31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 13

Sarah’s blog 13/5/22

12.15pm Pot of soup made! 15km on exercise bike done! I’m doing ok but finding it quite hard to concentrate on other things apart from this challenge today. I’ve almost completed two weeks and I’m really pleased that I’ve had the willpower to do this challenge….I just need to keep going and need your help. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The thought that the hundreds of malnourished children supported by The Foundation don’t have the choices I have is keeping me going and focused on my challenge. They don’t have the luxury of choosing which vegetables they will be eating and how they will be cooking them. They might go a whole day without eating at all. Things are improving for them but there is still a long way to go.

Having a school in their village will make a huge difference. It will bring employment as well as education for all. It will mean that young people don’t need to board at school and can stay at home and help their families with chores. All children deserve an education. All children deserve enough to eat. All children deserve to have the opportunities to be the best they can be. Please support my challenge to build a school for them.

I thought I’d also show you a photo of some beautiful knitting for babies that we received recently. These little jackets will be so appreciated by new mothers for their babies. We are very grateful for all the donations and support we receive to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

beautiful knitting for babies in Malawi that we received recently

two lots of tasty soup I made this week – glad of a different way to eat vegetables

15km done today

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 9

Sarah’s blog 9/5/22

Day 9 already! It’s been a busy one as I’ve completed a grant application and an article for a magazine. I enjoyed my lunch today as it had some herb butter on it (just a little bit) but just that made it taste wonderfully different to what I have been eating. I’m grateful for little choices that I can make….the malnourished children in Malawi that we are supporting don’t have that choice…their choice is trying to find enough food and to survive. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

Thankfully, we support the Feeding Programme to feed 500 children a substantial, nutritious meal once a week as there are no big charities feeding children in schools that far north. Unfortunately, we do not have the funds to feed them more than once a week. We would love to be able to set up a Porridge Programme so that each child has some food in their tummy each day before lessons. However, that would cost a great deal of money. Eventually, once the situation improves for the villagers, they will be more self-sufficient and there will be more employment, more food and they will be able to feed themselves.

I went on my exercise bike…with my tablet next to me on top of the drawers next to my bike. I must have been so into the story I was reading that I looked up and I’d already gone past 10km….so I thought I’d keep going….guess what? I cycled 15km today. My legs are a bit like jelly but I did it!! If you’d like to support my efforts and my fundraising to build a much needed school then please donate at https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 8

Sarah’s blog 08/05/22

Its been a busy old day today. I’m really happy that I have completed my first week of the challenge. However, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been wanting to snack on food today. I’ve opened the fridge a few times and closed it again. However, at least I usually have a choice about what I can eat. I’ve not cheated so I’m pleased I haven’t given into temptation as we still have some Easter eggs here and ice cream in the freezer.

I was at a friend’s house this afternoon. She brought me a present while she had been out shopping. Rice cakes have never tasted so good lol. Not a great photo of me but hey ho….I enjoyed a few of my rice cakes! Thanks Alison. I’ve still got my cycle to do soon and then some vegetables to look forward to. If you would like to donate to my fundraiser to help build a much needed school then please click on the link https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading and supporting me, Sarah x

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 7

Sarah’s blog 7/5/22

5.30pm I’ve been a bit hungry today and bored by what I’m eating. I must admit I’ve opened the fridge a few times to look at what’s there, sighed, and closed the door again. But do you know what? The kids in Malawi don’t have a choice. They would be delighted to be eating what I’m eating. Even more so, they would be delighted that they were eating every single day.

So I can do this. I have done this! I’ve completed one whole week! 7 days of eating rice and veg to represent what the children have at the feeding programme (although I’m having rice not maize flour and I’m lucky enough to be eating every day). I’m cycling 10km every day on my exercise bike to represent the distance the younger children are walking to school and back each day. I’ve cycled 70km this week!! I’ve also lost 8lb in weight! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

Do you know what? I’m pleased with myself. Pleased with my determination. Yes, I am doing this challenge for myself but I am doing it for the children. They desperately need a new school as there aren’t enough school places. If you don’t get picked for a place in secondary school then you don’t go. Life is very, very unfair. I need your help.

