31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 11 and 12

Sarah’s blog 12/5/22

11.30am There wasn’t much to report yesterday. I did 10km on the exercise bike and ate rice and veg. I have been finding the last few days harder, I think because it’s a bit colder and I’m wanting something a bit different from salad and rice. Last night I did open a tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce and had half of that tin with rice which was a nice change. I am currently making some soup which I am looking forward to.

6pm My soup was delicious….even if I say so myself lol. Sweet potato, broccoli and stilton. I only used a little bit of stilton to give it some flavour…it’s been nice to have vegetables in a different form today! I’ve just cycled 15km so if you think I’m doing ok then please donate and share my posts. I’m almost two weeks into my challenge and have cycled further than I first thought so I’d love your help to build a school for the children so everyone can go to school. Thanks for reading, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 3

Sarah’s blog 3/5/22

12.30pm Who needs sleep anyway? Sore tummy and sore legs last night and, for some reason, wide awake! I’m not saying this to moan, I’m just writing down facts as a record of how this challenge is progressing. I haven’t been hungry at all this morning. I’ve just had a lovely salad for my lunch which is the first thing I’ve eaten today. I’m saving my rice for dinner! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The first day of the challenge was really hard as I was hungry all the time but yesterday and today have been ok as my body is obviously getting used to the change in what I’m eating and eating less than usual. Not having meat is a big change but I’ve not really missed it. I’m finding that I am thinking a lot more about the children in Malawi and trying to imagine the different difficult situations they find themselves in. Not enough to eat, nowhere near enough resources in the local schools, no medical care if they can’t afford it. Lots of chores to do to help their families. The heavy rains this year have affected the crops and maize will be more expensive to buy and not as readily available. Life is very hard for them but, bit by bit, we are changing their lives for the better. Always, the end goal is self-sufficiency.

8pm It’s been a busy day today so I didn’t get round to doing my 10km until 7pm. When I got to 6km I started to struggle so I made my lovely hubby come and talk to me until I’d finished…. so I made it over the finishing line! A bowl of rice and a few beans just now. I’m feeling a bit tired but hopefully that means I might sleep tonight. My challenge is to eat rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables as a representation of what the children eat and cycle 10km to represent the distance the little kids walk to school and back. If you’d like to support me raise funds to build a desperately needed school then please donate to my fundraiser https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 thanks for reading and supporting me, Sarah x

Sewing Classes – Skills for Life

Sarah’s blog 2/5/22

Levison sent these photos yesterday of some of the young people in one of their sewing classes. We had sent Singer hand turn sewing machines and they are being put to good use.

The Period Poverty Project has been running for a while now, helping give teenage girls dignity, confidence and equality. No longer do they have to miss a week of school each month to hide at home in shame. Drawstring bags have been made by a few girls. Each girl who needs one is gifted a bag with 5 reusable sanitary towels (also made by the girls), 3 pairs of pants, soap and a health information leaflet.

A fairly cheap to run project that makes a big difference to girls. If we had more money to send to this project then they could gift these bags in local schools to all girls who need them. Also local women would benefit from the gift of reusable sanitary towels and soap. I wondered if anyone would like to sponsor this project to gift £10 a month to keep this project running and extend it into the community? If we had a few people willing to gift £10 a month then this will make a big difference to hundreds of girls and women living in poverty. Why should they have to miss one week of education each month? Why should they have to stay at home and feel shame because of a normal bodily function?

There are various life skills classes being run at The Foundation. These young people are learning to sew and hopefully to make clothes. One of the older girls has managed to make a couple of school dresses for the younger children. Again, if we had more money to send, this would be amazing if school uniforms could be made for the children whom The Foundation supports but also then as a source of income for other families to buy school uniforms from The Foundation Sewing Shop. So if anyone feels they would like to support this project with a monthly donation, please get in touch, or maybe you’d like to donate some money to buy material? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .

We want this community to be self-sufficient. We want them to have jobs to provide for themselves and their families. This is their wish too. They are a proud, hard-working community. They just need a helping hand out of the dire situation they have found themselves in through no fault of their own. Let’s help them get back on their feet and provide a sustainable future for them and their families. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Melise is wearing a school dress that has been made for her by some of the older girls at The Foundation. They’ve done a great job. Melise has been allowed to start school a bit earlier as she is learing quickly. I wonder whether the books that have been given to her brother (Mwiza), who is disabled and doesn’t attend school, have helped with her learning.

