Have you ever seen a train set?

Sarah’s blog 8/2/22

Levison collected over 100 boxes from the container last week and it takes a while to sort through and distribute the gifts. So it will happen gradually as time allows and we will bring you photos when we can.

The Foundation has a nursery for 50 children that is paid for by a donation. The children receive food at each session and the nursery is on three days per week. Not all the children were there today as it had been raining heavily in the morning. The 31 who were there received gifts and their friends will receive theirs next time they come. They were given casual clothes to wear outside nursery; the boys all had a new t-shirt and the girls a new dress. A few of the children received trousers if the clothes they were wearing weren’t in a good condition and all were gifted jumpers or cardigans. All the children received flipflops and there are still red t-shirts (nursery uniform) to give out another day. The hats and bags they received were a great hit with the children!

One little boy, Chimango, is 3 and is small for his age due to malnutrition. Levison said he is getting a bit better because of the food he is receiving at nursery. If he was matched with a sponsor then he would have a monthly food parcel going into his home too. This would further help him on the road to recovery. If you would like to be matched with Chimango to support him then please contact me at contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com it’s only £25 p/m to sponsor a child and change their life.

Enough about clothes for now… Have you ever seen a train set? These children hadn’t. They haven’t seen many toys…only the few that we have already sent. This train set (and some wooden roads) has been very well loved and played with many, many times. It’s previous owner wrote road numbers and speed limits on the track and road….not just scribbles….there was intention to the writing. So, after it’s very long journey, today was the day that the bits of track, roads, trains and cars ended up on the floor of Sophie’s Skills Shed (where the nursery meets) for the children to play with whilst they are at nursery.

Levison reported that the children were all very excited and all wanted to play. Thankfully, there were plenty of pieces of track, road, trains and cars so everyone who wanted to could join in. It must be very strange to suddenly be faced with all of the pieces and little vehicles with wheels when you’ve never seen anything like that before. It didn’t take them long, with a little bit of encouragement from the adults, to join the pieces together and put the vehicles on the track and move them along. You can see, from the great photos that Levison has sent, the huge amount of learning that is taking place as they play. They are working things out for themselves and using their fine motor skills to connect the track and to move the vehicles along. They are working independently alongside each other but there are also times where they are collaborating. It will be interesting to see who is most interested in these resources and if they set it up differently next time. I’m also interested whether boys and girls use it equally as they don’t have any preconceived ideas about which gender has traditionally played with train sets. I am delighted to see these amazing photos and hope you enjoy them too.

All of these children have suffered trauma of some sort; whether it’s the loss of a parent, malnutrition and real hunger, being cold at night and being left to bring themselves up whilst the adults in the home do piece work to try to buy some food. There’s never enough food, sometimes there’s no food. The nursery is somewhere these malnourished children can come and forget about their problems for a while. They can concentrate on being children with their friends in a safe environment. They can learn through play. They are encouraged to use the showers in the new shower block and, as you’ve seen from today’s photos, they have been gifted new clothes and receive food. They all recently received a small blanket and raincoats. Soon toothbrushes and toothpaste will be distributed too. Life is improving for these orphans and vulnerable children. We want them to achieve and reach their potential.

Children have the right to have food. They have the right to have clean drinking water. They have the right to be cared for. They have the right to be warm. They have the right to education. We are addressing all of these things as we care about each of these children. Eventually, we want the village of Ibuluma to be self-sufficient, and the villagers want that too. However, until that time, they need our help and support. So we will continue to send clothes and will send more resources for use at the nursery so the children can experience some of the things our children do. Lack of money is always an issue with approximately 800 young people being supported through a variety of projects. So, if you are able, could you spare £5 per month (or £10 per month) towards providing more food please? The Foundation would love to be able to feed the children more often and, with no big agencies in that area, feeding all the local orphans and vulnerable children has become the responsibility of The Foundation.

If you are able to help these children eat more often then please do get in touch. Or if you’d like to sponsor a child we would love to hear from you. It might be the most important thing you ever do for one of these children. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com We need your help to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Sarah’s blog 7/11/21

There are so many rights in this document but I’m just highlighting a few today with regards to the hundreds of children and young people supported by The William Stewart Foundation in rural Northern Malawi.

‘Children have the right to clean water to drink, healthy food, clothes and a safe environment to live in.’

‘Every child who has been placed somewhere away from home should have their situation checked regularly to see if everything is going well and if this is still the best place for the child to be.’

‘Every child has the right to an education. Primary education should be free. Secondary and higher education should be available to every child. Children should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level possible.’

‘Every child has the right to rest, relax, play and take part in cultural and creative activities.’

These are just a few of the statements I have picked out of the document. Things are obviously very different in Malawi than they are here but you can see that we are supporting Levison and his team to help the children holistically.

How can they learn if they are hungry and can’t concentrate? How can they go to school without clothes to wear? How will their self-esteem be if they are in rags compared to their friends? What about if they don’t have soap to wash themselves and their clothes?

The children are benefitting from all the work being done to support them at The Foundation. There are now showers, clean water to drink, they are fed at the weekend, new clothes and shoes gifted, there are crops in the fields, books to read, foster families found for children completely on their own and skills for life taught to the children. There is also a nursery for 50 pre-school children which meets (and feeds them) three times a week. Apprentices are learning skills whilst they work and other children are going to school.

So much good is happening but there is still so much to do that we need your help with. We are all part of the team around these orphans and other vulnerable children. So please help us if you can. We need CHILD SPONSORS and FUNDRAISERS, and loads of volunteers in between! Whatever your skills or finances, we would welcome your help. We have lots of sustainable gifts for Christmas too that we are hoping people will buy. Please get in touch. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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