Please sponsor me?

Sarah’s blog 12/8/22

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

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

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

Can you help us build a school?

Sarah’s blog 10/8/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘On the road again…’

Sarah’s blog 2/8/22

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

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

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

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

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

Getting ready for school

Sarah’s blog 26/7/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jackie’s very wet adventure

Sarah’s blog 25/7/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our website visitors

Sarah’s blog 24/7/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The children need food

Sarah’s blog 20/7/22

Running a Foundation is a huge responsibility and the rural location of The Foundation adds to the pressure that Levison is under.

There are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the far north of Malawi. The responsibility has fallen to The Foundation to feed 500+ children once a week. Children are walking from up to 20km away to have that one substantial meal each week.

This is all we can afford at the moment. There are so many calls on finances as we try our best to support a community back to self-sufficiency.

The Foundation teaches life skills to the children and young people. Growing crops is part of the skills the children learn. Unfortunately the crop of maize was affected by the flooding earlier this year and part of the crop was washed away. This year’s crop will only feed the children for two months.

The price of buying maize fluctuates throughout the year depending on availability and time of year.

The Malawian Kwacha was devalued a few months ago and all prices have gone up. However, maize is more than double the price it was this time last year.

Thank you to the few people who have given £5 per month towards the feeding programme as we have been grateful for this to top up the money we send each month to feed the children.

We know that we are asking for a lot of help but the more people who know about our charity and The Foundation, the more we can spread the help we need across more supporters. So I urge you to please share our posts and also tell your friends about us and the help we need.

All of us in the U.K. are volunteers and no money is spent on admin costs as we donate our time, petrol for transporting boxes to Dundee etc. So you can be sure if you donate money for feeding children, that’s where it will go.

Please, please can you donate £5 per month towards our feeding programme? I need 20 people to commit to £5 per month to enable the children to still be fed a substantial meal each week at The Foundation.

Please, if you can, donate £5 p/m by emailing contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details. The children have come to rely on that one substantial meal each week…we can’t let them down.

Please help us continue helping the children by donating £5 per month for food. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to help feed the 500+ vulnerable children today. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the children having their one nutritious meal of the week.

lots and lots of bricks

Sarah’s blog 05/07/22

Just a quick update on the brickmaking for stage 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School. Levison has sent some photos today and everyone involved in the making of bricks has been working hard. There has now been approximately 16,000 bricks made. They are left to dry in the sun and then will be built into a kiln and baked. There will still need to be more bricks made but at least building work will be able to start once this first lot of bricks are ready.

We are really needing your support to help us fund this school so that all children have access to education. Please help https://gofund.me/44a92444 and if you’d like to get involved in our kilometre challenge here is the link to all the information you need. https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 Please help give the gift of education. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

working hard mixing water into the earth
water being mixed with the earth to make bricks
bricks drying in the sun

Bright Futures Fundraiser – join in!

Sarah’s blog 30/6/22

Every child, no matter where they are in the world, deserves an education. Let’s build a school! We need you on our team.

Here is the link with the information you need to join in our challenge! https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 It is a huge challenge for our team to travel the 13,144 km that is one of the routes the container travels. It also includes the journey from here (Balfron, Scotland) to Dundee to the Bananabox Trust warehouse and in Malawi the distance from Ekwendeni which is the final destination of the container back to Chitipa that Levison will make. We have used Chitipa as the nearest destination on all maps to The Foundation.

https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

So we are looking for families to join in as well as serious athletes and gentle walkers. Oh and bored teenagers who would like to keep their fitness up over the school holidays – we’d love to hear from you too! Maybe you could have an element of competition with your friends? Do you need to learn something new for your Duke of Edinburgh Award? Or do some volunteering? This challenge could be used for either of those.

The more people who help us, the quicker we can do this challenge. The more people that take part and are sponsored, the more money we raise. The more people who share our posts then the wider the audience so we aren’t always asking the same people. We would absolutely love people right across the world to take part in our challenge. This is a challenge to raise funds to build a secondary school for some of the most vulnerable children in Northern Malawi. It would be fantastic to have people from our global community taking part and raising funds to build a school and give the gift of education.

The challenge starts tomorrow, 1st July, and you can do as many or as few kms as you want. Please ask your friends to join in and please ask people to sponsor you. Together we can keep Changing Lives Malawi. Together we can build a school. Land clearing has already started and bricks are being made. Thanks so much for your continued support and let me know if you have any questions, thank you, Sarah x

https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

https://gofund.me/44a92444

some of the first bricks being made for Bright Futures Secondary School

Ground Nut Harvesting

the ground nut crop is being harvested

Sarah’s blog 29/06/22

It’s time to harvest the ground nuts. It’s not a huge crop but enough to be used at the feeding programme once a week for 3 months. Ground nuts are what we call peanuts. They grind them into a paste which is then used for cooking with. These nuts are a great source of protein and good fats for the children.

Levison is quite concerned about possible food shortages as some of the maize crop had been washed away in the heavy rains a few months ago and prices of buying more maize, cooking oil and prices in general keep rising. The Malawian kwatcha (currency) has been devalued too. It’s a huge responsibility to try to source and buy enough food for hundreds of malnourished children. There are also people coming to the Foundation each day, in desperate need, asking for help. Unfortunately, resources are finite. When there are no other agencies that far north feeding children, the responsibility weighs heavy on Levison’s shoulders.

We are always looking for ways that people can join us to support a specific project, like the feeding programme, or to sponsor a child, or raise funds in general. If you can help us continue to support Levison and his team then please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

ground nut harvesting

Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 26/6/22

Exciting times! Levison and his trustees have named the new school Bright Futures Secondary School! An excellent name as this new school will make hundreds, if not thousands, of children’s lives brighter and give them hope for the future.

Levison says that having a name for the school before even the first brick has been laid is important and the way things are done ahead of meetings with officials.

I’m very excited by this project but also slightly anxious as it’s my job, and our charity’s job, to raise the funds for this project as The Foundation has no funds of it’s own for such projects. Obviously, in time they will be self-sufficient and building a school is certainly providing employment opportunities for clearing ground and making bricks… and that’s just to start with.

Clearing the ground

Thank you to everyone who has given generously already but if you can donate a few ££££ please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details or my fundraiser is still open https://GoFund.me/ca9c1629 thanks so much for helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi and providing Brighter Futures through Brighter Futures Secondary School, Sarah x

Clearing the ground
Breaking up the ground to make bricks
Bricks being made and left to dry
Bricks are being made at two sites..at the Foundation and at a site about 1km away
Adding lots of water to the soil

On Father’s Day….

Sarah’s blog 19/6/22

https://changinglivesmalawi.com/2022/06/17/a-family-in-need-of-help/

It’s Father’s Day in the U.K. today. A day for celebration for some, a day for reflection for others and a bittersweet day for others as they remember the fathers who are no longer here.

I’m not going to do a long post today as I’ve been writing quite a lot recently but I just wanted to ask you to spare a thought for the orphans and fatherless children in Malawi who need our help and support.

If anyone of you could help a child, we would be so grateful. £25 a month will give a monthly food parcel, a blanket, clothes, welfare checks and education. That’s only 85p per day. If you cannot afford £25, could you and a friend sponsor a child between you? £12.50 a month each for two people to sponsor a child will change their life. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

I’ll share Mercy’s appeal again in the hope generous sponsors come forward for her and her brother. Thank you, Sarah x

Mercy has had to drop out of school due to lack of funds. She needs someone to sponsor her so she can complete her last two years of school.

Mercy’s mum is on her own with two children. Her son is disabled. Please could someone sponsor him to make their lives just a little bit easier?

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