31 Days in May – Sarah’s challenge – Day 1

Sarah’s blog

Let’s build a desperately needed school so all children can have the gift of education. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

I am trying to raise awareness of how little the hundreds of children in Ibuluma, northern Malawi have to eat. All children supported by the Foundation are malnourished. They are fed a nutritious, substantial meal once a week at the Feeding Programme. This is their biggest meal of the week. Some days some of the children might not eat at all. I am eating rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables each day in May to represent what the children eat. I’m very aware that I am privileged to have this every day instead of just once a week and, of course, this is my choice. The hundreds of children we are helping to support have no choice.

I am also cycling 10km a day on my exercise bike to represent how far the younger children walk each day to school and back (5km each way).

I need your help to keep encouraging me please. I also need you to help me raise enough money to build a school. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

This morning I woke up and the realisation hit me that today is the day I start this challenge. I know that a lot of it is about having the right mindset and I am looking at this as a challenge….not a diet or anything else weight loss related….just a challenge to raise awareness of how little the orphans and vulnerable children in Ibuluma have to eat.

I decided I would have a packet of microwave rice so that it was easy to know how much I was going to eat. I had about a third of it for breakfast with some cucumber, a tomato and 2 beetroot. That was ok, no problem. A couple of hours later I cycled 5km on my exercise bike but then started to feel quite light headed. I had a bowl of lettuce and a big glass of water which filled me up but it wasn’t long before I started feeling light headed again so I finished the rest of the packet of rice. At less than 400 calories per packet I think it was a bit silly thinking I could just have one packet per day. It’s strange how much I’m thinking about food….not food that I can’t have….but just thinking when I can have something else to eat.

I cannot imagine not having anything to eat all day until dinner time. Or even worse, going a whole day with nothing to eat at all. The children in Ibuluma look forward to The Feeding Programme each week, knowing they are going to get a substantial meal…..how must they feel when it’s really heavy rain and they can’t go? Huddled at home, under a leaking roof, with a sore tummy because it’s so empty. The disappointment of not getting to The Feeding Programme must be huge.

Another project we will eventually have to tackle is building bridges across the rivers. If it rains, it is too dangerous for children to cross the rivers as they are too deep and children might get swept away. So some children, if they live across the river, have to stay at home to be safe. We’ve so much to do to help this community back on their feet and to self-sufficiency….we can but do a bit at a time.

Thankfully, the teachers have noticed that children can concentrate better and their grades are improving just from one meal a week which supplements whatever small amounts they get at home. Things are better…but not ideal.

Another big glass of water and 5km on the exercise bike. That wasn’t too bad. Now how long until I can have some more food? For dinner I am going to have some rice (surprise, surprise) with onion, mushrooms and courgettes….and another big glass of water! If I get hungry later I will have a carrot and another big glass of water! I’ll let you know in tomorrow’s blog how this evening goes and if I am starting to get a bit grumpy…let’s hope not. I’m keeping focused on the children I want to help and the school I want to help build. I’d love it if you could support me please https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Chambo Primary where they sit on the ground. We need to build a secondary school for these children as there are currently not enough places so if children do not get picked then they don’t go to secondary school. Education should be available to all children.

The Nursery

Sarah’s blog 23/04/22

As the rainy season hasn’t finished yet, there were less children at today’s nursery session. I always say that the nursery caters for 50 of the most vulnerable children. However, Levison has recently told me that there are now 75 children age between 4-6 coming to the nursery. None of these children are turned away as they are hungry and suffering from malnutrition.

As you can see, the children are in their red t-shirts that have been sent, a few are still wearing their stripy waterproofs that they were given at Christmas and one little girl, Flary, whose mum volunteers to cook for all the children, is wearing a Riverside Primary School Jumper.

