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.

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

Merchiston Castle School – Rugby Donation

Sarah’s blog 18/06/22

Last week, Stuart had been to Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh to collect donations of rugby balls and kit from Annan Rugby Club which Bruce Aitchison had collected for us. Bruce is House Master for Rogerson House at Merchiston Castle School and also founder of the social media site all about rugby

https://www.happinessiseggshaped.org

https://facebook.com@happinessiseggshaped.org

Bruce and some of his rugby friends have been very supportive of our charity and how we are trying to support some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. So Stuart visited the school again yesterday and met up with Bruce to collect the balls and kit from Merchiston Castle School.

Rugby has only very recently been introduced to the Chitipa District in the far north of Malawi when Jack Mphande, Malawi International Rugby Player and Rugby Development Officer, ran two rugby coaching camps. He is going to visit again to start coaching in schools in that area. Jack was very impressed with how the young people he was working with picked up the sport so quickly and his enthusiasm for the game was picked up by the children. The rugby donations we have been given are going to make a big difference to these young people. They will also know that people they have never met care about them.

All of these children are either orphans or living in dire poverty. All are very vulnerable. Until quite recently they had no hope. For them to have a visit from a top coach like Jack Mphande was so special for them. Someone important visiting them, working with them, teaching new skills, spending time with them, chatting with them, encouraging them and calling them by name. That experience is priceless. These children are more confident and their self-esteem has improved and they enjoy playing team sports with their friends whilst they forget about the problems and difficulties in their lives. An holistic approach is being taken, it’s so much more than just feeding hungry, malnourished children.

My blog from earlier this week International Day of the African Child – some of the projects which are helping the most vulnerable children – Changing Lives Malawi highlights some of the ways the children’s lives are changing for the better and shares some great photos and videos. Each of these projects requires funding to enable us to keep helping this community towards their goal of self-sufficiency. If you would like to donate to help the children please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .

Children also benefit from being matched with a sponsor to help provide more food, a blanket, clothes, welfare checks and pay for secondary education. If you would like to sponsor a vulnerable child it’s only £25 per month and you can sponsor as an individual or share the cost with a friend or family. A business or club could sponsor a child too. Ninety of the most vulnerable children have been matched with sponsors but there are many more waiting for a helping hand. Can you sponsor a child today? Or donate to one of the projects? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com .

Thank you so much to Bruce and all at Rogerson House, Merchiston Castle School for your generosity. Here are some photos and videos of some of the children you will be supporting. These were taken on their first day so they did brilliantly! If you want to keep up to date with our latest news you can follow us on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/changinglivesmalawi/ We are also on twitter and instagram and you can sign up to follow my blogs so you don’t miss anything! Thanks so much again, Sarah x

Please will you sponsor me?

Sarah’s blog 8/6/22

After the wonderful response to the appeal for a sponsor for Brighton and also finding sponsors for Temwa and Ketti, I thought I would highlight some other children who are most in need of sponsorship. These are very vulnerable children who need a helping hand to change their lives. They need someone to take a chance on them, to give them opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. They will know that someone cares about them…someone cares about their future.

There are 11 children who I am highlighting on this post. They are all in need of a helping hand. They are all living in dire poverty. Thankfully, they have been given clothes from the generous donations we have collected. Please consider sponsoring one of these children to change their lives. You can sponsor as an individual, as a family, two friends can share the cost of only 85p per day, or a club or business could sponsor a child. Can you make a difference today? Will you commit to one of these vulnerable children today? Please? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thank you for reading, Sarah x

