How many kilometres now?

Sarah’s blog 22/9/22

Lots of people have been busy in the background adding kilometres to the total for our challenge. We are fundraising to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi and decided we would follow one of the routes that the boxes of aid travel. The total route is over 13,000km and we need more people ‘donating’ their kilometres to help us get to our total.

Do your children walk to school? Could they take part and let us know their totals for the week? Do you walk them to and from school? That means you will do double what your children do. Are you walking the dog every day? Or supermarket shopping? We need your kilometres please whether the total is big or small. The more people who help then the quicker we will get to our total. The local newspaper said they will feature our fundraising story every time we get to a significant goal. So please join in and tell us how many kilometres you’ve walked in a day/week. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

A few of the children that the Foundation supports ran 3km yesterday adding to our total. They were delighted to be helping and they also received some new clothes and flipflops too. So, the new total is 4,940.423 km which is 37.59%. Very well done everyone who has helped us so far…and if you’ve not donated any kilometres yet….please can you help us?

We are building Bright Futures Secondary School as there are not enough places available in the secondary schools nearby. Also, young people have to board as it’s too far to walk every day. Secondary education has to be paid for, so it makes it prohibitive for the majority of young people who are supported by the Foundation unless they have sponsors.

The school is being built in phases as we are on a shoestring budget as usual! Two classrooms will be built to start with, and we will add to the school over the next few years. Please will you help? These young people need a way out of poverty… they are desperate for education as they know this is the way to a better future for them and their families.

To donate you can get in touch by email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for our bank details or you can donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 You can make a difference today. We need you to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Hope you enjoy the photos and videos of the children running yesterday. All of these children (apart from Catherine) would benefit from being matched with a sponsor, so please get in touch if you’d like to support one of them. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The two boys running 3km
The four girls running 3km
These four girls ran 3km and also received some new clothes. Only Catherine (pink top) has a sponsor. If you’d like to be a sponsor email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
Chimwemwe and Ivet received new clothes and ran 3km to add to our total. Both need sponsors.

Sisters – Naomi & Modester

Sarah’s blog 21/9/22

When The Foundation was still quite new, Naomi brought her baby sister to the Foundation to ask for food. Naomi was delighted to be able to feed her hungry baby sister, Modester. They had been very recently orphaned and it was a huge responsibility for Naomi to look after and feed her baby sister.

I thought it was such a powerful photo that Levison took that day. Naomi was happy that she could feed Modester, having gone through the grief and trauma of being orphaned. They have both been living with their grandmother since then. I have used that photo lots of times since then as it tells the story of what these orphans and vulnerable children go through and the difference The Feeding Programme makes to hundreds of children, even though it is only once a week.

The Foundation is a refuge for children in need. They know they will have someone to talk to, someone to listen to them. Someone to play with. Somewhere to forget their problems for a little while. A safe place to just be children.

I was delighted when Levison sent me a photo of Naomi and Modester the other day. Naomi is now 14 and in p8 and Modester is 5 and attending the nursery. They are both doing well but it would really help them if they could have a sponsor. We’d love to see them continue to thrive and have an additional food parcel going into their home. If you could sponsor one of these sisters, then please do let me know. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It is £25 per month to sponsor a child which you can share with a friend to half the cost. It might be the most important gift you give to one of these girls. Please help?

Thanks for reading and please do let me know if you can help. Sarah x

Naomi and Modester when Modester was a baby and they’d both just been orphaned. And now age 14 and 5 looking well.

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

This year’s p8 students

Sarah’s blog 21/08/22

These young people have been really busy and have recently taken their primary school leavers exams. We have our fingers and toes crossed for them that they all pass and have good enough grades to continue onto secondary school.

They have all written letters to their sponsors. They aren’t confident at writing letters as they don’t have many opportunities so this is good practice for them.

Hope you enjoy the photos and reading what they have written. Thank you to all their sponsors for changing their lives and giving them new opportunities. Sarah x

Please sponsor me?

Sarah’s blog 12/8/22

It’s been a little while since I posted any photos of vulnerable children who are still waiting to be matched with a sponsor. £25 is all it costs per month…less than £1 per day. Two friends or a group can share the sponsorship costs too. A business or a group could sponsor a child and change their life today.

Sponsored children get a monthly food parcel at their home to top up their food supplies, not to replace them. This is a hand up not a hand out. These people are proud and want to be self-sufficient which is the end goal. Sponsorship also pays for secondary education, an opportunity the children wouldn’t normal get. They also get regular welfare checks and medicine if they are ill.

If you can help one of these children then please do email me. You’ll also find more information in the child sponsorship section of the website. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you soon, Sarah x

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.

‘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

Getting ready for school

Sarah’s blog 26/7/22

As you know, we are trying our best to raise money to build the first block of a secondary school. Bright Futures Secondary School will be a community school for the orphans and other vulnerable young people to attend.

Education should be available for everyone. There are currently not enough places at local secondary schools. If you don’t get picked for a place, even if you have passed your primary leavers exams and can afford the school fees.

This is what happened to eleven of our sponsored young people this year. They are resitting their last year of primary school, hoping for better grades, hoping to be picked for a place.