Levison and I decided that when the children start nursery would be a good time to give out a care package so we know that everyone has received their gifts. As I am an Early Years Educator, I’ve got a special interest in making lives better for these children and helping them achieve their potential. We have put together the following for each child as they begin nursery; a gym bag with, two red t-shirts, two pairs of pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap, a blanket and a picture book. Now I know that there are 25 more children, I am collecting and putting together some more bags to send on the next container. We always need soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, pens & pencils, children’s pants etc so if you find these cheaply while you are doing your shopping we would be very grateful if you’d donate some for the children.

We are also putting together pencil cases for each child leaving nursery and starting school, so if your child has asked for a new pencil case and their old one is still ok, could you donate it to send to the children please?

The nursery meets 3 times a week and the children play and are given something to eat. Periodically, Feed The Children Organisation bring some bags of porridge. The Foundation is grateful for this donation. These are only to be used for the nursery children. The porridge doesn’t last for many servings so the children are fed from money our charity sends and also from the crops grown at The Foundation when available.

This is one of the reasons that planting fruit tree saplings is so important, so children like these have more variety and vitamins in their diets and any extra fruit will be used as an income for The Foundation. Levison and team want a huge orchard with lots of different fruit trees. They want to keep bees too when the saplings start growing bigger. Obviously, planting hundreds of trees will be good for our planet as well as providing a sustainable future for the community. Fruit tree saplings are a way out of poverty and malnutrition for this village.

If you’d like to buy some fruit tree saplings they are £10 for 4. You can get in touch by email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or via the website form. Please also get in touch if you’d like to help support the nursery in any way. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Juliet Ng’ambi asking for a school

Sarah’s blog 13/4/22

A few young people were at The Foundation yesterday. Levison took videos of Laston (yesterday’s post) and Juliet Ng’ambi appealing for a school in their village. Juliet is also in p8 and is worried that, even if she passes her exams, she won’t be picked for a place in secondary school in January as there aren’t enough places.

I’m confident that by growing our team of supporters we can make this a reality and help hundreds of vulnerable children out of poverty through education.

We need your help. I need your help please. Can you organise a coffee morning where you live? Or an event with your friends? Do your teenagers need volunteering opportunities and could help us with a sponsored event? Are you experienced at applying for grants? Can we come and speak at your club or church? I would love to hear your ideas of how you can help the children have a school in their village…so they can all go to school and be the best they can be.

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to chat about how you can help or for bank details to make a donation. Or you can donate via this website or by texting SCHOOL to 70560 . I know we can do this together to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

When the first few picture books arrived at The Foundation

Juliet Ng’ambi asks for a secondary school in her village so there are enough places for all children

The Starfish Story

Sarah’s blog 9/4/22

I love the Starfish Story that I am going to share with you. Some of you will know it already.

Sometimes situations seem daunting and overwhelming. Sometimes I wonder how we can make a difference to the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in Northern Malawi. But we are, bit by bit. Each of us helps, doing our little bit, as part of a team.

Five hundred malnourished children are receiving a nutritious, substantial meal once a week at the feeding programme. We wish we could afford to send more money to feed them more often or to set up a porridge programme at the schools. Unfortunately, at the moment, we can’t. We don’t yet have the finances for this. But the teachers have noticed that even this one meal is helping their concentrate and their grades.

Teenage girls are no longer missing school each month as they have been given reusable sanitary towels. This has given them dignity, inclusion and equality of education.

A nursery has been set up for 50 very vulnerable preschool children three times a week. They’ve been given clothes, blankets, flipflops and raincoats. They receive porridge at each session. This is making a big difference to these young children.

Ninety children have been matched with sponsors. They receive food, clothes, blankets, soap and education thanks to their generous sponsors.

These are only a few ways you have been helping us help the hundreds of very vulnerable children that The Foundation supports.

It’s teamwork as we couldn’t do it without you. If you haven’t yet taken on a sponsorship role or donated to the feeding programme… think about The Starfish Story I am sharing today. One person can make a difference. You can make a difference. If you sponsor one child, I sponsor another and so on, we CAN make a difference to ALL the vulnerable children. Please can you sponsor one of these vulnerable children today? It’s only £25 per month.