Today, I have been applying for a grant for school text books as there are nowhere near enough to go round. A full set of text books for secondary school year 1-4 costs £325. This set can obviously be used by 4 students at one time if they are in different year groups. £325 is a huge amount of money and I am asking for 10 sets. I do hope that I am successful with getting this grant. There is so much to do and so much more we want to do to help this community to self-sufficiency. The fact that things had got so dire and that there are hundreds needing help makes it more challenging. That is why we need you to help us. We can’t do this alone. It’s always about teamwork and we need to grow our team of supporters as then we can do more to help.

I need your support to raise funds to build a school. I have £840 in my fundraiser after the first week of my challenge. Can we get it to £1,000 by tonight? Please? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have enough for a classroom by the end of my challenge? https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 6

Sarah’s blog 6/5/22

3pm Tired today as I had very restless legs last night. Also it’s been a tricky day (food wise) as we’ve been with family and there has been bacon frying and a buffet lunch…..with salad for me! That was hard as there were olives, cold meats and cheeses that I would have loved. But I didn’t give in and had my salad and carrot sticks!! I’ll post a couple of pictures of lunch so you can see how good I was avoiding the temptations!

6pm Just done my 10km cycle and it’s getting slightly easier….that’s 60km this week!! I need your encouragement please. Help me to keep going by sharing my posts and making a donation towards the new school building. Almost a week done but still a long way to go….please help? https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks so much for reading and supporting. I received a cash donation too today. Many thanks, Sarah x

If you think I did well sticking to salad for lunch, please donate https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 5

Sarah’s blog 5/5/22

8.30am Good morning! I was wide awake at bedtime and struggled to get to sleep but once I was asleep I slept well. So that’s a positive to start off with! I’m feeling hungry this morning but I’ve got a zoom meeting at 9.30am so will wait until after that before having anything to eat.

I can’t believe I’m at day 5 already. Hopefully, this will become more like a habit as time goes on and I won’t be having to think about what to eat and when or having to remember when to go on the exercise bike. I am so grateful for the generous donations towards building the school so far. The fundraiser is sitting at £750 already! I really hope that we can raise a much bigger amount as I’d love to be able to say that we’ve raised enough money for a classroom block or at least one classroom. We will need to get proper quotes from the builders but we estimate that a classroom will cost £4,000 to build. Once we have raised enough money to make it possible, plans will be drawn up, with the builders, to see what the possibilities are and how much it will cost. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

It would be wonderful to be able to start off with a block of 3 classrooms for next years S1 pupils, accommodation for their teachers if needed, 2 dormitories, a kitchen and a toilet block. Thankfully, clean water and a shower block and a library are already there. It’s certainly a challenge but we can do this! The children need us to help them.

Once the school was built for the S1 pupils, we would continue raising funds and applying for grants if possible, so that each year the school would be added to until all four years were completed. It’s a huge project but one that is key to the successful education of hundreds of the most vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi. Building a school will provide jobs whilst the school is being built, employment for teachers and other staff and most of all, the gift of a good education for all. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

We will need people to fundraise for us, to take on challenges, to raise awareness, to pay for some bricks or a roof panel or your company could sponsor a classroom. I always say it’s teamwork because we are a team. Each of us has an important part to play in helping to make lives better for the children we support. We can’t change their lives without you.

20.30pm Wow, my day suddenly got really busy so I only managed to get round to my 10km an hour ago….but I did it! I had a bowl of rice and a few mixed beans at lunchtime, some celery mid afternoon and I’ve just finished a salad. It will be a bit harder tomorrow when there is takeaway pizza about. However, I couldn’t have any because I’m gluten intolerant so at least I won’t be tempted.

Please, please, please help me help the children have a good education and the chance of a better future. Thanks for reading, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

That’s 50km completed so far!!

