Merchiston Castle School – another rugby donation

Another generous rugby donation from Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh – thank you

Sarah’s blog 2/2/23

Bruce Aitchison, a housemaster at Merchiston Castle School, has been so supportive of our charity and of introducing rugby to the orphans and other vulnerable children we support in rural Northern Malawi. Bruce also runs the social media site for rugby fans ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’.

Rugby was only played for the first time in the far north when Jack Mphande, Malawian Rugby Development Coach visited last year. We and Community Sports Leaders Africa sponsored Jack’s visit to coach the young people who absolutely loved it. The fact that someone came from the south to spend time with the orphans was a huge deal to them. They no longer feel forgotten and they know that people are investing in their futures.

Last year Stuart, my husband, travelled to Edinburgh to Merchiston Castle School, to meet with Bruce and some of the boys who are students there to receive a big donation of rugby kit, boots and rugby balls. These have all now arrived in Malawi and the young people have modelled them and are delighted with such smart rugby kit. Bruce contacted us to say that there were more boots for us to send so we were able to meet him this morning. These donations will make such a difference to the young people’s mental health as well as enjoying playing rugby for their physical health.

Jack Mphande has kindly set aside two weeks (in May/June dates to be confirmed) to head north once again to train teachers in the 14 primary schools and also coach the young people at Bright Futures Secondary School. We estimate that to facilitate this it will cost approximately £400 so any help would be much appreciated. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

All the rugby balls, kit and boots will be able to be shared amongst the different schools. A lot of students, even though they are still at primary school, are teenagers, as they have missed a lot of school to work for a pittance to try to earn money for food. These vulnerable students love playing team sports and are able to forget about the poverty they live in and the trauma they have experienced. Spending time learning new skills and playing competitively with their friends is so good for them.

Thanks so much to Bruce and Merchiston Castle School. I’ve included some links from Bright Futures Secondary School and Jack’s first rugby visit.

Hope you enjoy the photos and videos and reading my blogs and thank you everyone who has supported us to help the children in Malawi, Sarah x

Phase 2 0f Bright Futures Secondary School – classrooms 3 & 4 – Changing Lives Malawi The link to our fundraiser for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School is https://gofund.me/ece5753a

Rugby, School & Sponsorship – Changing Lives Malawi

Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh – Rugby Kit Donation – Changing Lives Malawi (includes links to Jack Mphande’s first rugby visit)

Housemaster Bruce Aitchison who also runs the rugby social media site ‘Happiness is Egg Shaped’
Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Today’s donation was two big bags of rugby boots – thanks to Bruce and everyone who donated their boots!
Some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School with the generous donation of kit, boots and rugby balls from Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh

A great photo of orphans enjoying playing rugby during Jack Mphande’s first coaching visit to introduce rugby in the far north of Malawi.

The First School Trip – football & netball

Sarah’s blog 30/1/23

The students at Bright Futures Secondary School were invited to go to Chisenga Secondary School yesterday to play football and netball against Chisenga.

I don’t think we can quite comprehend the level of excitement and how much this trip meant to the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. Levison had sent me photos and videos last night but phoned me this morning to give me details and he was so happy that it had all gone well. All the students, and teachers, had enjoyed the afternoon enormously.

Most of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School have never been in a car before. So when they found out that they were going to Chisenga in taxis they were amazed. Levison said one student asked “Sir, you mean we have to pay for this journey?” so Levison was able to say “No, this is part of your education at Bright Futures Secondary School.”

Levison said that the students were a real credit to Bright Futures Secondary School, encouraging each other and singing lots of songs together. They cooperated well with each other and were very proud to be representing their school.

So from new experiences like being in a vehicle for the first time, having nice football and netball strips, trainers and football boots, and representing their school, the students know that they are valued. They know people care about them. They know that people are investing in them and their future. Levison said they are motivated to work hard in school. The spectators and staff at Chisenga School were surprised by the kits that the Bright Futures students were wearing and the fact that Levison took a new football to be used.

Unfortunately, the netball results didn’t go in Bright Futures favour; the first team’s results were 1 – 9 and the second team’s results were 6 – 10 but they tried their best and that’s all anyone can ask of them and we are proud of them.

