Walking to the Maize Mill

Sarah’s blog 27/9/22

I’m filled with sadness and determination writing this blog. Sadness because children should not be having to live like this. Determination because we will continue to work hard to change their lives for the better.

Levison met these three children; Joseph, Martha and Hope walking to the nearest maize mill. Is it their maize that needs to be milled? No. They will be paid a tiny amount for walking, maybe the equivalent of the price of a bar of soap for the three of them. They will walk all day without any food. They will walk all day without any water unless they find a river to drink from which isn’t clean. All day without food and water carrying their heavy burdens. No child should have to do that.

Levison said the children have to walk over 12km there and 12km back to the nearest maize mill. 24km for these little children with these heavy loads with no food or clean water. Joseph, Martha and Hope and many more children should not have to do this for a bit of extra money to buy food. By sponsoring a child, there is a monthly food parcel for the child, meaning that they don’t have to carry the burden of someone else’s maize for over 24km. No child should have to earn a few pennies like this.

Children walking to get maize milled will find other children to walk with. They keep each other company on this arduous journey. They will chat to each other to pass the time but mainly it’s to try to keep each other safe. This journey is very dangerous, and children are at risk of being attacked, especially if they are on their own. The more of them that are travelling together reduces the risk to them but doesn’t stop attacks happening. Joseph, Martha and Hope and their friends should not have to live like this. They should not have to live in fear, be hungry and malnourished, carry other people’s heavy burdens and not have time to just be children. Building a maize mill is on Levison’s wish list.

The Feeding Programme feeds 500 children once a week. They receive a nutritious and substantial meal….their biggest meal of the week. We wish we could afford to send money to feed them more often as there are no agencies feeding children in schools in this area, however, at the moment, there is no additional money for this.

We have 90 children and young people matched with sponsors, so they have additional food each month. Many more children, including Joseph, Martha and Hope are waiting for sponsors to give them a helping hand. Can you support one of these three children or the many more who need your help? It’s less than £1 a day to sponsor a child. Or two friends could share the cost between them. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you can help very vulnerable child today. It might be the most important thing you ever do for one of these children.

We are building phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School so that all orphans and vulnerable children supported by The Foundation have the opportunity to go to secondary school. Only primary school is free in Malawi and, unless they have a sponsor to pay their fees, currently these children and young people do not progress to secondary education. They are desperate to learn. They are desperate to go to secondary school. They are desperate for a better life for themselves and their families. Education is their way out of poverty.

We are doing a challenge to fundraise for the school. Completing kilometres to travel the distance between here and the Foundation that the boxes travel. We need your kilometres to add to our total please. I don’t think anyone will have done as many difficult kilometres as Joseph, Martha and Hope. So, I am going to add their kilometres for this journey to our total. Please help us help these children. https://gofund.me/44a92444

As there are so many children requiring support, we are always requiring help with fundraising. It’s always about teamwork and we need you to join the team supporting these orphans and other vulnerable children. We cannot do what we do without your additional help. Here is the link to our fundraiser to build phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please help us give the gift of education and a way out of poverty. https://gofund.me/44a92444 or you can email me for the charity bank details. If you could have a coffee morning, car wash, quiz night or another fundraising event to support the children we would be so grateful. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Levison with Joseph, Martha and Hope

Joseph, Martha and Hope carrying someone else’s maize on their long dangerous journey

The children need food

Sarah’s blog 20/7/22

Running a Foundation is a huge responsibility and the rural location of The Foundation adds to the pressure that Levison is under.

There are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the far north of Malawi. The responsibility has fallen to The Foundation to feed 500+ children once a week. Children are walking from up to 20km away to have that one substantial meal each week.

This is all we can afford at the moment. There are so many calls on finances as we try our best to support a community back to self-sufficiency.

The Foundation teaches life skills to the children and young people. Growing crops is part of the skills the children learn. Unfortunately the crop of maize was affected by the flooding earlier this year and part of the crop was washed away. This year’s crop will only feed the children for two months.

The price of buying maize fluctuates throughout the year depending on availability and time of year.

The Malawian Kwacha was devalued a few months ago and all prices have gone up. However, maize is more than double the price it was this time last year.

Thank you to the few people who have given £5 per month towards the feeding programme as we have been grateful for this to top up the money we send each month to feed the children.

We know that we are asking for a lot of help but the more people who know about our charity and The Foundation, the more we can spread the help we need across more supporters. So I urge you to please share our posts and also tell your friends about us and the help we need.

All of us in the U.K. are volunteers and no money is spent on admin costs as we donate our time, petrol for transporting boxes to Dundee etc. So you can be sure if you donate money for feeding children, that’s where it will go.

Please, please can you donate £5 per month towards our feeding programme? I need 20 people to commit to £5 per month to enable the children to still be fed a substantial meal each week at The Foundation.

Please, if you can, donate £5 p/m by emailing contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details. The children have come to rely on that one substantial meal each week…we can’t let them down.

Please help us continue helping the children by donating £5 per month for food. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to help feed the 500+ vulnerable children today. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the children having their one nutritious meal of the week.

The weeds are growing like….weeds!

Sarah’s blog 03/03/22

The maize is growing well. Some was washed away and had to be replanted but hopefully there will be a decent crop. There is a very decent crop of weeds in the fields thanks to all the rain they’ve had….so today was another chance for people to lend a hand and pick out all the weeds from amongst the maize. Look at those beautiful hills….The Mafinga Hills. The other side of those hills is Zambia….but at a glance it could be Scotland!

weeding in the maize field with the Mafinga Hills in the background…beyond them is Lwangwa National Park in Zambia.

So much rain has encouraged the weeds to grow in between the maize plants

Preparing & Planting

Sarah’s blog 27/12/21

Work never stops at The Foundation. Whether it’s looking after the animals or preparing the fields, farmers the world over will know that there’s always something to do, something to plan ahead for. Over the last few days, the fields have been prepared and today maize and groundnuts have been planted. The rainy season is just starting so it’s the perfect time for planting seeds. As you can see, people are working hard and would love to be self-sufficient. Because there are so many mouths to feed and the situation has been so bad, they need our help for a while.

We have money for approximately 100 fruit tree saplings that have been bought as Christmas gifts for which we are very grateful. Levison will choose which fruit varieties are best to buy for future food and sustainability. Again, this is the perfect time to plant them. If anyone would like to contribute towards seed costs or fruit tree saplings then please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Even a small donation would help feed the hundreds of malnourished children.

We still have 5 young people looking for a sponsor to help them get to secondary school. Sponsorship is £25 per month and one of the best things you can every do for one of these children. Thank you for reading, Sarah x

Constructing a Maize Silo

Sarah’s blog 19/11/21

Tony and Maxwell, who are welders, have been at The Foundation for three days constructing a maize silo. Maize varies in price throughout the year and can double in price when it gets scarce. As you might expect, The Foundation goes through a great deal of maize to feed so many orphans & other vulnerable children. The feeding programme runs once a week and feeds approximately 500 children each week. The Foundation does grow it’s own crop of maize, very successfully, but it’s nowhere near enough for what is needed.

Thanks again to the generosity of Welding Engineers, who also contributed to the Eco Stoves project. This has been a great opportunity for the apprentices to help and learn about construction and welding. Some of the young people who have left primary school were also interested in watching them work. Hopefully, as funds allow, some more silos can be made to purchase and store maize at it’s cheapest. The silo will also protect the maize from being eaten by bugs. Enjoy the photos of three busy days of learning at The Foundation. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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