We were glad to be able to send money to Levison to pay for Judith to go to the health centre and get medicine for her eye infection. Levison was able to give her clothes and shoes from the generous donations we sent.
Fortune is looking like he’s going to be a promising rugby player…are there any rugby fans who could sponsor him please?
Flary is a real cutie and enjoys attending the nursery. She would benefit from having a sponsor.
Chimango enjoyed the rugby coaching camp. He would love a sponsor to help him continue having new opportunities.
Hopeson also enjoyed the rugby training. You can see from his legs and arms that he’d benefit from having a monthly food parcel once he’s matched with a sponsor.
Elizabeth was one of the girls on the rugby training camp. Are there any rugby fans who could sponsor her please?
Patricia is very pleased with her new clothes and shoes. She would be very pleased to be matched with a sponsor too.
Josephine would benefit from having a sponsor. She is the girl in the photo drinking water from the new water tap.
What a lovely smile Junior has. He would love you to sponsor him.
Ramsay looks like he’s loving his new clothes and shoes! Can you sponsor Ramsey?
Chawanangwa borrowed his sister’s clothes so he had something to wear to go to The Foundation. He was given clothes and shoes. His growth has been affected by malnutrition. Chawanangwa would really benefit from having a sponsor. Can you help him? He’s wearing uniform form Riverside Primary in Stirling.

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 30

Sarah’s blog 30/5/22

It’s been a busy day today. I started out by doing a blog about rugby and the great donations we’ve got from Annan Rugby and Merchiston Castle School. I also had a conversation with Jack Mphande, Malawian rugby coach, as he was impressed with these donations. He is planning another trip north to continue the rugby coaching that he’s already started.

Rice and mushrooms for breakfast….it was nice but I am getting rather fed up with my limited diet.

Stuart, my husband (the logistics manager aka box packer and mover) and myself spent a couple of hours at our storage container packing up boxes of donations. These will be taken to The Bananabox Trust warehouse in Dundee next week to await the next container to Malawi. We have only recently been lucky to have this storage facility, paid for by a generous monthly donation. Previously, all of these were kept in our house which was looking more like a warehouse every day! So we are very grateful to have this extra storage facility.

I had a glass of water when I got home then managed 20km on my exercise bike. It took over half an hour but it wasn’t too bad as I’m reading a good book on my tablet at the same time. My knees are sore now though.

More rice and vegetables and a tub of cherry tomatoes filled me up and I’m going to have roasted vegetables for dinner. I am so pleased to have made it to this stage of my challenge. Only one more day to go. I need your help to support me to get to the end of my challenge and to give the gift of education to the children whom The Foundation supports. All children deserve an education. All children deserve to go to school no matter where they are in the world or whatever their circumstances. Please help me to give these children the gift of education. Let’s build a school! https://gofundme/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading and supporting me, Sarah x

Lots of boxes packed today with clothes, shoes, school uniform and books. It costs £15 to send each box on Bananabox Container to Malawi so we are very grateful when people give donations to go towards the cost of sending the items they’ve given us.
The first lot of boxes just need labelling then will be ready to head to Dundee next week
CLM storage container where donations now go and boxes get packed

Rugby Friends – Thank you for the amazing donations!

Sarah’s blog 30/5/22

A few months ago, the young people in Northern Malawi had never heard of rugby let alone played it. A charity and friend of ours, Community Sports Leaders Africa arranged for Jack Mphande, Malawian International Rugby Coach, to travel north to introduce rubgy in the Chitipa District.

Jack spent a few days with sports leaders teaching them about touch rugby. Levison picked Jack up and took him to The Foundation where Jack spent a couple of days with some of the young people. Jack introduced them to touch rugby, teaching some coaching skills and playing a few games. The time Jack spent at The Foundation, including food for all the children involved, was paid for by generous donations from three of our supporters. Again we thank them for facilitating this.

I don’t think we can comprehend what a visit like Jack’s has meant to the orphans and other vulnerable children. And also to Levison and his team. The hundreds of children supported by The Foundation had no hope. They had no help. Malnourished, and in rags, and having experienced the trauma of family members dying, life was unbearable.

Fast forward a few short years and they have new clothes, are being supported through various projects including The Feeding Programme. They are being nurtured. They know The Foundation is their safe place; a time to be with friends, a time to learn and a time to relax and forget about their troubles. For an important person like Jack Mphande, a Malawian rugby coach, to visit them was amazing. For him to take an interest in them. For him to learn their names. For him to spend time with them. For him to teach them new skills. For him to laugh with them and praise them. For the orphans and other vulnerable children that must mean so much. Self-confidence and self-esteem are growing all the time.