Bright Futures football first team won their match 2 – 1 and the second team’s match ended in a draw 0 – 0. Very well done everyone we are proud of you!

So we want to thank everyone who has made yesterday a hugely successful trip. Thank you for the donation towards the taxis. Thank you to those who have donated trainers and football boots and sports kits. We couldn’t support the children without your help. Levison was very keen for me to pass on his thanks to everyone who helped make yesterday “I would really like to thank the donors…it was the best day for our school so far”.

We still need to raise a bit more money to cover the cost of the taxis yesterday, so if anyone would like to donate then we would be very grateful contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Levison said they would have given the students from Bright Futures a special meal if they could have afforded that. Instead, each student today has been given a new pen and pencil.

One of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School, Daniel, speaking on behalf of the students said “I want to thank you about the support you gave yesterday. I’m very glad to say that we won the game yesterday. We are more than happy because we have put our school on the map. Thank you supporters. The other school was challenging us, saying that Bright Futures is just a baby school that opened some few months ago which they thought it was obvious for us to fail the game. So winning the game was a relief to put the school on the flag of the winners.”

“I, as the headteacher, speaking on behalf of my colleagues, would like to say thank you for the support that we received yesterday. We are very glad to tell you that our first team won the football. We managed to beat one of our neighbouring schools who thought that they would win because we are only a small school. Winning yesterday made our school proud. It gave us confidence that we are strong as an institution. It has put Bright Futures Secondary School on the map. We have made history at yesterday’s game not only were there students there from Chisenga, but also people from surrounding communities came and watched the game. So, when they are leaving to go to their various places, they carried news that Bright Futures Secondary School is one of the strongest school with a strong team. This has given us confidence and has encouraged the students and the teachers. Our teams looked good in their jerseys and boots. Thank you so much. Please continue supporting us.” Miss Mtambo, Headteacher.

Bright Futures Secondary School Footballers are wearing red/black – Craigshill Thistle Football Club and also green – Edinburgh South Football Club. Bright Futures Secondary School Netball teams are wearing white/navy – Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club and also yellow/black – Fakenham Town Football Club. Thank you to all these clubs who have donated kit and also to Paul Goodwin, Paul Kelly, Julian Chenery and ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’ and, of course, The Bananabox Trust for their help with getting donations to Malawi.

Thank you for reading and supporting the students of Bright Futures Secondary School. I hope you enjoy the photos and videos, Sarah x

World Education Day – Changing Lives Malawi

Phase 2 0f Bright Futures Secondary School – classrooms 3 & 4 – Changing Lives Malawi

Many thanks to Edinburgh South, Craigshill Thistle & Fakenham Town football clubs and also Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club for these kits.

World Education Day

On World Education Day, we thank our supporters who are helping us provide education to some of the most vulnerable orphans in rural northern Malawi.

Sarah’s blog 24/1/23

What does education look like where you live? How many years do children go to school? Is it provided to all children, at no cost?

Where you live, what happens to children when they leave school? Do most go to college or university or an apprenticeship? Or they might go straight into employment? All of these opportunities happen after children have completed primary AND SECONDARY education. What would happen if they didn’t have these opportunities?

Not all children will pass all of their exams. As long as they’ve tried their best and worked hard, that’s all anyone can ask. They will still have been learning whilst at school.

Imagine that there are schools… but not for your children. In Malawi, primary school is free. However, if you cannot afford food then your children will have to miss school so they can earn a pittance to try to help buy food for the family.

Imagine your child walking all day to the nearest maize mill with a heavy bundle of maize balanced on their head. It’s not even your maize… they are walking 15km or 20km all day with their heavy burden to be paid a pittance for carrying someone else’s maize to the mill. No clean water or food to drink or eat all day, at risk of being attacked along the way. They have to miss school. How does that feel?

Laston, one of the boys we have matched with a sponsor, worked for a farmer, helping to look after his cows, for approximately £1.50 per month. There was no school for Laston – school was for other children – until we found a sponsor to support him.

