phase 1 recently opened and the students are being given a nutritious hot meal each lunchtime which is probably their only meal of the day. Can you commit to £5 or £10 per month towards continuing to provide free school meals at the secondary school? firstname.lastname@example.org
School Literacy Project – we are sending boxes of preloved books to the primary schools that are nearest The Foundation. Please could you sponsor the cost of sending a box of books for £20? email@example.com
Could you sponsor a vulnerable child to help provide them with more food and help towards their education? It’s £25 p/m and you can share the cost with a friend. firstname.lastname@example.org
Bright Futures Secondary School – through very generous support, we raised enough money to build phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School (two classrooms and staff accommodation). We now need your help to raise funds for classrooms 3 and 4. https://gofund.me/44a92444
Chickens & Eggs – now we have the incubator connected to solar power, it’s ready to be used to hatch chicken eggs. It can hold approximately 500 eggs and a tray of fertilized eggs costs £10. If you’d like to buy a tray of eggs then please do get in touch email@example.com The incubator was bought with a generous donation from Lochlie Construction Ltd.
We all have the ability to do our little bit to help. We all have the ability to help others and do what is right. Each of us has different skills we can use. Even if you are unable to donate financially, could you keep sharing our posts with your friends? Thanks so much for reading and supporting us to continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x
Some of the pre-school children having received their bags of gifts. You can provide a bag of gifts for a child starting nursery in September for £12
There are 75 vulnerable pre-school children, ages 4-6, in the nursery at The Foundation. All are malnourished, some have stunted growth. We are doing what we can in order to help them have a better start in life.
Today, because of the rains, only about half of them were there to receive the gifts we had sent. The others will get their gifts another day. Proper records are kept to ensure none of them miss out.
Today is an exciting day for them…it’s the first time they have received a book of their own to keep and take home. This is part of The Literacy Project. I am an Early Years Educator and so am passionate about these children having the opportunities that our children have. When we have access to books pre-reading starts when babies are on an adult’s knee, having a story read to them. They look at the pictures and can anticipate certain points in the story because of the way the adult reads and shares this special time with them. Toddlers will bring their favourite storybook to an adult in order that they can share the story together. They can point to things in the pictures, they know that you turn the pages and they ‘pretend’ to read by tracing the words with their fingers. They know that these letter shapes are where the story comes from.
The children at The Foundation nursery have missed out on all of these experiences. We want story books to become an every day part of their lives. We want every home to have at least two books to support literacy. I had a video call with the headteacher of Bright Futures Secondary School yesterday and she was delighted that books were being given to the children in the nursery. She said they are trying to ‘play catchup’ with the students at Bright Futures Secondary School as they have missed out on having access to reading materials from a young age. Many of the students missed a lot of school to work for a pittance to buy food….it’s been so hard for them. We look forward to seeing how having books at home makes a difference to these children and their families.
Today, each child received a drawstring bag containing, a blanket, 2 red t-shirts, pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap and a picture book. As I said in a recent post, in future, we want to be able to include a knitted teddy in each bag for children starting nursery. If you are able to help support this nursery project in any way then please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.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
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
Levison Mlambya is a humble man. He is an incredibly hard worker and he has a vision to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in his community. His friendship with William Stewart helped to make this vision a reality and Levison has been hard at work for long hours every day serving his community.
Since William died in January, 2021, Levison has had a difficult time, but he has kept plodding, day by day, ensuring he does everything he can for those in need who come to The Foundation every day.
There has been a lot happening for Levison this week and we, at Changing Lives Malawi, are delighted that he has had these opportunities. We are also very proud of him. He is making some great connections with people and what he and his team do at The Foundation, through the various projects, is getting recognised.
On Sunday, Levison and the children had a visit from author, Ndongolera Mwangupili who wrote ‘Sons of The Hills’ and who kindly donated a copy of his book to Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation. Ndongolera was impressed with the library and spent time chatting with some of the children. Visits like this are so important so the children can see that they can aspire to be writers if they wanted to.
Levison was en route to Mzuzu and stopped off at Karonga on Wednesday. He was delighted to meet and have a meal with Mercy Sibande, Manager of The Maime Martin Fund in Malawi, and Alan Laverock, Treasurer and Trustee of The Maime Martin Fund and also Chair Person of The Bananabox Trust in Dundee. They had a good chat before Levison set off again to The Grand Palace Hotel, Mzuzu.
He was honoured to have been invited to ‘The Regional Consultation of The National Book and Reading Policy in Malawi’. Even more of an honour, Levison was asked to be a speaker about the literacy initiatives that are being implemented at The Foundation. We are so proud of you Levison for making a difference to so many children.
Of course, none of this could happen without our supporters. So if you have donated books, paid for the transportation of a box, driven boxes to Dundee, sponsored a vulnerable child so they can go to secondary school, or donated to the new school project….or anything else…THANK YOU! We value your help and support and we are glad you are on our team as we all do our own little bit to help some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.
However, there is so much more to do and we need even more support. Here are ways you can get involved and help us:
If you live fairly local to me…can you donate children’s books? They must be in good condition and a few £££ to help towards transportation would be really helpful. Seventeen boxes of books were already gifted to Chambo Primary School and lots more schools have said they would like books too.
