At the Nursery

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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

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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

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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

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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

First Day of Bright Futures Secondary School 07/11/22

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Sarah’s blog 07/11/22

What an exciting, historic day for Ibuluma! The first day of secondary school in the village at Bright Futures Secondary School. It is for orphans and other vulnerable children. It is giving them an opportunity for an education and a brighter future that they would not normally have had. Secondary school needs to be paid for in Malawi and none of these children or their families would be able to afford to pay.

We are expecting more students to turn up this week as word spreads that the school is now open for lessons. Some young people will have been doing manual work to bring in a small amount of money at home whilst they were waiting for school to start. All of the young people who have been offered places this year are known to the Foundation and receive support via the feeding programme and other projects. In future, when more classrooms have been built, students from other primary schools other than Chambo primary school will be able to attend.

As you will see, there were enough chairs today which have been ‘borrowed’ from the library. Any more students coming later in the week will have to sit on mats on the floor. There are 130 chairs on the container that should be arriving in the next three or four weeks. Desks are something we are still fundraising for and more textbooks so if you are able to support the young people with this then we (and they) would be very grateful. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Enjoy the videos and photos, Sarah x

Lots of News

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Sarah’s blog 27/10/22

Sorry that this is going to be a bit disjointed tonight but there are so many things going on at the moment and I thought it would be good to have an update.

  1. I went to Strathblane Church on Saturday for their Charity Christmas Card sale. It was lovely to see some people that I hadn’t seen for ages! I sold some calendars and lots of my mum’s lovely cards which have been made from her beautiful paintings. I also sold some alternative gifts with our new gift cards; a football and some fruit tree saplings. Altogether the charity made £258 which was fantastic.
  2. I’d recently been to visit the Ranger Guides in Strathblane to talk about the projects in Malawi. They are holding a bake sale this Sunday and have very kindly said they will donate some of their proceeds to Changing Lives Malawi.
  3. I’m taking part in the church service this Sunday at Balfron Church and will be showing photos and talking about Malawi. If you are local, then you are very welcome to come. It starts at 11.15am and there’s tea and coffee afterwards.
  4. In November, I have been invited to show photos at a knitting & sewing group in Torrance. They very kindly made lots of lovely baby things that are on the way to Malawi in the container. I am looking forward to meeting them.
  5. In Ibuluma, phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School is almost finished. It’s so exciting to see it all coming together. The floor is drying in the classrooms, the windows are getting finished tomorrow, the doors and roof are on and chalkboards will be made over the weekend. The teachers’ accommodation is finished, and teachers are being interviewed! Bright Futures Secondary School is really happening and will make a difference to so many vulnerable children’s lives. Thank you to all who have supported us to help the children. We still need more funds to buy more textbooks and have more desks made by the local carpenter so, if you can, please donate here https://gofund.me/44a92444
  6. I appealed for some support for the children whose dad had sadly died at the weekend. Two people have generously committed to a monthly amount to help buy food for them. We would like to have a little bit more support for them so if anyone else could spare £5 or £10 per month then please do let me know contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com
  7. We will hopefully have an update on our kilometre challenge tomorrow…please let me know if you have some more kilometres to add to our total.
  8. If you’d like to buy any calendars for yourself and for Christmas gifts, they are only £10 each plus p&p. Packs of 8 cards (blank inside) are £5 each plus p&p. Alternative gifts are; 4 fruit tree saplings £10, a football £10, supporting the literacy project to send a box of books £20, soap for 100 children £50. These can be bought in any multiples and posted out to yourself or the recipient.

Thanks for reading and supporting and I’ll be back tomorrow with more photos and updates, Sarah x

Help please for these children

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Sarah’s blog 24/10/22

As I’d said in my post yesterday, I am looking for some help and support for a family whose dad had died suddenly on Saturday. There are three children and their mum, but they’ve lost their main breadwinner. They were living in poverty anyway, but now they are desperate.

Help needed!

It was the burial today and Levison attended with some others from The Foundation. He took cabbages, maize and some small fish for the family and they were very grateful.

There are three children, and I am just as concerned about the eldest boy who is 19 as I am about the younger two children. Vincent never got the chance to finish primary school as he was working to help bring in a pittance to help feed the family. So, he doesn’t even have primary school qualifications and hasn’t had much schooling. He doesn’t have a job and I am worried about his self-esteem, especially now he is the head of the household. Vincent needs a job to keep him busy and to give him self-confidence as well as bringing some money into the home. Hopefully, Levison will be able to talk more with Vincent next time he visits on his way to town.

The younger two are at primary school and really do need sponsors. Mitinala is 14 and must have missed some school too as she’s only in p7. If the family don’t find some help, then Mitinala is at real risk of being married off too soon as her mother won’t be able to feed her. Despite child marriages being illegal, unfortunately, they do still happen. For lots of the girls whom we have already managed to match with sponsors, child marriage was a real risk. By giving them a monthly food parcel at home and keeping them in school, these girls are now safe.