In Chambo primary school, where the majority of orphans and other vulnerable children attend, whom the Foundation supports, they have minimal resources. No desks and chairs, apart from primary 8. All other children sit on the floor in their classrooms. They have hardly any books. They have no clean water supply and no latrines. We gifted 17 boxes of books to Chambo primary school to support literacy and help children become confident readers.

Children have to sit exams when leaving primary school. If you don’t pass then you don’t go to secondary school. There are not enough places in secondary school, so if you don’t get picked for a place then you don’t go. If you do pass your exams and are lucky enough to be picked for a place but you can’t afford to pay the fees… it’s heartbreaking. That is your formal education finished at the end of primary school.

That’s why Bright Futures Secondary School was desperately needed. To ensure all the orphans and vulnerable children, supported by The Foundation, had the chance of a secondary education without having to pay. Education is everything to these children. They know it is their escape from the dire poverty they live in.

Bright Futures Secondary School is being built in phases, as it’s obviously a big and costly project. Phase 1 has been successfully completed – staff accommodation, staff latrine and classrooms 1 and 2 and passed with flying colours when the inspectors came from the Education Department.

Now we need to continue our fundraising commitment to build classrooms 3 and 4 to ensure these vulnerable students have the opportunities the deserve. That they have choices and chances. That they have a brighter future.

All students at Bright Futures Secondary School are provided with a uniform, a school bag, other clothes. They receive a free school lunch. They have access to clean water and showers. Girls are given reusable sanitary towels (made at The Foundation) so they don’t have to miss one week of school each month. They are allowed to borrow books to take home from the library at The Foundation. Their dreams are coming true. They are working hard. With your help we are changing lives in Malawi.

On World Education Day we are saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who has helped us to support the students this far. Without your help, these students would not have been able to attend secondary school and have a free lunch each day. The school lunch is vital as it’s probably the only meal for many of them.

We need your help to build the next phase of the school. Two classrooms and more latrines will cost £25,000. Will you be part of the team supporting these vulnerable students to succeed and achieve? Will you be part of the team allowing them to have more choices and chances? Will you be part of the team helping them to help themselves out of poverty? https://gofund.me/ece5753a

If, on World Education Day, you would like to show your commitment to some of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi, please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or donate to our fundraiser here

We are passionate about helping these children to help themselves out of poverty and giving them a better start. The nursery has 75 preschool children (age 4-6). As well as clothes and blankets, each child has just been gifted a book to take home. We want children to learn that books are a wonderful resource that can be used each day for information and escapism. Who knows if any of these children will become authors in the future and write books for other children?

As you might imagine, running costs, as well as capital costs for these projects need to be found. The children need more people fighting their corner and supporting their education. Here are ways you can get involved;

1. Can you donate to our fundraiser to build classrooms 3 & 4? https://gofund.me/ece5753a

2. Can you commit to £5 or £10 monthly to help pay for food for the nursery or secondary school?

3. Will you organise a fundraiser for us? Can you involve your friends? Can your family help? What could your children & their friends do?

4. Would you like us to visit your club or school and show photos & talk about the projects we are supporting in Malawi?

5. Would you like to be matched with a vulnerable child to support their education and wellbeing? It’s only £25 p/m and you can split this cost with a friend.

6. If you are selling preloved clothes or toys… could you do it on behalf of our charity?

7. Can your business sponsor an event? Or donate towards a building? Or pay for the feeding programme for a week? We would, of course give you publicity. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

You can be sure that all money goes to the projects we support. Our charity is run by committed volunteers. So we have no salaries or admin costs. Thank you for reading and supporting us to help continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Gifts for the nursery children – Changing Lives Malawi

Rugby, School & Sponsorship – Changing Lives Malawi

children at the nursery have all been gifted a book to support their literacy
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School in the rugby kit donated by Merchiston Castle School
Some of the girls with their new school bags
Students showing off the new rugby kit and balls supplied by Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Students in a practical science class
we sent school uniform for the students at Bright Futures Secondary School
Exam time
Practical agricultural lesson – preparing the ground in the new polytunnel for growing crops.
The library has a good selection of books and computers
Laston, one of the sponsored teenagers. The photo on the left shows Laston in the only clothes he had. His shoes had holes in the toes so he could continue to wear them as they were too small. He missed a lot of school and worked for a farmer, looking after his cows, for approximately £1.50 per month. Laston is now doing really well as he’s been matched with a sponsor and is working hard at school.
Stuart, one of our trustees, collecting rugby balls and kit from Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh

