Have a look at what the children have been doing today!
Sarah’s blog 11/06/23
It’s been another busy day at the Foundation. The Feeding Programme was on today so hundreds of hungry vulnerable children flock to the Foundation to receive their one nutritious, substantial meal of the week. Some children walk up to 20km to receive this food as no big charities are feeding children in primary schools in this area. All are hungry. All are malnourished. All need our help.
Children know that the Foundation is their safe place. A place to have fun and be with their friends. In addition to being fed, children have access to the library and can choose books to read. Some children have been learning about the computers too. Others have been weeding the flowerbeds and some have been playing with building blocks.
Team sports are always high on the agenda. Football and netball matches were played too. Children of all ages can forget about their problems for a while at The Foundation and enjoy themselves as they should. The netball posts were a gift from Community Sports Leaders Africa and we are very thankful for this generous donation. We have plenty of rugby balls on the way in the container but we the children always need footballs and netballs. So if you’d like to make a donation for us to buy a ball on your behalf or to help donate towards the cost of feeding 500 children please email me: email@example.com
I hope you enjoy the photos and video from today. Thank you for your continued support, Sarah x
Levison was able to visit Kalanga primary school today with clothes and books
Sarah’s blog 07/03/23
Chambo Primary School is the one nearest to The Foundation and the majority of the younger children who are supported by The Foundation go to school there.
Kalanga Primary School is a bit further away but some children who go there also come to The Foundation. Levison had arranged with the headteacher to visit today with clothes for the children who are all very vulnerable. There were enough clothes to ensure everyone received something.
These uniforms were very kindly donated by a parent whose children went to Sinclair House School, Fulham. This school unfortunately closed during the pandemic. However, we are so grateful that these beautiful clothes have been able to be used by children in need and who will make good use of them.
There were so many boxes of uniforms donated that some have already been given out to children who attend Chambo Primary and also some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. The children from yesterday’s blog were given new clothes from this school too.
Levison also took four boxes of books for Kalanga Primary School as part of our School Literacy Project to help the children have access to more books and become more confident readers. The teachers were extremely grateful for all these donations and the children were delighted to have new clothes. Hope you enjoy looking at all the photos, Sarah x
On World Book Day…find out the difference books are making to the orphans and vulnerable children we support in rural Northern Malawi.
Sarah’s blog 2/3/23
On World Book Day, I want to share some photos with you. These photos aren’t the usual fun photos that will be shared all over social media today.
Children at many schools will be dressing up as their favourite characters from fiction books to celebrate World Book Day. This is great fun and celebrates the importance of reading, love of books, favourite authors and most loved stories.
The children we help to support in Malawi are aged between 4 and 20 and all deserve to have an education and access to books. Our Literacy Project is addressing literacy for those in the nursery to the students in Bright Futures Secondary School. Previously, books were few and far between. How can a child be a confident reader if they don’t have access to books?
We are gifting boxes of books to rural primary schools where reading material is at a minimum and children are sitting on the floor in classrooms. A library has been built (The Emma Buchanan Rainbow Library) which now has a full wall of books of all subjects for children to read in the library and also to borrow. There are some computers in the library too (no internet yet) where students are learning to to type and learning about using computers.
All 75 pre-school children have been given a book each to keep. There are also picture books been donated to the nursery. All of these vulnerable children, have missed out on years of pre-reading. They weren’t able to sit on an adult’s knee as a baby and have books read to them daily. They weren’t given the opportunity to turn pages and look at pictures and then pretend to read the story by following the words with their fingers. I wonder, how many hours of ‘reading’ have our children had before they even get to school? These children have missed out on all of that.
So let’s celebrate, on World Book Day, that these children now have access to books every day. Let’s celebrate that the students in the new Bright Futures Secondary School have text books, bibles and dictionaries, as well as access to the library. Because of the School Literacy Project, will we see literacy levels increase amongst these vulnerable children in the next few years? Education is their way out of poverty. Education is the key to a better and brighter future for them. Education means chances and choices. Let’s celebrate that things are changing for these children and books are a big part of this change.
Here is the link to the fundraiser for the next classrooms at Bright Futures Secondary School https://gofund.me/ece5753a We would be so grateful for any donations to ensure that we can continue to build phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School and ensure that the education of the most vulnerable young people can continue.
