Gifts for the staff

Sarah’s blog 13/09/22

Some of the boxes have been opened and clothes are being sorted into age groups so they can be given out at the weekend.

One box that we had sent was for the staff and volunteers. I had found a large quantity of blue adult t-shirts in a sale so I bought them and boxed them up for the adults. Levison gave out some of the t-shirts this morning and everyone was pleased that we had thought about them.

In the video, Alice, thanks us for remembering them and for their gifts. To us, a t-shirt is just an ordinary item – nothing to get too excited about. However, when you aren’t used to receiving gifts, and don’t have many clothes of your own, it means a lot to them. I hope you enjoy the photos and the video, Sarah x

Levison distributing t-shirts to staff and volunteers
Levison with the female staff and volunteers

Nakaonga – the sewing instructor with Loveness
Alice thanking us for the t-shirts
Mrs Domingo and Nakapenda – the nursery cooks
Alice, Loveness and Jean
Alice, Loveness and Jean

– the nursery teacher

Fundraising Calendar 2023

Sarah’s blog 12/9/22

We are excited to announce that we have finalised the layout for a new fundraising calendar for 2023. We should receive the calendar in approximately 10 days when it will be available to buy for £10 (plus p&p).

Here is a sneak preview of the calendar…these images are just photos of my laptop screen so aren’t very good quality but I was excited to share them with you. These will make great gifts for Christmas and can be easily posted, or would be good to purchase for your own house!

One of our trustees has generously paid for these calendars to be printed, so you know that when you purchase one all of the money will be going towards the building of Bright Futures Secondary School, providing secondary education for some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi. Please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you’d like to place an order and give the gift of education. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The front cover of our 2023 fundraising calendar
The back cover of our 2023 fundraising calendar

Team Mackay visits Dundee!

Sarah’s blog 11/9/22

As you know from yesterday’s blog, Team Mackay have been very busy clocking up kilometres for us in our fundraising event. We want to travel over 13,000km from here to Malawi following one of the routes the boxes take on the container ship, raising awareness and funds for Bright Futures Secondary School. Team Mackay made the news! – Changing Lives Malawi

The Mackay Family are from Drymen and Ewan was involved in the planning of the recent refurbishment of the bus stop in Drymen. It was painted by a talented local artist Cameron Reid and highlights The Rob Roy Way which starts in Drymen.

Yesterday, Team Mackay aka Jackie, Ewan, Ben and Adam, volunteered their trailer to take the last of our boxes to The Bananabox Trust warehouse in Dundee to await the next container. The warehouse is almost full, so it won’t be too long until the next container is packed and sent on its way.

After visiting The Bananabox Trust, they clocked up another 20km in Dundee whilst enjoying the sunshine and visited Discovery Point. Another busy day for Team Mackay! Thanks Jackie, Ewan, Ben and Adam. We appreciate all your help.

If you’d like to pay for a box to go on the container, it costs £15, and you can email me at contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Or to donate to our fundraiser to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education!

Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The newly painted bus stop in Drymen, the work of local talented artist Cameron Reid
Setting off from Drymen
At The Bananabox Trust Dundee

lots of our boxes awaiting the next container

The Discovery
Clocking up more kilometres

Traci has completed her challenge!

Sarah’s blog 1/9/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very well done Traci! Amazing achievement!

Bright Futures Secondary School – Let’s build this school

Sarah’s blog 30/08/22

It’s time for an exciting update on Bright Futures Secondary School. Lot’s of hard work has been going on here and, of course, in Malawi to try to make this a reality for some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi who would otherwise miss out on secondary education.

It’s so difficult when trying to manage everything on a shoestring and costs are rising. However, where there is a will there is a way. This school is desperately needed and, therefore, it will happen.

Because of the rural location, accommodation is needed for teachers. The first block of teachers accommodation is almost complete and the work on the foundations for the first two classrooms of Bright Futures Secondary School is about to be begin. This is just the start….we have so much more to do. We need you on our team to help these vulnerable young people out of poverty and to a brighter future.

All the bricks that have been made have been dried and stacked into kilns and the first of the kilns was fired. It was covered in mud and a fire lit in each gap. One person was responsible for each fire, ensuring their fire burned brightly all through the night. The kiln will now be left for over a week to cool down again, the mud will be removed and the bricks will be ready to use.

We really do need your help to ensure that education is available to all these vulnerable young people. Education is their way out of poverty. To make a donation here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education…it might be one of the most important gifts you every give a vulnerable child. To get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Scotland to Malawi via New York!