These children now have hope of a better future. They know that people care about them. They know they are important. There is still so much to do but so much has been accomplished already. I keep saying that we cannot do this alone, it’s always about teamwork. So to everyone who has already helped us and supported us to help the vulnerable children – thank you. If you are reading this and think you’d like to get involved, you will be very welcome contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Strathendrick RFC, our local club, have already made some donations of kit and rugby balls which came in very handy for Jack’s visit. Now we have generous donations from Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh and Annan Rugby to collect from Edinburgh soon. We are so grateful to the network of people who have enabled these donations. They will make such a difference to ensuring that rugby in the Chitipa District of Malawi, in the far north, continues to grow and thrive. Many, many thanks to you all. These donations will be packed up to go on the next container which takes about three months to arrive. There will be photos of the donations once they arrive but, in the meantime, here are just a few of the photos and videos from the first Rugby Camp for you to enjoy.

If you’d like to get in touch to donate money to our school fundraiser, or to support the feeding programme, or sponsor a child or anything else then please contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Fun, Clubs & Skills

Sarah’s blog 08/05/22

An holistic approach is taken to improving the lives of the hundreds of children supported by The Foundation. Levison has sent lots of photos from a busy Sunday.

Today was a feeding day and some of the children from the gardening club who had helped grow cabbages, were shown how to prepare and cook them as part of today’s meal. Children have started learning to weave baskets, others were weaving mats to sit on. Some children were playing rugby, some knitting and some sewing. These are all great skills to have for their futures. Children are having opportunities to learn new things that they wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to try. These children are having fun with their friends whilst learning and are able to forget about their problems for a while.

I hope you enjoy looking at the photos. There is a lot happening at The Foundation. We don’t always see how much is happening or how busy it is. However, with so many children to support, every day at The Foundation is a busy one! I hope you enjoy the photos. Remember the link to my fundraiser to build a school for these children is https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

children learning basket weaving

A few people to thank

Sarah’s blog 29/04/22

We are always very grateful for the kind and generous people who support us. Whether it’s donating pencils, or shoes, driving boxes to Dundee, sharing posts, helping with fundraisers or sponsoring children….we thank you as we couldn’t help the hundreds of vulnerable children in Northern Malawi without you.

I want to thank four lots of people today who have helped us recently;

  1. Aquamarine.media in Devon have been helping us with our website and using their expertise to help us reach more people. We are very grateful for their input. Thank you Alona and Geoff.
  2. Strathendrick FC 2003/2 sections had been running in Balfron for 12 years. Now that the players have all left school and are no longer playing, the leftover funds have been shared with some local charities and UNICEF. We were delighted to be one of these charities and the money donated will help us a great deal. Thank you very much.
  3. Another Strathendrick but this time Strathendrick RFC have supported us again with more rugby kit to send to the children who have just started playing. This time they have donated a big bag of rugby balls, a box of cones and some water bottles. Once again, your support is very much appreciated. Thank you.
  4. Dumbarton FC Walking Football Club have donated a big bag of training kit and waterproofs which will be very valuable to the children in Malawi. Thank you so much for donating this. It’s very kind of you.

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

Rugby day 1 – “It amazed me because it was like they have been playing the game for sometime” – Jack Mphande

Sarah’s blog 24/03/22

First of all I’d like to thank Jack for spending time at The Foundation. Also Andy from Community Sports Leaders Africa for organising and paying for Jack to travel north to Chitipa. Thank you to Strathendrick Rugby Club for donating rugby balls and to the people who donated money to make this possible…thank you so much.

Jack Mphande who is a Malawian rugby player and coach is at The Foundation to introduce and teach some of the young people to play rugby.

Jack and Levison have been sending me photos and I’m going to share some of the things Jack has said about the children.

“There were a good number of players….very intelligent”

“We managed to introduce the game and make some basic drills and played some games”

“It amazed me because it was like they have been playing the game for some time”

“Good handling and passing”

“They really enjoyed it and everyone is looking forward to the afternoon session”

During the morning session they were able to play on a local football pitch but that was being used in the afternoon so they were at The Foundation grounds after lunch. Eventually the clouds became darker and darker and then the rain started so everyone headed inside for a talk about rugby skills.