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 3

Sarah’s blog 3/5/22

12.30pm Who needs sleep anyway? Sore tummy and sore legs last night and, for some reason, wide awake! I’m not saying this to moan, I’m just writing down facts as a record of how this challenge is progressing. I haven’t been hungry at all this morning. I’ve just had a lovely salad for my lunch which is the first thing I’ve eaten today. I’m saving my rice for dinner! https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

The first day of the challenge was really hard as I was hungry all the time but yesterday and today have been ok as my body is obviously getting used to the change in what I’m eating and eating less than usual. Not having meat is a big change but I’ve not really missed it. I’m finding that I am thinking a lot more about the children in Malawi and trying to imagine the different difficult situations they find themselves in. Not enough to eat, nowhere near enough resources in the local schools, no medical care if they can’t afford it. Lots of chores to do to help their families. The heavy rains this year have affected the crops and maize will be more expensive to buy and not as readily available. Life is very hard for them but, bit by bit, we are changing their lives for the better. Always, the end goal is self-sufficiency.

8pm It’s been a busy day today so I didn’t get round to doing my 10km until 7pm. When I got to 6km I started to struggle so I made my lovely hubby come and talk to me until I’d finished…. so I made it over the finishing line! A bowl of rice and a few beans just now. I’m feeling a bit tired but hopefully that means I might sleep tonight. My challenge is to eat rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables as a representation of what the children eat and cycle 10km to represent the distance the little kids walk to school and back. If you’d like to support me raise funds to build a desperately needed school then please donate to my fundraiser https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 thanks for reading and supporting me, Sarah x

31 Days in May – Sarah’s challenge – Day 1

Sarah’s blog

Let’s build a desperately needed school so all children can have the gift of education. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

I am trying to raise awareness of how little the hundreds of children in Ibuluma, northern Malawi have to eat. All children supported by the Foundation are malnourished. They are fed a nutritious, substantial meal once a week at the Feeding Programme. This is their biggest meal of the week. Some days some of the children might not eat at all. I am eating rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables each day in May to represent what the children eat. I’m very aware that I am privileged to have this every day instead of just once a week and, of course, this is my choice. The hundreds of children we are helping to support have no choice.

I am also cycling 10km a day on my exercise bike to represent how far the younger children walk each day to school and back (5km each way).

I need your help to keep encouraging me please. I also need you to help me raise enough money to build a school. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

This morning I woke up and the realisation hit me that today is the day I start this challenge. I know that a lot of it is about having the right mindset and I am looking at this as a challenge….not a diet or anything else weight loss related….just a challenge to raise awareness of how little the orphans and vulnerable children in Ibuluma have to eat.

I decided I would have a packet of microwave rice so that it was easy to know how much I was going to eat. I had about a third of it for breakfast with some cucumber, a tomato and 2 beetroot. That was ok, no problem. A couple of hours later I cycled 5km on my exercise bike but then started to feel quite light headed. I had a bowl of lettuce and a big glass of water which filled me up but it wasn’t long before I started feeling light headed again so I finished the rest of the packet of rice. At less than 400 calories per packet I think it was a bit silly thinking I could just have one packet per day. It’s strange how much I’m thinking about food….not food that I can’t have….but just thinking when I can have something else to eat.

I cannot imagine not having anything to eat all day until dinner time. Or even worse, going a whole day with nothing to eat at all. The children in Ibuluma look forward to The Feeding Programme each week, knowing they are going to get a substantial meal…..how must they feel when it’s really heavy rain and they can’t go? Huddled at home, under a leaking roof, with a sore tummy because it’s so empty. The disappointment of not getting to The Feeding Programme must be huge.

Another project we will eventually have to tackle is building bridges across the rivers. If it rains, it is too dangerous for children to cross the rivers as they are too deep and children might get swept away. So some children, if they live across the river, have to stay at home to be safe. We’ve so much to do to help this community back on their feet and to self-sufficiency….we can but do a bit at a time.

Thankfully, the teachers have noticed that children can concentrate better and their grades are improving just from one meal a week which supplements whatever small amounts they get at home. Things are better…but not ideal.

Another big glass of water and 5km on the exercise bike. That wasn’t too bad. Now how long until I can have some more food? For dinner I am going to have some rice (surprise, surprise) with onion, mushrooms and courgettes….and another big glass of water! If I get hungry later I will have a carrot and another big glass of water! I’ll let you know in tomorrow’s blog how this evening goes and if I am starting to get a bit grumpy…let’s hope not. I’m keeping focused on the children I want to help and the school I want to help build. I’d love it if you could support me please https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Chambo Primary where they sit on the ground. We need to build a secondary school for these children as there are currently not enough places so if children do not get picked then they don’t go to secondary school. Education should be available to all children.