Sarah’s blog 23/08/22

Traci and one of her sons jetted off to New York for a few days holiday. Traci has been doing a brilliant job of collecting kilometres for us for our challenge. We are raising funds to build a desperately needed school in rural northern Malawi by covering more than 13,000km which is one of the routes the boxes travel on the container ship and lorry. We need people to help us by donating a few £££ to give the gift of education. here’s the link https://gofund.me/44a92444

Traci also set herself a challenge and she must be very nearly at her goal…to walk 700km during July and August. She had originally aimed at doing 500km but quickly realised she could aim for more. Thank you so much Traci for all the kilometres you have done towards the total of our challenge. You’ve done an amazing job at raising awareness for our fundraiser and the need for a new school. It looks like you and Murray had a great time in New York!

They each clocked up 45.29km by walking everywhere! To donate to our fundraiser here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444

Thanks for reading and enjoy the photos. I’ll have the new total kilometres next time, Sarah x

Thoughts & thanks from Levison

Sarah’s blog 18/08/22

I sometimes think I don’t get across the sheer scale of the difficulties faced by the people that Levison and his team are trying to help in the rural far north of Malawi. When he first wanted to improve the lives of the most vulnerable, he was just thinking about those in his village. However, from reading what he has written below, you can see that people are coming every day begging for help, and walking huge distances to get to The Foundation because they have heard that they won’t be turned away. People do not have food to feed themselves or their families.

In addition to the 500+ children who are fed once a week at The Feeding Programme, the 75 preschool children who are fed three times a week in The Nursery, as well as all the other projects and wonderful things that are happening, there are so many others needing our help. These people are feeling forgotten. There are no other charities or big agencies feeding children in that area. It is a huge responsibility for The Foundation and a huge responsibility for us. That is why we rely on your help. That is why we need you as part of our team.

When you give us preloved clothes and shoes, blankets and soap…you will understand the importance of these when you read Levison’s words. It’s also important that we continue to have the funds to send this aid to the most vulnerable people in rural Northern Malawi. So, if you can, please when you donate clothes, shoes, or anything else to us, could you include some money to cover the cost of sending boxes to The Foundation. Or raise some funds for us to continue this important work. It’s £15 per box on the container. People need our help. We need you to be part of our team. Great things are happening but there is more to do. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

“Today when I was resting under a small tree to the south of the resource centre, I shed tears when I was looking at the library/shed, the shower block and other structures around. I thought much of where I am coming from in as far my charity work involvement is concerned.

Almost each and every hour we receive people from far places (some even 40km away) coming to the resource centre to ask for help. Men, women, boys and girls come to beg for food, money and clothes. These are people who really seem to be in dire poverty. We usually make sure they get relaxed, we give them food to eat. For those who may be come with some health issues like headache etc we give them painkillers like panado.

We have reserved, food, clothes, soap etc for such emergencies. When we give them the little we have, they shed tears, roll on the ground etc. These tears are tears of joy. These are the blessings we are receiving from these people. Many ask who is behind this initiative. I myself also shed tears when I hear their stories and see how thankful they are.

As a charity organisation we have contributed a lot to the community and are making a difference to the community. We have electricity, people being fed and clothed. Think of the children and women who are HIV positive, we have improved their nutrition status. On behalf of our children I would like to thank you all for your amazing love and support you are giving to us”

Levison Mlambya, 17/08/22
Some of the younger children at The Feeding Programme
Just one of the families who have been helped by The Foundation. This family’s home had been destroyed in the heavy rains. They were given this home to live in by another villager and The Foundation was able to provide food, blankets, new clothes and match two of the children with sponsors so they have two food parcels going into their home each month.
Here they are in their new, clean clothes with a big bag of maize too.
The family with some more gifts of clothes and shoes

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!

Can you help us build a school?

Sarah’s blog 10/8/22

Education should be available to everyone. It should not matter where you live or what your background is. Help us build a school for vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi please? https://gofund.me/44a92444

We help support 500+ orphans and other vulnerable children through a variety of projects including a feeding programme which feeds 500+ children once a week with a substantial and nutritious meal. Unfortunately, there are no big agencies feeding children in this area in schools so the children are malnourished and hungry. Some children are walking up to 20km for this one proper meal of the week.