Could you sponsor a box of books please? It’s £15 per box on the container.
Pencils/pens/rubbers/sharpeners/pencil cases/maths sets/scientific calculators/English pocket dictionaries are always needed.
Soap, toothbrushes & toothpaste are always needed and very welcome.
There are lots of vulnerable children still waiting to be matched with sponsors. It’s only £25 p/m to be a sponsor, or you can split that cost with a friend or extended family. Also a club or a business could sponsor a child.
Can you organise a fundraiser for us? A coffee morning? A sponsored event?
Sharing our posts online is a great way of helping more people find out about the projects that are happening in rural northern Malawi.
Can we come and speak at your event and show photos & videos from Malawi?
If children don’t have access to books…how can they learn to read? It’s a miracle that the orphans and other vulnerable children supported by The Foundation can read at all. They are all amazing and are desperate to learn.
In developed countries, books are available for babies at just a few months old. Care givers are encouraged to sit babies on their knees and look at books with them. Children learn from a very early age that a book means a story. Preschool children learn books contains bright pictures. They learn that books have pages that are turned one after the other. They then pretend to follow the words with their fingers, so even then they know that the words tell a story and give information.
Then there is all the environmental print that we have. Most children before they can read will be able to recognise the golden arches of a burger chain or the label from their favourite yogurt or snack or the sign at the local supermarket.
What if all of this was missing from children’s lives? So by the time they arrived at school they had not had all these experiences and practice. The children in Malawi don’t have the luxury either of scribbling and mark making on paper with different pens and pencils. So how are they expected to learn to hold a pencil and write properly too. They have been at such a disadvantage.
Whilst we can’t provide for everyone and give each child an endless stock of paper and pens….we are making a difference….we are changing lives. You are helping us in a variety of ways and we couldn’t do what we do without you.
Seventeen boxes of children’s books have already been gifted to Chambo Primary School for the children to have access to a whole new world through reading stories. There are a variety of books going from preschool with lots of bright pictures and not many words to Harry Potter, encyclopedias, dictionaries and maps. Every person who has donated a book to us has given a child the gift of literacy.
There are more books on their way for another school and we will keep going until all children in that area have been given the gift of literacy. As soon as Levison had delivered the 17 boxes of books to Chambo primary school, and I had put a post on social media about it, his phone started ringing from teachers at other schools asking for books too. Everyone is desperate to help the children have a better education.
You have helped us supply books to Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation. Book shelves were made along the length of a wall, using a donation we had been given. Now they have a good selection of books for all ages, including study books. More are on the way.
The nursery, for 75 of the most vulnerable 4 – 6 year olds, has a basket of story books for younger children and there are more on the way. We are now making up care packages for children starting nursery, so we know that each child has received; a gym bag, 2 red t-shirts (nursery uniform), 2 pairs of pants, a blanket, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste and a story book with lots of bright pictures. Eventually, almost every home will have one or two books. Hopefully, the adults can look at the books with the nursery children.
Eventually, we want to be able to fund a member of staff to support adult literacy classes.
Today, my husband, Stuart, collected 5 bags for life and one big box from a local nursery. Arnprior Nursery had received a grant for new books and they no longer needed all these ones. What a brilliant way of recycling these preloved books. Instead of them being thrown out or sold for a few pence, the gift of literacy is being given to vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. Thank you to the staff at Arnprior Nursery for this amazing donation that will help so many children.
We are hoping to see literacy levels increase as time goes on. Already one little girl, Melise, who is 5 has been allowed to go to school a year early as she has been described as being very bright. Her brother, Mwiza, is disabled and has been given lots of picture books and toys to help stimulate him. Is she going to school a year early because she has been able to look at her brother’s books? I’m really keen to see how literacy levels start to rise.
Together we are Changing Lives Malawi and we need you all to keep helping us. This is a relatively cheap way to change the children’s lives. The books have been donated. It’s £15 to send each box on the container. If anyone would like to sponsor this literacy project or pay for a box then please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x
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. email@example.com please look at each photo and help a child today. Thanks for reading, Sarah x
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. firstname.lastname@example.org thank you for reading and I hope to hear from some of you and match you with a child. Sarah x
Here are the thoughts of Angela, Naomi, Chancy and Tamiwe. Education features in most of the young people’s answers to the questions they’ve been asked and it’s interesting that the majority want to be able to help others who are in similar situations to themselves. Hopefully, because of the generosity of their sponsors, they will then pay that forward as adults by providing a helping hand to the vulnerable in their community. Thank you to the sponsors for enabling these young people to have the gift of education. Unfortunately, Angela wasn’t there on the day photos were being taken but we will get another photo of her soon. If you can help us with fundraising, a financial donation or would like to sponsor a young person for £25 per month then email email@example.com thanks for reading, Sarah x
Yesterday we had an update from the new S1 students so now it’s the turn of those in S2. It’s lovely to see photos of them and to hear their views via answering a few questions. If you are a sponsor then a big THANK YOU as you are making such a difference to the young person you sponsor. You are giving them new opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have had. You are giving them the gift of education. Their self-esteem is growing because of you. Thank you so much. Hope you enjoy the photos and writing. Thanks for reading, Sarah x