Canani is 9 and in p4. He needs a sponsor to ensue some food goes into their home each month and therefore he will be more likely to stay in school and not have to work. These children need food in their tummies every day so they can concentrate at school. Please will you help them?

I’m looking to get a little team round this family, whether it’s someone sponsoring one of the children or several people giving £5 or £10 a month to give this family a monthly food parcel. What can you do to help today? To sponsor a child, it is £25 per month. They get a monthly food parcel, clothes, soap and stationery, a blanket and welfare visits. You can sponsor as an individual, a family or as two friends splitting the cost. I really hope that these children touch your heart, and you are able to help them even if it’s just a few ££ per month. Please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you can help us change these children’s lives. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Help needed!

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Sarah’s blog 23/10/22

We have some sad news and are hoping that some of our lovely supporters might help us.

The team of builders who have been working hard on Bright Futures Secondary School had the weekend off and went home. Levison heard late yesterday that one of the builders had died suddenly which, of course, has been a big shock. This man had a wife and children, although I don’t have details of the children yet. They are poor people and live in a village on the way to Chitipa town.

The funeral is tomorrow and Levison and a few others will attend. Levison will take some maize for the widow and her children. Although he wasn’t an employee of The Foundation, this family have lost their husband and dad. They no longer have his financial support. We would like to be able to help them like we try to help other families who are in need.

Would anyone be willing to help this family either by sponsoring one of the children when I have more information or by committing to a monthly amount towards a food parcel? You can email me if you can help and, hopefully, we can get a little support team around this family. Thank you, Sarah x

Two little girls have a sponsor!

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Sarah’s blog 22/10/22

Great news! Two little girls have a sponsor. This is a single parent family with three children. Mum is really struggling to feed them. We were introduced to these children last month when Levison saw them walking the huge distance to the maize mill with someone else’s maize. They would walk all day with no food or clean water to drink. It’s a long, hard journey carrying their burdens. It’s also a dangerous journey so children stay together to reduce the chance of being attacked along the way.

Below is the original story I posted about them.

You’ll see from their ages and the classes that they are in at school that they have missed some education, especially the oldest, as they will have had to work for a pittance to help bring food into the family home. Thanks to the new sponsor, there will be food going into this home each month, the children will be given blankets and soap and they will have new clothes. Thank you for making a difference.

You can imagine, when there are over 500 orphans and other vulnerable children to support, there can be many challenges along the way. One of these is that some children are called by different names by school, at home and by their friends. The children had told Levison their names were Martha, Hope and Joseph. However, Levison has asked that we use their proper names that are registered at school to avoid confusion when checking records and speaking to the teachers.

So here is a family whose lives have been changed for the better through a kind sponsor having read my previous post. Their mother was crying with happiness when she heard that her daughters would now be supported. It’s less than £1 per day to sponsor a child and there are many, many children who would benefit from having a sponsor. You can sponsor as an individual, a family or share the cost with a friend. Or a club or business can sponsor a child and we will, of course, give your business some publicity. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to change a life today. It might be the most important thing you ever do for one of these very vulnerable young people. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

NB I will be doing an appeal over the next couple of days on behalf of another family who desperately need a helping hand. Sarah x

Life has been very hard. Mum cried when she heard that her family now have some support.
Mphatso has missed a lot of school. As the eldest child, she has had to be working to earn some money to help feed her siblings.
Roda will benefit from having a sponsor as there will be two food parcels going into the home each month and the children will receive new clothes and blankets. Hopefully, they won’t be going to the maize mill with other people’s maize.
Chikumbusko will receive new clothes and a blanket and benefit from having more food at their home via two food parcels each month. If anyone would like to sponsor him then please get in touch.

Bright Futures Secondary School – raising the roof!

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Sarah’s blog 20/10/22

This blog comes with very mixed feelings. We are so near to completing the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. But we aren’t quite there yet. The children need us. The children need you. Https://gofund.me/44a92444 Please donate to help the most vulnerable children have their own school.

I am absolutely delighted by the progress of everything that is happening in Malawi. I’m proud of our fundraising and so thankful to all of you who have helped us to support the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi to have an education. I’m so proud of the hard work that Levison and his team are doing to project manage all the building work. The builders, carpenters and others who are helping are doing everything they can to make Bright Futures Secondary School a reality.

You will see from today’s photos that the staff accommodation is now complete. Due to the rural location, for safety and convenience, female staff will be offered accommodation. The staff latrine is underway. Due to the dry soil, it is very hard work but should be completed by the start of the week.

Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 1. These two classrooms are taking shape and are going to be an amazing place to learn. The most vulnerable young people, many of them orphans, will be able to have the education they deserve and a brighter future with a way out of poverty.

However, we need to raise more money. Over the last few months, due to the cost-of-living crisis, fundraising has become more challenging. So, the fact that people have been so generous is even more amazing. Now we need another big push… please help us to finish these classrooms and give the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444

The roof panels are already bought and are being fixed over the next couple of days. But window frames and glass need to be bought, classroom doors need to be bought, as well as some plastering and flooring. We have 130 chairs on the container that is on its way, as well as school uniform and school bags and stationery. But we do need to build desks and buy some more textbooks.