There are some great action shots in the photos, especially of a girl called Mphatso. Just look at the joy and concentration on her face. She’s having such a good time and it’s wonderful that the children, who until a few years ago have been used to being excluded and forgotten, are now having amazing opportunities to learn new skills. I’m so pleased it’s been a successful day and that it’s been such an enjoyable time for the children. Enjoy these photos …I’m sure they won’t be the last! Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Rugby Coaching with Jack Mphande, Malawian Rugby International

Sarah’s blog 23/3/22

There are a few small charities, supporting the most vulnerable in Northern Malawi, who work together when we can and also learn from each other as some are more experienced in certain areas than others.

We helped Andrew Bottomer, of Community Sports Leaders Africa, to get boxes of sports equipment to the people he works with in Malawi, not far from The Foundation. Andrew lives in the north of England so we met him in Edinburgh and took his boxes with ours to The Bananabox Trust in Dundee to await the container. Then Levison collected and delivered Andrew’s boxes to where they needed to be. Amongst those boxes were lots of rugby balls.

Community Sports Leaders Africa has paid Jack Mphande’s expenses to Chitipa for him to be able to teach rugby there for the first time. He’s been busy teaching adult coaches who have loved learning about and playing rugby and Jack’s enthusiasm for the game has been infectious. Jack plays rugby at international level so we are delighted that he is going to spend time with 25 young people teaching them basic rugby training which they can then teach their peers and younger children.

You’ll notice from the ages of the young people that they are all older than you’d expect for the class that they are in. All of these vulnerable young people have missed school, some more than others, to try to work for a pittance to make enough money to buy some food. One boy, who is thankfully now sponsored and doing well, worked for a farmer with his cattle for the equivalent of £1.50 per month…which hardly buys anything. Thankfully, more children are attending school now that they are fed by the weekly feeding programme. Unfortunately, young people in their last year at primary school are busy studying…hopefully they will be able to attend a future course.

The young people who have been picked to attend this first rugby coaching course are; Brian Sichamba, 16 (S1), Chancy Chisale, (S1), Moses Ng’ambi, (S1), Titus Ng’ambi, 14 (S1), Makayiko Simkonda, 13 (p5), Chimango Nyondo, 13 (p6), Chigomezyo Nyondo, 12 (p5), Hopeson Nyondo, 14 (p7), Fumbani Sichamba, 15 (S1), Elisha Sichamba, 15 (S1), Walusungu Nyondo, 12 (p5), Lameck Kanyika, 16 ( ), Manase Nyirenda, ( ), Chancy Kaonga, ( ), Chickumbutso Mtambo, 14 (p6), Pemphero Mbyghi, 13 (p7), Victoria Kayange, 16 (S1), Maria Chizumila, 16 (S1), Elizabeth Nyondo, 13 (p6), Tyness Sichamba, 15 (p6), Mitren Nyondo, 12 (p6), Tryness Sichamba, 16 (S1), Esther Nyondo, 16 (F1), Tamandan Nyondo, 15 ( ), Granda Nyondo, 13 (p7). (Lameck, Manase & Chancy K are the team making the eco stoves so not at school). We are very glad that 14 out of the 25 young people have been matched with sponsors…. if anyone would like to sponsor one of the other 11 taking part in the rugby, or any of the other children you’ve seen on our posts, then please do get in touch. It’s only £25 p/m to change a child’s life.

We are looking forward to bringing you lots of photos and we want to thank Jack for his time and sharing his talents with the children at The Foundation. To meet someone famous will be a new experience for them… someone they might be able to watch on tv. Opportunities like this to learn new sports and have organised events during the school holidays is still very new and exciting for them. They are orphans and very vulnerable children… why should people do things for them? Thankfully they are starting to realise that each of them is important to us. Thankfully they are starting to realise that people do care about them and are trying to improve their lives little by little. With your help we continue to be able to support The Foundation by Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Jack Mphande
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