These children may not be starfish like in the story… but each one of them is a star. They are doing their best to survive. But they each need one of us to help them have more food and education. They each need one of us to help them be the best they can be. We need you to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Each child deserves a chance. Let’s each of us support one child and Change their Life. We can do this if each of us makes up part of a big team around these children. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for reading and supporting. Please choose one of these stars to change their life today. Sarah x

Please make a difference to a child today

World Health Day – Projects & Photos

Sarah’s blog 7/4/22

This year’s World Health Day is highlighting people and planet. There is much to do, particularly by those of us in more developed countries to ensure the health of people in poorer countries.

The Foundation we are working with in rural northern Malawi is making great progress but there is a great deal more work to do. Here are some ways they are making a difference to the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children;

  1. The Feeding Programme – all children and young people in the area where The Foundation is are suffering from malnutrition. Approximately 500 children are fed a substantial, nutritious meal once a week. This is their biggest meal of the week and some children can go for a couple of days without eating. As there are no big agencies feeding children in that area, some children walk up to 20km for this meal. We would like to be able to send more money to feed the children more often or to set up a porridge programme at their schools. Teachers have already noticed that this one meal per week is helping the children’s concentration and improving their grades.
  2. The Period Poverty Project – girls have been made to feel shame for a normal bodily function. They miss school for one week out of four and therefore fall behind the boys in their studies. We sent hand turn sewing machines, fabric and other sewing supplies and some of the older girls started making drawstring bags and sanitary towels. The bags contain; 3 pairs of pants (supplied by Smalls for All charity), 5 reusable sanitary towels, soap and a health information sheet. This is an ongoing project, that doesn’t cost too much money, that is making a difference to hundreds of girls. It would be wonderful if we had more money to be able to make and gift these bags to all girls who need them at local schools.
  3. Clean Drinking Water & Showers – This was a huge undertaking and one that is benefitting everyone. As we saw in photographs pregnant women were washing their clothes, themselves and drinking from dirty puddles prior to having clean water on tap. All the children who use The Foundation are able to have regular showers to keep clean and they have clean water to drink. They are taught about the importance of hygiene and handwashing.
  4. Facemasks – When the schools in Malawi were requiring children to wear facemasks because of the pandemic, the girls who have been sewing were able to make facemasks for everyone.
  5. Handwashing – some of the local schools do not have clean, running water so we sent money for Levison to buy buckets (with taps) and boxes of soap to gift to local schools so the children are able to wash their hands.
  6. Fruit Tree Saplings – We have been raising money for fruit tree saplings for future food for the children. Over 100 have been planted so far but we want to plant far more. This will provide the children with a more varied healthy diet and will provide jobs and future income too. Obviously, planting trees is good for the planet and will help with preventing soil erosion in the heavy rains.
  7. Eco Stoves – are being made for the villagers. These are an enclosed form of cooking, are safer than the usual open fires, retain more heat and use less wood which makes them better for people and planet.
  8. The Foundation is growing it’s own crops for the orphans and vulnerable children to eat. However these aren’t enough for the hundreds of children who need food and more maize has to be bought. They are also rearing chickens and goats.
  9. The Mother & Baby Project – we have had wonderful donations of knitted blankets and baby clothes. Levison took these to the local health centre. New mums are given some clothes for their new born babies and again, if they go back a few weeks later, they will be given some more clothes enabling the nurses to have an additional chance to chat to mums and see their babies and offer help and advice if needed.
  10. Hats, Gloves & Scarves – at certain times of the year it can get very cold at night and most of these children are sleeping on the ground inside their very basic homes. It can be cold walking to school in the mornings so the gifts of hats, gloves and scarves keeps them a bit warmer.

These are just some of the projects that are making a difference. I hope you can see how much work is being done and how committed we are to doing more. Children are generally happier as they know they are important and cared about. They are learning new skills, playing sports and reading books. We couldn’t help The Foundation without your help, so this is another chance to say ‘Thank You’ to our supporters. It’s always teamwork and we are grateful to you. I hope you enjoy these photos on World Health Day. Thanks for reading, Sarah x As always, you can email on contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Rugby videos