We have matched 90 of the most vulnerable children with sponsors. As well as receiving a monthly food parcel and welfare checks, sponsors pay for the child’s education when they go to secondary school. However, there are not enough places in the nearest secondary schools and eleven of the sponsored children didn’t get picked for a place at secondary school this year despite having passed primary school leavers exams and having the funds to pay for secondary school. If you don’t get picked then you don’t go. They have had to resit their last year of primary school again with the hope of being picked for a place this year. It’s heart breaking for them when they are trying so hard. They know education is their way out of dire poverty.

Can you help? Can you be part of the team that can help raise funds for a new secondary school? Please? We always say it’s about teamwork. We can’t do what we do without you. The nearest secondary school is too far to walk each day so children have to board which puts the cost up. Lots of families rely on their children to help with chores so a school in the village would be a far better option.

Our plan is to build the school in phases, adding to the school year on year. Prices have risen and the Malawian currency has been devalued. One classroom will cost approximately £7,000. A latrine block will cost £750. We have had some generous donations already. If we can raise enough money for three classrooms and two latrine blocks then building the first phase of the school to open this October 2022 will be achievable. That’s £22,500. We have £10,000 already and 70,000 bricks have already been made and are being stacked into kilns to be fired. So £12,500 to be raised. Can you please help us to give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

Any donation of £500 or over can name a classroom. We are happy to partner with businesses to name a classroom after their company. Of course, we need lots and lots of smaller donations too. If 1,000 people all donated just £10 each then we would be almost there!! 130 chairs have been donated and are about to go on a container to Malawi. Preloved school uniforms have been collected. Eighty new school bags that had also been donated are on their way too along with lots of other items for the students. Let’s build a school!! https://gofund.me/44a92444

Merchiston Castle School had generously donated preloved rugby balls and kit which is also about to go to Malawi on the container. The orphans and other vulnerable children have had one rugby coaching session (and loved it) and more coaching and competition sessions between all the local primary schools in the Chitipa District in northern Malawi is being organised for this autumn. We have also had rugby donations from Annan Rugby Club and Strathendrick Rugby Club and we are very grateful. Rugby has arrived in northern Malawi for the first time! We’ve also had lots of football donations and netball bibs as football, rugby and netball will all be played by pupils at the new secondary school.

We have a fundraising event running at the moment which is open for anyone to join in. We are trying to cover the 13,000km + from here to The Foundation we support in Malawi, which is how far the boxes of aid travel via land and sea. So far we have covered 20% of that journey by people walking, running, cycling, scooting and rowing machine. Some of the young people in Malawi wanted to join in and they ran 4km each which added 320km to our total. You can join in too by adding your kilometres from walking the dog, walking to work, walking round the shops….whatever you are doing….we would love your kilometres. Here is the link to take part https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 or you can email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com and to donate to our fundraiser to build the school https://gofund.me/44a92444

Help us to give the gift of education. Help us to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Help us help the children. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the young people who took part in a 4km run
70,000 bricks have already been made and are being stacked to make kilns
When the kilns are finished they are covered in mud and fires are set in the spaces underneath
Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation will be used by the students at the new secondary school. A local author visited and donated a copy of his book to the library.
Traci, one of our supporters, walked 30km to the Falkirk Wheel last weekend!

100 of these chairs plus 30 others are about to be stacked on the next container for the new school

Stuart, one of our trustees, collecting a wonderful donation of rugby balls and kit from Rogerson House at Merchiston Castle School.
Some of the vulnerable children in the Library at The Foundation. We are sending lots of books as part of the Literacy Project. How are children supposed to learn to read without books to practice with? Individuals, schools and nurseries in Scotland have been donating preloved books for us to send.

17 boxes of books were gifted to Chambo Primary School as part of The School Literacy Project. Education is the key to a brighter future for these children.

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.

‘On the road again…’

Sarah’s blog 2/8/22

Didn’t someone sing a song about that? Yes… now I’ve got that tune in your heads… the answer is Willie Nelson!!

Stuart and I packed some more boxes and took 16 of them to Dundee today to The Bananabox Trust warehouse to be processed and then await the next container.

Whilst at the BBT warehouse I took some photos to show Levison the chairs that are being sent for the school and a few tables. Hopefully, we will find more secondhand tables here to prevent them going to landfill or local carpenters will make desks in Malawi.

Only a short blog today… wonder if I can add our kms to the challenge? Lol I think that answer will be ‘no’ but I’ve added a map to show you the route of the first 111km that the boxes travel. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Here’s the link if you’d like to add a few £££ to our fundraiser to build a school https://GoFund.me/44a92444

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!
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