Please, please if you can, help us to provide a Bright Future at Bright Futures Secondary School for the children and young people we are supporting. It’s always about teamwork and we cannot do this without your help. Please help us to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Enjoy these photos and I’ll keep posting more over the next couple of days. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x https://gofund.me/44a92444

The staff accommodation block is now complete
Builders have been working hard and this accommodation block is now complete
Cleaning the floors of the accommodation block
The first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School is looking amazing
The builders are working extrememely hard
The carpenters are doing a great job
Almost ready for the metal sheets to go on
The metal sheets are now going on the roof
Fixing the metal roof panels
on the roof…you can see one of the existing latrine blocks in the background
the roof should be completed within the next couple of days
digging the new latrine is extremely hard work due to the ground being so dry

More Building updates

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Sarah’s blog 17/10/22

Things are progressing well with both the staff accommodation and the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School.

The staff accommodation has been having windows put in during yesterday and today and will need painting and doors fixing. Apart from a bit of tidying up outside, that will be it ready!

The builders have finished their work on phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School and the carpenters are working on the roof. There are still some jobs to do after that but it’s exciting to see it taking shape! It won’t be long until the first students arrive.

A teachers latrine block is also being constructed and, when finances allow, we will be building another girls and another boys latrine blocks.

The children still need your support. As yet we still need to find money for windows in the school block, doors, chalkboards, desks, more textbooks and notebooks.

Can you help us help the children please? We are nearly there but need your support to give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable teenagers in rural Northern Malawi. They wouldn’t normally be able to afford secondary school without help. At Bright Futures Secondary School, none of these vulnerable children will have to pay anything.

Here is the link to our fundraiser and we would be so grateful if you could spare a few £££ for the children. Https://GoFund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

At sunset – the wooden roof supports on the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please help us complete this phase https://GoFund.me/44a92444 Let’s build a school!

The roof is going on the first phase of the school… two classrooms are being built in this phase
The carpenters have been working hard today please help to get it finished https://gofund.me/44a92444
The staff accommodation is almost complete. Female teachers will be offered accommodation due to the remote location. Eventually there will be male staff accommodation too.
Bright Futures Secondary School is taking shape… thank you to all who have donated so far
Putting the windows into the staff accommodation block
Female teachers will be offered accommodation
The staff accommodation is almost ready

Help us please to complete the school!

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Sarah’s blog 14/10/22

The building of phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School is making great progress. We are so thankful for all the donations we have received so far. We couldn’t do what we do without you. It’s always about teamwork and our team of volunteers and team of supporters are amazing. Thank you!

However, as usual, we are aiming big even though we are a small charity. As we are volunteers, you can be sure all of your donation goes to the projects we support. We are still needing your help to get windows, build desks and purchase more textbooks. These young people are some of the most vulnerable in rural northern Malawi. Together, we can give them the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444

On the container that will arrive in December are 130 chairs, school bags, school uniform and blankets. Already there, and waiting for phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School to be completed, are pocket dictionaries, calculators, windup torches and filled pencil cases. These young people are desperate to learn. They are desperate to have a better life. They are desperate for a brighter future. They are desperate for education. They need our help. Together we CAN help them and give them the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444

The reason we are fundraising to build Bright Futures Secondary School is that there are not enough places in the current secondary schools. Even if you have a sponsor to pay your fees and you have passed your primary school leaving exams, if you are not offered a place at secondary school then you don’t get to go. That is heartbreaking. They have to repeat their last year of primary school, hoping for a better grade and hoping to be picked for a place at secondary school. This happened to eleven of our sponsored children last year. We will do everything we can to ensure that all children have access to the education they need and deserve.

On our kilometre challenge we are trying to complete 13,144km which is the total that the boxes we send travel from here to The Foundation. We are asking people to send us the number of kilometres you run, walk or cycle so we can add them to our total. We are almost at the halfway mark now! Please email me to donate your kilometres contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

In addition to this fundraiser, we have lovely cards and paintings for sale by one of our talented trustees, Christine Cresswell. We also have calendars for sale at £10 each plus p&p. All of the proceeds of these fantastic paintings, cards and calendars will go towards phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School and will make great Christmas gifts.

Christine Cresswell Artist – new paintings – fundraising – Changing Lives Malawi

Fundraising Calendars 2023 – Changing Lives Malawi

I hope you enjoy the photos of how the school is progressing. Please help us if you can. If you are unable to help at this time, then please share our posts. Thank you for your support, Sarah x

One of the lovely cards we have for sale. Taken from an original painting by Christine Cresswell, one of our trustees. Pack of 8 cards for £5 (blank inside for your own message)

Our 2023 fundraising calendar £10 each plus p&p

Work is progressing well on phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School
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