Sarah’s blog 6/4/22

We’ve paid to upgrade our website so that we now have fancy features like being able to show videos. David, one of our trustees, very kindly provides technical support so I have been trying out a few new things. So here are some videos from the recent rugby coaching camp led by Jack Mphande, Malawian International rugby coach. We were so lucky that Jack was able to spend some time with the children. Just look at all the fun they are having whilst they learn new skills playing a team game they’ve never even heard of previously. Obviously, a big thank you to Jack for coming to teach rugby in the far north, to Community Sports Leaders Africa for facilitating Jack’s travel north, Strathendrick RFC for providing rugby balls that we sent out and a huge thank you to our supporters who donated money to enable the rugby coaching to happen for so many children. Enjoy the videos, Sarah x

Having fun whilst on lunch break at rugby camp
Practicing whilst waiting for lunch

Each child deserves a chance

Sarah’s blog 6/4/22

These amazing children need a helping hand to reach their potential. To be the best they can be. Isn’t that what we all want for our children? Each of these children suffers from malnutrition. They need more food, clothes, education. Can you be a helping hand for one of these children? It’s only £25 p/m to sponsor a child. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com please look at each photo and help a child today. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Sponsored – Melise & Mwiza – update

This story is about the Mtambo family, living in rural northern Malawi. Not many of us can imagine just how tough life is for this family.

Sarah’s blog 4/4/22

This family has four children and a mum and a dad. That sounds a good way to start a story. Depending where in the world this family live they might have a big house and 2 cars and plenty of money in the bank or a smaller house with the children having to share bedrooms and only one car in their family. Life might be a bit more of a struggle for them but they still have enough to get by.

But this story is about the Mtambo family, living in rural northern Malawi. Not many of us can imagine just how tough life is for this family. Not many of us can imagine just how poor they are. Mum is trying to earn some money to feed her family and hold everything together. Dad is ill and unable to work or help her with housework or the care of the children. There are three girls and a boy. Mwiza, the boy is disabled. He is left to his own devices a lot of the time, sitting on a mat, as mum cannot spend all day with him as she is working and the girls are at school and nursery. Grandma sometimes comes to help.

The story of this family and the mother’s struggle touched people’s hearts and two kind people came forward to sponsor Mwiza and Melise. The other two girls, Thokozani and Eliness, still need to be matched with sponsors. Melise’s sponsor also wanted the mum to have some money to spend on food or what she needs so she pays an extra £5 for the mum which Levison gives her and for which she is very grateful.

Having two out of the four children sponsored has made a big difference to this family. They have two monthly food parcels which supplement what mum can earn, so it takes a bit of pressure from her knowing that her children and herself and her husband have something to eat. The four children have been given new clothes and blankets and Mwiza has received a mattress and lots of toys and books to stimulate him and build up his muscles as he reaches for them. A chair is on the next container for him too.

Mum has said to Levison that she is amazed at the difference in Mwiza since the family started to have regular food and he had books and toys to stimulate him. Also, Melise although just 5 has been given a place at primary school as she is very bright. Usually children start primary school in Malawi at age 6. The extra food is obviously helping her concentration and growth and also the books sent for Mwiza will be helping all three of his sisters too. Families like these do not have the luxury of books so children miss out on lots of literacy that our children have from a very young age. It is great that the books that have been donated and sent are having a positive impact already.

This family still need a lot of help and support but the difference so far is great to see. Having the ongoing support of The Foundation and the two sponsors is helping to change these children’s lives. I hope you enjoy looking at the photos and if anyone feels they would like to join the team around this family by sponsoring Thokozani or Eliness then please do contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for reading and for all the support we receive helping us to continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

Some of the most vulnerable children

These are the most vulnerable children and most in need of a sponsor. Can you be a helping hand to one of these children?

Sarah’s blog 5/4/22

I wanted to highlight some of the orphans and vulnerable children that Levison has taken photos of previously. He’s done this as they are some of the most vulnerable and most in need of a sponsor. It’s only £25 per month to sponsor a child and you can do that as an individual, a group or two friends. 85p per day will mean the world to these children.

I’ve highlighted each child with a coloured background because I think they deserve to be seen. They deserve to have the same chances our children have. They deserve to have food, clothes, education. They deserve to reach their potential. They deserve to have a helping hand. They deserve to know that someone cares.

Please…can you be a helping hand to one of these children? It might be one of the most important things you ever do. It might be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thank you for reading and I hope to hear from some of you and match you with a child. Sarah x