Gifts for the nursery children

Sarah’s blog 10/1/23

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 contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Here is the link to Sunday’s post 10 Teddies – supporting the nursery children – Changing Lives Malawi Enjoy the photos and thanks for your support, Sarah x

10 Teddies – supporting the nursery children

Sarah’s blog 8/1/23

I’ve had a lovely donation today from a lady who heard me talking about Malawi, and showing photos, at church one Sunday. She has been busy knitting teddies for the children in the nursery as well as a baby blanket and two quilts. We are always very grateful when people have spent time & used their talents to help us support some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

This week, the 75 children in the nursery will receive the gifts we have sent for them. Proper records are kept, so any children who are absent, will receive their gifts another day. This way, we know that all children have had gifts when starting nursery and again when starting at Bright Futures Secondary School.

Each child will receive; a gym bag, a blanket, 2 red t-shirts (nursery uniform), 3 pairs of pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap and a picture book with some words in it. These children have missed out on all the stages of pre-reading that we take for granted with our children. We would love for every home to have at least two books. So you should see a post later in the week of the pre-school children receiving all these gifts.

As this is an ongoing project, I would love to be able to send a knitted teddy or other small soft toy for each of them. This would be the first toy they would have of their own. Can you help us? It would be lovely if they each had a teddy to cuddle as they go to sleep at night. please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you would like to support this project by knitting teddies for the 75 children we help to support who are age 4-6.

Or when you are shopping, could you buy some bars of soap on a regular basis? Or toothbrushes & toothpaste? Quite often, at this time of year, there will be packets of pants in the sales…we need age 3-6 please if you’d like to buy some. Are your children tidying out some of their books they’ve finished reading? Then we’d like pre-school ones for this nursery project and older books for the school literacy project please. The plain red t-shirts we are sending are either round neck or polo t-shirts that are ages 3 – 6 and are in the school uniform department of shops & supermarkets.

As these children are fed each time the nursery meets to try to reduce the malnutrition all the children suffer from, this obviously has an ongoing cost. Could you support helping to feed these children please? Could you commit to £5 or £10 per month towards food for the nursery? Any help you can give will make a huge difference. We need to build a team to support this project and these children to give them a better start. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for your support and commitment to helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Reasons to celebrate

Sarah’s blog 27/12/22

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I just wanted to post a few videos celebrating how wonderful we think the children in Ibuluma are. There are hundreds of them who are malnourished and have suffered varying amounts of trauma but, despite all that they are doing well. They now know that people care about them.

If you have helped us then we thank you. Here are ways you can support us to continue Changing Lives Malawi.

1. Donate to help us build phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School (classrooms 3 & 4) https://GoFund.me/44a92444

2. commit a monthly amount of £5 or £10 to support one of our feeding programmes; the nursery, secondary or weekly feeding programme for 500 children.

3. Sponsor a vulnerable child or young person for £25 per month which supports their education and provides a monthly food parcel. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the videos. I’d be grateful if you could share with others as we try to grow our audience. Thanks, Sarah x

Rugby coaching
no guitar? no problem! let’s make one!
An update from Catherine
Getting used to the new computers in the library. Children are wearing clothes from Strathblane Primary and Riverside Primary Schools in the Stirling area of Scotland.
Food, fun and dancing at the Christmas Party
Chancy thanking his sponsors and telling them he passed his exams
one of the football matches…everyone loves team sports
Trying out the new clippers we sent
Let’s dance!
Laston, one of the sponsored children, asking for a new school. He is doing well now after missing a great deal of school to help a farmer look after his cows for the equivalent of £1.50 per month.

A Christmas Party for 500

Sarah’s blog 22/12/22

First of all I must thank a very special couple who have made today possible. They support us in several ways and are also sponsors. They paid for the food for today’s Christmas Party. Food prices are rising all the time so things are very expensive so we are extremely grateful to them for £150 they donated in order that the children were able to have a nice meal today. A goat was also killed and everyone was able to have some meat. It’s a happy day today.