31 Days in May – Sarah’s challenge to build a new school

30/4/22

As I said this morning, tomorrow and for all of May, I am challenging myself to cycle 10km per day on my exercise bike – which is the distance the primary school children walk each day. I will also be eating just rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables each day in May to represent what they children have at the Feeding Programme – although this meal is just once a week for them and their biggest meal of the week. https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

Already, I’ve had three great donations to my fundraiser, thank you very much to those three supporters. However, I need many many more donations to help the dream of education a reality for hundreds of vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

This morning, Levison was tutoring all the p8 students who are supported by the Foundation. He is trying to help them get the best marks possible in their exams. We have provided text books for the library. However we could only afford one copy of each book. The tutoring sessions are having to be carried out as a group as there are no spare copies. We hope to add several more copies of each text book so they are available for all. Some of these young people who were being tutored this morning are repeating their last year of primary school. Even though they passed their leavers exams and have sponsors to pay their secondary school fees, they were not picked. They were not picked for a place at secondary school because there aren’t enough places.

We need a new school to provide the gift of education for these children. Education is the gift these children need to get themselves a better future. They know they need to work hard. They know education is everything. We need to help them help themselves. I will be sharing insights into the lives of the hundreds of vulnerable children we are supporting each day in May.

My challenge for today was to eat a few snacks that were in the house so I am not tempted during the next few days. Please be supportive as I’m sure the first few days will be tough as I go without any sugar….not that I have a lot of sugar but I do like the occasional ice lolly or ice cream! I hope I’m not too grumpy!!

My lovely sister invited us round for Sunday dinner tomorrow; roast chicken and apple pie! I thanked her but said I’d stay at home with my bowl of rice!! 🙂 At the moment, I’m feeling ok about the challenge. I think it will be a time of reflection and make me even more determined to do all I can for the hundreds of malnourished children in Ibuluma. See you tomorrow for the first day of the challenge! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x https://gofund.me/ca9c1629

Children at Chambo Primary school reading some of the donated books we sent

At Chambo Primary School, the children (apart from p8) all sit on the floor. Resources are scarce. Thanks to you, we sent 17 boxes of books to this school to help children practise reading and become more confident readers. We need to build a secondary school as there are not enough places at the nearest secondary school for all these children.

31 days in May challenge

Sarah’s blog 30/4/22

Tomorrow I start my challenge to help raise awareness of the hundreds of vulnerable children we support and how life is for them. So expect lots of stories from Ibuluma, rural Northern Malawi. I am also raising money to build them a school and I need your help.

There are not enough places in secondary schools and, if you don’t get picked (even though you’ve passed your exams) then you don’t go. That’s what happened to 11 of our sponsored young people this year. I had matched them with sponsors to pay their school fees, they worked hard and passed their primary school leavers exams and still didn’t get picked for secondary school! It’s heart breaking for them. Heart breaking and very unfair. How would you feel if that happened to your child? These 11 children are now repeating their last year of primary school in the hope that they get picked next year. But what if they don’t? There are not enough places at secondary school for all the children to get a proper education. What would you do if this had happened to your child and their friends?

If we build a school in the village then all children who pass their primary school leavers exams will be able to go to secondary school. Education, they know, is their way to a better future. It’s their way to a sustainable future where they will be able to support themselves and their families. ALL CHILDREN DESERVE AN EDUCATION. ALL CHILDREN DESERVE A CHANCE TO REACH THEIR POTENTIAL. THESE VULNERABLE CHILDREN NEED MY HELP AND YOUR HELP.

Each day in May, I will be eating the equivalent of what the children have at the feeding programme. I am very aware that they only get this once a week and it’s the most they eat all week. Instead of maize flour, I will be having one bowl of rice each day and vegetables/salad. I will also be cycling 10km a day on my exercise bike which represents what the younger children walk each day to school and back.

To a lot of people this might not seem like a big challenge. However, I have some health issues and this is a big deal for me. I’ll be blogging during the month about how I’m getting on and bringing stories from Ibuluma.