As the local secondary school is a distance away the young people, who are sponsored and do get a place at school, have to board at school. This adds to costs and also means they aren’t available to help their families with chores.

A secondary school in the village would make such a difference to so many people. Education is their way out of dire poverty – their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Bricks are being made…about 40,000 so far, and kilns are going to be built soon to fire the bricks.

There are people working hard in Malawi and here to try our best to help these vulnerable children. As well as education, a school will help prevent teenage pregnancies and girls being married off too soon. Already, The Foundation has proved that if the young people are kept busy and given opportunities then there will be far less teenage pregnancies. The young people’s self-esteem has increased as they learn new skills, play team sports with their peers and read in the library. They know people care about them. They have hope for a better future. We need to continue supporting the projects that support them. This is absolutely vital to protect these vulnerable young people.

Here, we are trying to raise funds and awareness. It’s really hard as we know that some people have less available cash. We need to reach a wider group of people and if we all give a little, that will add up to a lot!

Also, we are trying to source supplies to provide for the young people when the school is built. We need to plan ahead as the container takes approximately 3 months for its journey.

There are over 100 chairs at The Bananabox Trust warehouse that we are sending for the first phase of the school. Someone donated boxes of new laptop bags. We are sending 80 of these for the young people to use as school bags. Pencil cases and pens are in boxes too as well as some secondary school uniform.

Stuart, my husband, delivered some boxes and 72 rugby balls to Dundee today and took a photo of all the chairs to show Levison.

I also received a photo from one of our supporters today who put a shout out on her village Facebook page asking for preloved secondary school uniform. People have been very generous as she’s collected a great amount which will kit out some of the pupils who will attend Bright Futures Secondary School.

There’s still so much to do and so much money to raise but we WILL do this. The children are relying on us. So if you can spare a few £££ we would be so grateful. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Donate here: https://GoFund.me/44a92444 or get in touch contact_us@changibglivesmalawi.com

The donations that Stuart took to Dundee today including 72 rugby balls from Annan rugby club and Merchiston Castle School. You can see that the warehouse is getting full.
The chairs that we are sending for Bright Futures Secondary School
We are grateful for this huge pile of secondary school uniform donations that we will send for the pupils when they start school

Jackie’s very wet adventure

Sarah’s blog 25/7/22

Jackie is one of the people who has embraced our kilometre challenge and has been doing lots of cycling. She is also keeping a note of the totals for me.

Jackie and family have been helping to move a boat through the locks on the Crinan Canal. There are 15 locks along the canal to move the boats from one level to the next. Jackie had her bike with her and was running and cycling between the locks adding to her total kilometres.

If you want more info on the canal here is a link: https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/crinan/crinancanal/index.html

It is a beautiful place and I had said to Jackie last week that there would be lots of tourists watching them open and close the locks as the boat travelled through the different sections. There were no tourists! The rain could not have been any heavier and poor Jackie (and everyone else) got absolutely soaked. She is very brave for allowing me to post a photo of her looking a little bit wet and fed up! Well done Jackie and thank you for adding lots of kilometres to our total.

So I’m going to post a couple of photos to show you how beautiful the scenery is then Jackie’s photos and the route she was running/cycling back and forward!

The new totals are U.K. 1,250.285 kilometres, Malawi 320km = 1,570.285 kilometres which is 11.95% of our total.

To take part in our challenge to travel one of the routes the boxes of aid take from here, Balfron, to northern Malawi… over 13,000km click here https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 and to donate to help us build a much needed school … Bright Futures Secondary School https://GoFund.me/44a92444

If you think Jackie has done a brilliant job this weekend then please donate a few £££. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Internet photo – One of the locks on the canal on a sunny day
Another photo from the internet… this is what Jackie would have been doing but in the pouring rain!
Jackie’s bike and the boat they were helping to move through the 15 locks in the torrential rain
The Crinan Canal
Jackie covered quite a few kilometres running and cycling back and forward
A very wet and tired Jackie! Well done Jackie and thank you for sharing your kilometres with us!

Our website visitors

Sarah’s blog 24/7/22

Just a short post from me today as I’ve got an issue with my laptop that will hopefully be sorted by tomorrow. It’s times like this that I realise that technology isn’t my forte… but thank goodness for friends who can help.

Douglas & Lynda delivered another load of boxes to Dundee yesterday. Stuart & I spent a couple of hours yesterday packing boxes. The Bananabox Trust shed in Dundee will soon be full again and then they will book another container. It won’t be long until the current one arrives at it’s destination .

Hopefully, I’ll have an update on the kilometre challenge for you tomorrow with some photos too.

So I want to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ again to everyone who supports us. We really do appreciate you.

I love this photo from The Foundation Christmas Party where younger children were all given a rain jacket, a pencil and a lolly. Smiles like this are so good to see.

Our website is having visitors from all over the world which is brilliant! This week some of the countries from which people have viewed our website are; Thailand, Spain, U.K., USA, UAE, Canada, Israel, China, Netherlands, Malawi, Ireland, Peru, Zimbabwe, Libya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Antigua and France.

You can keep up to date with the most recent news by signing up to receive my blog. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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.

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