I cannot imagine how much these children were looking forward to their food today. Some may not have eaten at all for a couple of days. This meal is a feast for them and the most nutritious food they get. Unfortunately, there are no big charities or agencies feeding children in schools in this area in the far north of Malawi. (I have written to them several times to ask for support for almost 5,000 in the local primary schools). So all the children are malnourished to varying degrees. The intention was that approximately 200 of the most vulnerable children, most of whom are orphans. Word spread, and soon there were 500 queuing for food, with some children walking from up to 20km away. It’s another world and we don’t realise how fortunate we are. We can only afford to send enough money to feed 500 children once a week. These children need more. They deserve more.

Unfortunately, it rained for a while today whilst the children were there. However, the silver lining is that there were indoor spaces for them to play and have their food now there are two classrooms as well as Emma’s library and Sophie’s Skills Shed. Thank you to the teachers, staff and volunteers who worked hard today to ensure that all who turned up were fed and had a great time. Unfortunately, because it was so busy, Levison forgot about all the Santa hats. He has said they will make an appearance another day. The pupils at Bright Futures Secondary School insisted on looking smart in their school uniform despite the fact that the last day of term was yesterday.

Going forward, we will require more people to support the feeding programme as costs have risen. If you would like to make a one off donation or could sign up for a monthly amount then please do get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Or if you would like to help us build the next two classrooms in phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School you can email me or donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 . We need to build the team around these children to enable them to have a better, brighter future. We cannot do that without your support. Hopefully, from these photos and videos you will see that your donations are making a difference and changing lives. If looking at these videos and photos brings a smile to your face could you ask yourself what you could do to support them?

We need sponsors to support the most vulnerable with education and provide food, clothes and welfare visits. We need people to commit to monthly donations to support the feeding programme or free school meals at Bright Futures Secondary School. Or could your company help pay for a classroom? Would you like your name or the name of a loved one over a classroom door? Also there are activities like the rugby coaching fortnight that will be happening in the spring that we need financial help with please.

We are making a difference. We are changing lives. We need you to help us. It’s always about teamwork and we all have a part to play. Will you help? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Enjoy and thanks for reading, Sarah x

Bright Futures Secondary School – We are Changing Lives Malawi

Sarah’s blog 16/12/22

I wrote the following on my personal page last night… and am very thankful for all that has been achieved and will continue to be achieved through determination, hard work, teamwork, trust and truth, and the help of our supporters.

These photos could be from a school anywhere in the world. From these photos we cannot tell how big the school is, how new the school is, which country it’s in or how well off or poor the children and their families are. We cannot tell how much trauma they have been through, whether they have parents or are orphans living with extended family. We cannot tell whether they have eaten more than the one free school meal they have at school each day. That’s exactly how it should be.

As I keep saying, our little charity runs on a shoestring and, because we are volunteers, takes no money for salaries or admin whatsoever. All money goes to the projects we support. We have had to accept that the building of a school was going to have to happen in stages because of costs involved. I also keep saying that it’s all about teamwork. Some might have time, talents or contacts or spare money. All of us have care and compassion.

Phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School opened on 7/11/22. It has been such hard work, here and in Malawi. But we’ve achieved. Two classrooms have been built. Staff accommodation has been built. Desks have been made. Tables and chairs arrived on the container. School uniform and school equipment arrived on the container. Levison bought some basic science equipment when he was in Mzuzu. (We will buy more when funds are available).

There is so so much more to do for which we are relying on the generosity of others. But we are achieving. We are Changing Lives Malawi. These children are not to be pitied. They only require to be nurtured. Education is their way out of poverty. Bright Futures Secondary School will provide them with brighter futures.

I was feeling overwhelmed earlier on today as it has been busy and stressful but I went for a little sleep and am feeling much better now and that’s what prompted me to write this.

I am so proud of our charity and the small team of volunteers and I want to thank them all. I want to thank everyone who supports us and makes everything possible. We couldn’t do what we do without you. However, there is one person who has worked harder, longer hours than anyone else, in order to see his dream become a reality. He was one of these children. He has achieved and wants the same for each and every one of these vulnerable children.

