Building Bright Futures Secondary School

Sarah’s blog 25/09/22

It’s very exciting to see the work has started on the first phase of the new secondary school – Bright Futures Secondary School. This will be for the most vulnerable young people who would otherwise not go to secondary school.

Unfortunately, only primary education is free in Malawi. The nearest secondary schools are too far to travel daily so the students supported by The Foundation, and who have sponsors to pay their fees, have to board. These schools do not have enough places which is why Bright Futures Secondary School is much needed.

Everything we do is on a shoestring. We are a small charity, and we are achieving. However, there is still so much more to do. We are volunteers so you can be sure that all money that you give to our charity goes on projects. We do need your help to ensure that we can complete phase 1 of the school. We are building two classrooms and then more latrines. The staff accommodation block is almost finished but we do need more funding to complete the classrooms. Please help us? Please give the gift of education. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Together we can make a difference. Together we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thank you for reading and supporting us. Sarah x

Fundraising Calendar 2023

Sarah’s blog 12/9/22

We are excited to announce that we have finalised the layout for a new fundraising calendar for 2023. We should receive the calendar in approximately 10 days when it will be available to buy for £10 (plus p&p).

Here is a sneak preview of the calendar…these images are just photos of my laptop screen so aren’t very good quality but I was excited to share them with you. These will make great gifts for Christmas and can be easily posted, or would be good to purchase for your own house!

One of our trustees has generously paid for these calendars to be printed, so you know that when you purchase one all of the money will be going towards the building of Bright Futures Secondary School, providing secondary education for some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi. Please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you’d like to place an order and give the gift of education. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The front cover of our 2023 fundraising calendar
The back cover of our 2023 fundraising calendar

Team Mackay visits Dundee!

Sarah’s blog 11/9/22

As you know from yesterday’s blog, Team Mackay have been very busy clocking up kilometres for us in our fundraising event. We want to travel over 13,000km from here to Malawi following one of the routes the boxes take on the container ship, raising awareness and funds for Bright Futures Secondary School. Team Mackay made the news! – Changing Lives Malawi

The Mackay Family are from Drymen and Ewan was involved in the planning of the recent refurbishment of the bus stop in Drymen. It was painted by a talented local artist Cameron Reid and highlights The Rob Roy Way which starts in Drymen.

Yesterday, Team Mackay aka Jackie, Ewan, Ben and Adam, volunteered their trailer to take the last of our boxes to The Bananabox Trust warehouse in Dundee to await the next container. The warehouse is almost full, so it won’t be too long until the next container is packed and sent on its way.

After visiting The Bananabox Trust, they clocked up another 20km in Dundee whilst enjoying the sunshine and visited Discovery Point. Another busy day for Team Mackay! Thanks Jackie, Ewan, Ben and Adam. We appreciate all your help.

If you’d like to pay for a box to go on the container, it costs £15, and you can email me at contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Or to donate to our fundraiser to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education!

Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

The newly painted bus stop in Drymen, the work of local talented artist Cameron Reid
Setting off from Drymen
At The Bananabox Trust Dundee

lots of our boxes awaiting the next container

The Discovery
Clocking up more kilometres

International Day of Charity

Sarah’s blog 5/9/22

The International Day of Charity commemorates the anniversary of day that Mother Teresa passed away. It is a day to think about those who have less than we do. It’s a day to think about who we can help and who we can be kind to. How can we make a difference? I have chosen just five quotes by Mother Teresa to share with you today.

  1. “Do not worry about why problems exist in the world – just respond to people’s needs”
  2. “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing”
  3. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”
  4. “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies”
  5. “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one” Mother Teresa

I hope, if you can, you will consider helping us continue doing small things to change lives of some of the most vulnerable children in northern Malawi. Our fundraiser to build a desperately needed secondary school is https://gofund.me/44a92444 Please help us give the gift of education today. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

some of the 500+ children who benefit from the feeding programme that runs once a week.

Traci has completed her challenge!

Sarah’s blog 1/9/22

I can’t believe it is the first of September already! That means Traci’s challenge has finished. She emailed her results last night so here are the results.

Traci had set herself a challenge to walk 500km during July and August. However, she realised that she could do some more and changed her target to walk 700km during July and August. She has been sending regular updates and some great photos and I am in awe of how determined she has been to reach her goal. In fact, she has exceeded her goal by 10km. You are amazing Traci! Very well done!

All Traci’s kilometres have been added to the total that Jackie is keeping for us. As of today, 3,625.615km have been completed in UK plus 320km that the kids in Malawi clocked up in their run gives a total of 3,945.615km. This means we have travelled 30% of our journey now! Well done everyone!

We need more people to ‘donate’ their kilometres from their walks, runs or cycles to add them to our total. Whether you are just taking the dog for a walk or doing the shopping…every little helps…so please do tell us and we will add your kilometres to our total. It’s all about teamwork and we need you on our team.

We are covering the equivalent kilometres of one of the routes that the boxes take that we send from Scotland to Malawi. The aim of this challenge is to raise money and awareness to build a desperately needed secondary school in rural northern Malawi. Please donate if you can to help us give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable young people in northern Malawi.

Here is the link to donate https://gofund.me/44a92444 to show your support for Traci’s brilliant achievement and to give the gift of education. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Traci says “Well, thank goodness I was well ahead of the game before succumbing to Covid – I have been totally floored by it for the last 6 days and barely managed a lap of the garden. But I’m pleased to say I have still exceeded by target of walking 700km by the end of August. If you are able, donations for the wonderful work of Changing Lives Malawi to build a school would be most gratefully appreciated via https://gofund.me/44a92444

Very well done Traci! Amazing achievement!