There are 75 vulnerable pre-school children, ages 4-6, in the nursery at The Foundation. All are malnourished, some have stunted growth. We are doing what we can in order to help them have a better start in life.
Today, because of the rains, only about half of them were there to receive the gifts we had sent. The others will get their gifts another day. Proper records are kept to ensure none of them miss out.
Today is an exciting day for them…it’s the first time they have received a book of their own to keep and take home. This is part of The Literacy Project. I am an Early Years Educator and so am passionate about these children having the opportunities that our children have. When we have access to books pre-reading starts when babies are on an adult’s knee, having a story read to them. They look at the pictures and can anticipate certain points in the story because of the way the adult reads and shares this special time with them. Toddlers will bring their favourite storybook to an adult in order that they can share the story together. They can point to things in the pictures, they know that you turn the pages and they ‘pretend’ to read by tracing the words with their fingers. They know that these letter shapes are where the story comes from.
The children at The Foundation nursery have missed out on all of these experiences. We want story books to become an every day part of their lives. We want every home to have at least two books to support literacy. I had a video call with the headteacher of Bright Futures Secondary School yesterday and she was delighted that books were being given to the children in the nursery. She said they are trying to ‘play catchup’ with the students at Bright Futures Secondary School as they have missed out on having access to reading materials from a young age. Many of the students missed a lot of school to work for a pittance to buy food….it’s been so hard for them. We look forward to seeing how having books at home makes a difference to these children and their families.
Today, each child received a drawstring bag containing, a blanket, 2 red t-shirts, pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap and a picture book. As I said in a recent post, in future, we want to be able to include a knitted teddy in each bag for children starting nursery. If you are able to help support this nursery project in any way then please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
Thank you so much for reading and supporting us to continue helping the hundreds of vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi, Sarah x
It’s so exciting that phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School has been completed. Levison says that people are walking from all around coming to see the new school that has been built. They are amazed that in a short period of time the first classrooms have been built. It really has been a team effort and we are so very grateful to those of you who have been supporting us to help the children.
Teachers are arriving at the weekend. The school will be accepting the first students on Monday (7 Nov). Levison and I have been making lists of children who will be attending the school and lots of other lists. I have got a shopping list longer than my arm in order to prepare for the children arriving!
Please help me? We need more textbooks (£10), notepads (£10 per 10) buckets with taps for handwashing (£10) buckets with taps for drinking water (£10) as well as lots of other smaller things. Plus, we still need to find money for desks. The carpenter will make these basic tables for three students. We will get there! But need your help which is, as always, very much appreciated. https://gofund.me/44a92444
These are some of the most vulnerable children in the far north of Malawi. They are being given an incredible opportunity to have a good secondary education in their village, free of charge, with small class sizes. Secondary education is fee paying in Malawi and there are not enough places in the other secondary schools which is why we have been fundraising to build a secondary school – Bright Futures Secondary School. Because of your help and support, these children will have opportunities, they will have brighter futures. Education is their way out of poverty. They are desperate to go to school.
If you are able to donate to buy a textbook, some notepads, a bucket for handwashing or for clean drinking water at the school then here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444
Also, we are selling our fundraising calendars are £10 each + £2 p&p. If we can sell lots of calendars, then I can send money to purchase some of the things from my shopping list. Can you help please? The calendars make great Christmas gifts, and I can post them to you or the recipient. firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s give the gift of education and continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thank you, Sarah x
Levison Mlambya is a humble man. He is an incredibly hard worker and he has a vision to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in his community. His friendship with William Stewart helped to make this vision a reality and Levison has been hard at work for long hours every day serving his community.
Since William died in January, 2021, Levison has had a difficult time, but he has kept plodding, day by day, ensuring he does everything he can for those in need who come to The Foundation every day.
There has been a lot happening for Levison this week and we, at Changing Lives Malawi, are delighted that he has had these opportunities. We are also very proud of him. He is making some great connections with people and what he and his team do at The Foundation, through the various projects, is getting recognised.
On Sunday, Levison and the children had a visit from author, Ndongolera Mwangupili who wrote ‘Sons of The Hills’ and who kindly donated a copy of his book to Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation. Ndongolera was impressed with the library and spent time chatting with some of the children. Visits like this are so important so the children can see that they can aspire to be writers if they wanted to.