So I just want to say Levison Mlambya I am so proud of you. Look what has been achieved for the children. We are a good team. Thank you all. If you would like to help then please email or message me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com www.changinglivesmalawi.com or donate at https://gofund.me/44a92444 and feel free to spread the word by sharing this post and others. Thanks, Sarah x

At the Nursery

Sarah’s blog 30/11/22

At the nursery today, Levison was able to gift some resources that had been sent. There were books and balls to be kept in nursery to be used whilst the children are there.

When the next container arrives (hopefully very soon) there are gift bags to be given to each of the children. Each child will receive a gym bag containing; a blanket, 2 red t-shirts, 3 pairs of pants, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste and a book. This will be an ongoing project so that, in future, whenever a child starts nursery, they will be given a gift bag, and we will have a record of every child who has been given these gifts.

The books that have been donated to the nursery and that will be gifted to each child to take home, form part of The Literacy Project. The children will learn about looking at pictures, turning pages and that the words tell the story. We hope that this will help with learning to read and also that books can be read every day for enjoyment and fact finding. We want every family to have at least one book in their home and, hopefully, older children can read to their younger siblings and adults. If some adults struggle with reading, we aim to have literacy classes for them too.

Although I was glad to see these resources being given to the nursery, I feel really quite sad looking at these photos. I have enlarged some of the photos to pick out three children that I noticed. All of the 500+ orphans and other vulnerable children we help to support, through a variety of projects, are malnourished to varying degrees. These children that I have highlighted have stunted growth and one has an enlarged tummy due to malnutrition. Prices of maize and other food are rising. Families are really struggling. Levison suspects that most of these children are only eating when they are fed at nursery and when they attend the weekly feeding programme.

There are no other charities or agencies feeding children in this area. Feed The Children Charity do occasionally donate some porridge for the nursery children; however, it doesn’t last long. Children walk for up to 20km to receive one substantial nutritious meal from the feeding programme once a week. We wish we had more money to be able to feed the children more often. It’s a huge responsibility trying to fundraise for food for over 500 children.

It costs approx £125 per week to run the feeding programme once a week for 500 children. The nursery children must be fed too. This is approx £50 per week. Bright Futures Secondary School is approx £100 per week to provide nutritious lunches each day. It would really help us and help the children if we had several people committing to pay a small amount of money each month to support feeding the children. If you can spare even £5 or £10 per month then you would be making a big difference. The children need more food. The children need you to help us support them. If other people, all pay a little amount each month then we can feed these malnourished children more often. Please email for bank details contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Thank you so much for reading and supporting us to continue helping the hundreds of vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi, Sarah x

Giving Tuesday – 29th November

Sarah’s blog 29/11/22

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helps us to support the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

As today is Giving Tuesday, please could we ask that you donate to our charity if you are able?

These are our current priorities, and any donation of any amount WILL make a difference.

  1. To provide a Christmas Lunch for all the children at the feeding programme so they have an extra meal and party – £150
  2. To provide a bar of soap for all the children at Christmas (we have already sent enough pencils for a pencil each) – £200
  3. Bright Futures Secondary School – to provide more desks -£500
  4. Bright Futures Secondary School – to provide more textbooks – £2,000
  5. Bright Futures Secondary School – to provide science equipment – £500
  6. Bright Futures Secondary School – free school lunches – to provide a one-off donation or regular monthly amount towards school lunches – approx £400 per month. Any amount will make a difference to these vulnerable teenagers.

Whatever you are able to give will be very much appreciated. The hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children who we help to support need to know that people care about them. We want for them the same chances, choices and opportunities as our own children have. We want them to succeed and be the best they can be. Will you help us? Together we can make a difference. Together we can help these children out of poverty and onto a brighter future. What can you do today? email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details.