Bright Futures Secondary School – Let’s build this school

Sarah’s blog 30/08/22

It’s time for an exciting update on Bright Futures Secondary School. Lot’s of hard work has been going on here and, of course, in Malawi to try to make this a reality for some of the most vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi who would otherwise miss out on secondary education.

It’s so difficult when trying to manage everything on a shoestring and costs are rising. However, where there is a will there is a way. This school is desperately needed and, therefore, it will happen.

Because of the rural location, accommodation is needed for teachers. The first block of teachers accommodation is almost complete and the work on the foundations for the first two classrooms of Bright Futures Secondary School is about to be begin. This is just the start….we have so much more to do. We need you on our team to help these vulnerable young people out of poverty and to a brighter future.

All the bricks that have been made have been dried and stacked into kilns and the first of the kilns was fired. It was covered in mud and a fire lit in each gap. One person was responsible for each fire, ensuring their fire burned brightly all through the night. The kiln will now be left for over a week to cool down again, the mud will be removed and the bricks will be ready to use.

We really do need your help to ensure that education is available to all these vulnerable young people. Education is their way out of poverty. To make a donation here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education…it might be one of the most important gifts you every give a vulnerable child. To get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Scotland to Malawi via New York!

Sarah’s blog 23/08/22

Traci and one of her sons jetted off to New York for a few days holiday. Traci has been doing a brilliant job of collecting kilometres for us for our challenge. We are raising funds to build a desperately needed school in rural northern Malawi by covering more than 13,000km which is one of the routes the boxes travel on the container ship and lorry. We need people to help us by donating a few £££ to give the gift of education. here’s the link https://gofund.me/44a92444

Traci also set herself a challenge and she must be very nearly at her goal…to walk 700km during July and August. She had originally aimed at doing 500km but quickly realised she could aim for more. Thank you so much Traci for all the kilometres you have done towards the total of our challenge. You’ve done an amazing job at raising awareness for our fundraiser and the need for a new school. It looks like you and Murray had a great time in New York!

They each clocked up 45.29km by walking everywhere! To donate to our fundraiser here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444

Thanks for reading and enjoy the photos. I’ll have the new total kilometres next time, Sarah x

Kilometre Challenge – Team Mackay

Sarah’s blog 18/8/22

I’m totally amazed and in awe of this update from Jackie and her family aka Team Mackay. They have been clocking up the kilometres for us and challenging themselves at the same time!

One one of the hottest days last week, they climbed Scafell Pike in the National Park in the Lake District. It is the highest mountain in England at 978 metres above sea level. It must have been so much more difficult on an extremely hot day but the views are spectacular. Very well done all of you and thank you, Team Mackay, for including your kilometres in our total.

We need to complete over 13,000km which is the distance the boxes travel from here to The Foundation. Please feel free to get in touch and add your kilometres from any walk you do, or cycle or even roller skating! Any kilometres will help us get nearer our target and any donations will help us build a much needed secondary school. https://gofund.me/44a92444 We are almost at 25% and any kilometres you can donate by taking part will help us over the 25% mark.

So far 320km have been recorded in Malawi during a 4km run by some of the older children + 2,887.415km in UK = 3,207.415km = 24.4%

Let’s build a school! We need your help to donate kilometres and £££ https://gofund.me/44a92444 Team Mackay; Jackie, Ewan, Ben & Adam – you are awesome! Hope you all enjoy their photos. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Well done team Mackay!
Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain at 978 metres above sea level

The kilometre challenge – swimming

Sarah’s blog 17/08/22

I can’t walk far because of mobility issues. However, I can swim. It was the first day back at school where we live and Stuart and I went swimming once our son was off to school.

I wanted to add to the kilometre challenge to help raise funds to build a much needed school and, although it’s not adding much to the total, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. As the saying goes, every little helps!

Today I was able to swim 70 lengths of a 15m pool which totals 1.05km. Stuart did .66km too. We had been swimming as a family last week and I did half a kilometre whilst the boys were playing ball in the pool. It’s not much but I am hoping that some kind people would like to donate a few £££ so we can give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable young people in Northern Malawi. https://gofund.me/44a92444 So if you’ve only walked round the supermarket or walked to the bus stop…it still adds up so please join in and add your kilometres.

The kilometre challenge covers over 13,000km which is one of the routes that the boxes travel from here to the Foundation. People can donate their kilometres from their daily exercise to help us get to the total and also we are looking for people to support us by donating some money. Here is the link https://gofund.me/44a92444 Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

I completed 70 lengths of a 15m pool today!

Traci’s challenge update

Sarah’s 14/08/22

Wow! Traci is still clocking up those kilometres to help us with our challenge. She also set herself the challenge of walking 500km in July/August. When she saw that she could do more than that she decided to set her self the target of 700km in July/August. She’s amazing! and the photos of the scenery on her walks are beautiful. It’s been very hot during the last few days so I’m sure that it has been hard work. Very well done Traci and thank you.

Here’s what Traci wrote ‘Still clocking up km for Changing Lives Malawi, but this weekend I have swapped the Campsie Fells and the River Kelvin for the Moffat Hills and the River Annan. Just 129km to go to meet my 700km target. https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3

We need people to show their support for Traci and the rest of the team who are taking part in the kilometre challenge – travelling the distance boxes of aid travel from here to Malawi – to raise money for a much needed secondary school. Please donate so that the most vulnerable young people can go to school – education should be available for all. Please donate a few £££ and give the gift of education today. https://gofund.me/dd3a1be3 Let’s build a school! Thank you Traci for your hard work and raising awareness of the importance of this project. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some wonderful photos from Traci’s latest walks. Fantastic Traci, thank you.

Please sponsor me?

Sarah’s blog 12/8/22

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

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

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

Can you help us build a school?

Sarah’s blog 10/8/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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