Levison was en route to Mzuzu and stopped off at Karonga on Wednesday. He was delighted to meet and have a meal with Mercy Sibande, Manager of The Maime Martin Fund in Malawi, and Alan Laverock, Treasurer and Trustee of The Maime Martin Fund and also Chair Person of The Bananabox Trust in Dundee. They had a good chat before Levison set off again to The Grand Palace Hotel, Mzuzu.
He was honoured to have been invited to ‘The Regional Consultation of The National Book and Reading Policy in Malawi’. Even more of an honour, Levison was asked to be a speaker about the literacy initiatives that are being implemented at The Foundation. We are so proud of you Levison for making a difference to so many children.
Of course, none of this could happen without our supporters. So if you have donated books, paid for the transportation of a box, driven boxes to Dundee, sponsored a vulnerable child so they can go to secondary school, or donated to the new school project….or anything else…THANK YOU! We value your help and support and we are glad you are on our team as we all do our own little bit to help some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.
However, there is so much more to do and we need even more support. Here are ways you can get involved and help us:
If you live fairly local to me…can you donate children’s books? They must be in good condition and a few £££ to help towards transportation would be really helpful. Seventeen boxes of books were already gifted to Chambo Primary School and lots more schools have said they would like books too.
Could you sponsor a box of books please? It’s £15 per box on the container.
Pencils/pens/rubbers/sharpeners/pencil cases/maths sets/scientific calculators/English pocket dictionaries are always needed.
Soap, toothbrushes & toothpaste are always needed and very welcome.
There are lots of vulnerable children still waiting to be matched with sponsors. It’s only £25 p/m to be a sponsor, or you can split that cost with a friend or extended family. Also a club or a business could sponsor a child.
Can you organise a fundraiser for us? A coffee morning? A sponsored event?
Sharing our posts online is a great way of helping more people find out about the projects that are happening in rural northern Malawi.
Can we come and speak at your event and show photos & videos from Malawi?
If children don’t have access to books…how can they learn to read? It’s a miracle that the orphans and other vulnerable children supported by The Foundation can read at all. They are all amazing and are desperate to learn.
In developed countries, books are available for babies at just a few months old. Care givers are encouraged to sit babies on their knees and look at books with them. Children learn from a very early age that a book means a story. Preschool children learn books contains bright pictures. They learn that books have pages that are turned one after the other. They then pretend to follow the words with their fingers, so even then they know that the words tell a story and give information.
Then there is all the environmental print that we have. Most children before they can read will be able to recognise the golden arches of a burger chain or the label from their favourite yogurt or snack or the sign at the local supermarket.
What if all of this was missing from children’s lives? So by the time they arrived at school they had not had all these experiences and practice. The children in Malawi don’t have the luxury either of scribbling and mark making on paper with different pens and pencils. So how are they expected to learn to hold a pencil and write properly too. They have been at such a disadvantage.
Whilst we can’t provide for everyone and give each child an endless stock of paper and pens….we are making a difference….we are changing lives. You are helping us in a variety of ways and we couldn’t do what we do without you.
Seventeen boxes of children’s books have already been gifted to Chambo Primary School for the children to have access to a whole new world through reading stories. There are a variety of books going from preschool with lots of bright pictures and not many words to Harry Potter, encyclopedias, dictionaries and maps. Every person who has donated a book to us has given a child the gift of literacy.
There are more books on their way for another school and we will keep going until all children in that area have been given the gift of literacy. As soon as Levison had delivered the 17 boxes of books to Chambo primary school, and I had put a post on social media about it, his phone started ringing from teachers at other schools asking for books too. Everyone is desperate to help the children have a better education.
You have helped us supply books to Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation. Book shelves were made along the length of a wall, using a donation we had been given. Now they have a good selection of books for all ages, including study books. More are on the way.
The nursery, for 75 of the most vulnerable 4 – 6 year olds, has a basket of story books for younger children and there are more on the way. We are now making up care packages for children starting nursery, so we know that each child has received; a gym bag, 2 red t-shirts (nursery uniform), 2 pairs of pants, a blanket, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste and a story book with lots of bright pictures. Eventually, almost every home will have one or two books. Hopefully, the adults can look at the books with the nursery children.
Eventually, we want to be able to fund a member of staff to support adult literacy classes.