To donate to our school fundraiser the link is here https://gofund.me/44a92444

Here is a link to our fundraising gifts, cards & calendars Christmas Cards & Gifts – Changing Lives Malawi

The photos below are from last year’s Christmas Party. A donation from Strathblane Guild paid for the food and Julian from Wear a Sports Shirt Day sent the Christmas hats. Can you help us provide a Christmas Party this year? Or make a donation towards Bright Futures Secondary School? Thank you in advance for your support. Hundreds of children will know that people care about them. Thank you for helping us continue Changing Lives in Malawi, Sarah x

Reviewing the first week of Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 13/11/22

Reviewing and reflecting on activities and learning is very important as it’s not all about what we think will work or what we want. It’s about improving the lives of the young people and therefore their voices need to be heard and their opinions taken into consideration when planning.

Levison asked me to speak with some of the young people this morning about their thoughts on their first week at Bright Futures Secondary School. Everyone enjoyed the school and thought the teaching was very good. They are pleased they are getting a cooked lunch at school. I was asked if there would be hostels for teens who had further to walk or who were orphaned. I was able to explain that we do want to do that eventually but next on the list is desks for the existing classrooms then we want to be able to build two more classrooms.

Later in the day Levison had a meeting with some of the parents and carers. He said they were all very supportive. He took two videos of parents saying that the amazing school project was a dream coming true and that they thanked the donors very much.

When we were planning for what resources the teachers needed, Levison was insistent that the teachers needed flip charts. I thought these would just be for making bullet points, but I now see their value. There is no printer yet to print out information from the internet, there are no colourful posters. So, the teachers have worked hard to make visuals aids for the walls of the classrooms. Not only does this provide notes for regular revision of subject matter, but it also provides proof of what lessons have been taught. Anyone visiting the school from the education department, or any other visitors will be able to see at a glance the quality of the lessons being taught.

A great first week at Bright Futures Secondary School and lots of eager teenagers are looking forward to their second week. Thanks to all who have helped make this happen, Sarah x

Parents and carers have come to talk about how they think the first week has been for their teenagers – they look serious but they have expressed how pleased they are with having the new school in the village and thanked the donors very much. They said it’s a dream come true.

School Lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 10/11/22

It’s nearly the end of the first week at Bright Futures Secondary School and things are going well. We still need to raise more money for desks and also more textbooks but some of the most vulnerable young people in Ibuluma are being educated and are having lunch at school too. This is a huge achievement for Levison and his team. Most of the young people are slightly older than they would be in UK or other countries as they have had to drop out of school to help earn a pittance to feed themselves. Life has been desperate for them all. Things are now changing.

First Day of Bright Futures Secondary School 07/11/22 – Changing Lives Malawi

These young people would not normally get the chance to go to secondary school because of the costs involve and also there were not enough places in the nearest secondary schools. So, even if you had a sponsor to pay your fees and you’d passed your primary school leavers exams, if you aren’t picked for a place at secondary school then you don’t go. This happened to 11 of our sponsored children last year which was heart breaking for them. This spurred us on to fundraise for Bright Futures Secondary School.

Because it is such a huge project to build a school and because we are operating on a shoestring, we are fundraising to build Bright Futures Secondary School in phases. We could not do this without the help of our wonderful supporters. We are very grateful to you all. We always say it is about teamwork. We all have a part to play in the team around these vulnerable children. Thanks to those who have donated, these young people have a school in their village, have a chance to have a good education, be fed a school lunch every day and have the chance of a brighter future. Thank you if you have been a part of making that happen. Thank you if you have been a part of changing their lives.

We are still fundraising for desks and more textbooks and then, after that, we will start fundraising for phase 2 of the school so that more vulnerable young people have the future they deserve. If you would like to help, then please donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444 or you can email for bank details contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Can you help with buying a desk? Or buying a textbook? Can you make a donation towards phase 2 of the school? We are also looking for people to make a monthly commitment towards feeding these young people. If we have several people all donating a small amount each month of £5 or £10 then this will ensure there is enough food for school lunches every day of the week.

The photos show the young people having their lunch at school today. They are eating nsima (ground maize), beans and vegetables. Now we know these children are having a substantial and nutritious meal in school every day. Being fed in school is also an incentive to be there every day. If you are able to support school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary school and either give a one-off donation or commit to a monthly amount, please contact me for bank details contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the young people arriving at school for 7am start
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