So here is how you can help:

  1. Please donate money
  2. Tell your friends and ask them to donate money too
  3. Share my posts and cheer me on….I’m sure I’ll need your encouragement
  4. Can you join me on this challenge or do a challenge of your own?
  5. Can you or your children do a sponsored event or challenge? Bake sales/sponsored walks/sponsored reading books each day of the summer holidays/sponsored trampolining etc
  6. Can you save all your loose change in a jar for us? If enough people do this then it will certainly add up.
  7. Any other ideas? Anyone you know that has a big following on social media etc who could mention us and a link to donate to my challenge?

Thanks in advance for your support. Here is the link to my fundraiser https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 or you can donate via this website or contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details. You can also text SCHOOL TO 70560 to donate.

I can’t do this on my own…..but we can do this together! Please help me help the children. Please help me continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading and your support, Sarah x

All over the world

Sarah’s blog 20/4/22

One thing I like about our charity having a website is to see how many views there have been of the posts, which posts are most popular and all the countries in the world where people are accessing our website and reading my blogs.

Today, we have had visitors from the UK, USA, Ireland, Spain, Malawi and even as far as Israel! Yesterday, we had views from China, and two days ago we were viewed from Canada. Thanks so much for looking at our website. Hopefully, you’ll be able to share with your friends and family about how we are supporting so many vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

Here is the link to my fundraiser from my earlier post. We are raising funds for a desperately needed school. Thanks for reading and your continued support, Sarah x

https://gofund.me/bd6578d7

Ten ways you can help us

Sarah’s blog 14/04/22

Children – There are hundreds of children, like Rodrick and his sister Lucia, who are suffering from malnutrition. They are hungry. They cannot concentrate properly as their bodies are lacking nutrients. Some have very stunted growth. Rodrick and Lucia have been given new clothes and attend the weekly feeding programme were , along with 500 other vulnerable children, they are given a substantial and nutritious meal. They are all still hungry and malnourished as they don’t eat every day. No big agencies are feeding children that far north in Malawi, so it is down to us to send money to feed these malnourished children.

Education – is also the key to these children having a better future. Unfortunately, there are not enough school places. We need to raise money to build a school so these children can have the education they deserve. Education should be available to everyone. The villagers want to be self-sufficient. They want to be able to provide for their families. They want their children to go to school and have the opportunities that they didn’t. The children work hard and are desperate to go to school.

Lack of school places – Currently, there are not enough school places available. Eleven sponsored children who passed their primary school leavers exams did not get picked for a place at secondary school and are resitting their last year at primary school. Will they get picked this year? So worrying for them and heart-breaking.

Help us please – There are great things happening at The Foundation and lives are changing for the better. However, there are so many children and so much to do that we cannot do what needs to be done without adding to our supporters and team.

  1. We need fundraisers – we need people to organise small or larger events where you live, for your friends or community, on our behalf for the children.
  2. We want active people to take part in sponsored events for our charity – is that something you can do? Walking, running, swimming, trampolining, a sponsored silence? Can you do this with your friends?
  3. We need people to help us at events we organise eg looking after a stall, selling raffle tickets, making tea & coffee.
  4. We need more sponsors to be matched with children like Rodrick and Lucia so they have a monthly food parcel at their home, clothes, a blanket, school supplies etc. We have 90 children & young people matched with sponsors so far but there are many more in desperate need. Can you help? It’s only £25 p/m.
  5. Can you make a monthly donation to the feeding programme? Even a regular donation of £5 or £10 per month will make a big difference if several people sign up for this.
  6. Can you make a donation from your company? We can give you publicity.
  7. We need people to collect books so we can send them to schools.
  8. We also need people to collect stationery, shoes, new underwear etc for all age groups to adult, and collect funds to cover the cost of transportation.
  9. Will you invite us to talk at your club, church or school and show photos of the work taking place in Malawi?
  10. Will you tell your friends, family, colleagues etc about our charity and like and share our posts?

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details or to volunteer. It’s about teamwork and we all have a part to play in Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Rodrick and his sister Lucia are suffering from malnutrition
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