Today, my husband, Stuart, collected 5 bags for life and one big box from a local nursery. Arnprior Nursery had received a grant for new books and they no longer needed all these ones. What a brilliant way of recycling these preloved books. Instead of them being thrown out or sold for a few pence, the gift of literacy is being given to vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. Thank you to the staff at Arnprior Nursery for this amazing donation that will help so many children.
We are hoping to see literacy levels increase as time goes on. Already one little girl, Melise, who is 5 has been allowed to go to school a year early as she has been described as being very bright. Her brother, Mwiza, is disabled and has been given lots of picture books and toys to help stimulate him. Is she going to school a year early because she has been able to look at her brother’s books? I’m really keen to see how literacy levels start to rise.
Together we are Changing Lives Malawi and we need you all to keep helping us. This is a relatively cheap way to change the children’s lives. The books have been donated. It’s £15 to send each box on the container. If anyone would like to sponsor this literacy project or pay for a box then please get in touch email@example.com Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x
Now that we have the added bonus of being able to play videos on our website, I thought it would be nice to see this little video again that was previously shown on facebook. Tables and chairs were sent on the last container and this is the children from the nursery in Emma’s Rainbow Library.
These children (ages 4-6) are sitting at tables for the first time and have been given books to look at. Compared to our children they have missed out on lots of stages of pre literacy; sitting on an adult’s knee as a baby whilst an adult reads a story, learning whilst a toddler to turn the pages of a book to continue the story, looking at all the pictures and talking about that with the adult or pointing to items in the pictures. Then children usually will follow the text with their index finger, even though they aren’t at the right word they know by that stage that words go left to right and that the words make up the story.
Hopefully, now there are books in the library the children will have lots of opportunities to look at books and have stories read to them. There are nursery bags on the container that is about to leave Dundee next week that will be given to each child who starts at The Foundation Nursery. These bags contain; a blanket, two red t-shirts, 2 pairs of pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap and a picture book. Each child will then have a book at their home and books and reading will become more of an everyday part of life. Enjoy the video, Sarah x
Today Levison had arranged with the headteacher of Chambo Primary School to pay a visit. Levison was delivering 17 boxes of books that we had sent as part of the School Literacy Project. This is a project that has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of children living in extreme poverty.
Chambo Primary is the primary school nearest The William Stewart Foundation, Ibuluma Village in the Chitipa District of Northern Malawi. There are 8 classes in this school with 70-80 children in each class. Approximately half of them are children supported by The William Stewart Foundation, so today was very much about those children as well as their peers.
Imagine, as a teacher, not having the resources you need for your class (I know most teachers here dip into their own pocket to buy extra resources for our children, but this goes way beyond that). Imagine not having books at school. Imagine having no internet and computers. I can just about remember that but our children will never have been in a school without technology. Imagine not having desks and chairs and having to sit on the floor all day. Only one classroom at Chambo Primary School has desks and benches.
Literacy starts a long time before children go to school. Even babies look at picture books with their parents and grandparents. Toddlers know that the story continues by turning the pages in a book and that the pictures tell the story as well as the words and they follow the words with their fingers even though they aren’t reading. Children can recognise environmental print (think of them spotting their favourite fast food restaurant as you are driving past) but the children in Ibuluma have missed out on that also. So if there are no books in these children’s homes they have missed out on years of literacy and enjoying books before they even get to school.
When our children go to school they practice reading and writing every single day, even if it’s only a small amount of time. Paper is plentiful as is the choice of books. Most children will have books to take home to practise their reading. Not the children from Chambo Primary School, Ibuluma. Until today. Now 17 boxes of books have been delivered, along with strong ziplock plastic bags to protect the books. Children can now borrow these books to take home. Hopefully, they can read their books with their siblings. We want books to become an every day item….a very special and enjoyable item….but to be used every day. These children deserve our support and we want to thank every single person who has helped with the first delivery of this project. We are going to liaise with the headteacher and see how this project is getting on and if there is more we can do to support them. We want children to achieve as education is so important for them to be able to have brighter futures.
We estimate this project was about £350 – £400 to deliver. It didn’t cost us that much as we had many people donating the bags as well as the hundreds of beautiful books. Also some people were able to donate the £15 required to transport a box of books on the container. We think this project is £400 very well spent and we thank everyone who contributed. What we do is always about teamwork and if you’ve been part of this team then be proud as you are #changinglivesmalawi Get in touch if you’d like to help us. Enjoy the photos and thank you for reading and celebrating this success with us. Sarah x