Advent Calendar – highlighting projects & children – day 4

Sarah’s blog 4/12/23

Today, 4th December we are highlighting food poverty and our feeding programme. I know I do go on about feeding children and education but it’s something I’m passionate about. So here are a few facts to read and we really would appreciate any help you can give.

  1. Did you know that there are no big charities feeding children in schools in the area we are supporting in the rural far north of Malawi?
  2. We send money to feed 500 orphans and other vulnerable children once a week. That’s all we can afford.
  3. This feeding programme was just intended for malnourished children in the immediate area, however word spread and the need is so great that some children will walk up to 20km for this one nutritious meal of the week.
  4. Teachers at Chambo Primary School have noticed an improvement in the concentration of these children even from one meal per week. Imagine if we could feed them more?
  5. Food prices are going up all the time and food is getting more scarce now the rainy season has started.
  6. Children are taught how to grow crops as agriculture lessons are a core subject on the curriculum, and important life skills to learn.
  7. Maize, sweet potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables are grown to be used to feed the children. However, these do not last long for 500 hungry children.
  8. Fruit tree saplings were planted a couple of years ago. Some bushes had fruit for the first time this year. However, the nursery children were so hungry that they picked the fruit and ate it. We have sent money to plant more fruit tree saplings now the rains are starting. This will provide much needed food and an income in the future and will, of course, also help the planet.
  9. Children in the nursery are fed 5 times a week.
  10. Students at Bright Futures Secondary School are fed 5 times a week.

Please will you help us as the situation is serious. Children are malnourished and hungry. Can you donate money for food please? or commit to £5 or £10 p/m towards the feeding programme. Thank you, Sarah x

Advent Calendar – highlighting projects & children – day 3

Sarah’s blog 3/12/23

On day 3 of our advent calendar we are highlighting education. Secondary education needs to be paid for in Malawi. Did you know that all of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School would not have been able to attend secondary school without support? Their education wouldn’t have gone past primary school. Even if they had passed their primary school leavers exams they would not be able to attend secondary school because they are so poor. Also, the nearest secondary school did not have enough spaces. All these students have missed chunks of education whilst at primary school so they could work for a pittance to try to buy food. They are all older because of that. The older they are, the more vulnerable and poor they are.

Thanks to our supporters and some generous grants, Bright Futures Secondary School was built. At the moment, class sizes are small because we cannot afford any more free places. However, every new sponsor matched with a young person ensures a brighter future for that vulnerable teenager. Education is their way out of extreme poverty. Being a sponsor only costs £25 per month. You can sponsor as an individual or a family or two friends can share the cost.

Students at Bright Futures Secondary School receive a cooked free school lunch each day. This is the only proper meal these young people eat every day, so it is vital for their wellbeing as well as being able to concentrate on their lessons. Could you support us with the cost of feeding the students please? Several people, committing £5 or £10 per month to ensure there is enough food for these teenagers each day will make a big difference.

We were delighted that all S2 students passed their national exams in the summer. The fact that Bright Futures Secondary School had only opened in November 2022, it was an amazing achievement that the whole class passed. This story was even picked up by the national news, putting Bright Futures Secondary School well and truly on the map.

As part of our School Literacy Project, we are gifting books to the preschool children and putting boxes of books into local primary schools to raise attainment and help children be more confident readers. How can children learn to read properly if they don’t have books to practice with? Hopefully, we will start seeing the benefits of this project in the next few years as exam grades continue to rise.

Obviously, if primary school children were receiving food every day then this would make a huge difference too. Unfortunately, we can only afford to feed 500 once a week, with some children walking up to 20km to receive this nutritious cooked meal. Due to food scarcity, their currency being devalued again and prices continuing to rise, it is expected that the number of children attending this weekly feeding programme might increase to approximately 700 children. No big charities are feeding children in the rural far north and we cannot do this on our own without your support. Please help?

Please help us to support the children. Education is their way out of poverty. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Advent Calendar – highlighting projects & children – day 2

Sarah’s blog 2/12/23

Day 2 of highlighting children and projects during advent. Yesterday’s photo was of Josephine Nyondo and her friends when they were at the nursery. They were the first children to drink clean water from the new tap.

Today’s photo is of more children in the nursery. There are between 50 and 75 pre-school children come to the nursery. It was identified as a need because vulnerable young children were hanging about all day with nowhere to go while the older children were at school. The nursery runs five days a week and the children are fed at each session as well playing and having the opportunity to use the onsite showers. #SDG3 Good Health & Wellbeing

We ensure that all children who are at nursery receive a care package. This is a bag containing; 2 red t-shirts, 3 pairs of pants, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste, a small blanket, a book and now, thanks to our supporters, a soft toy.

It had been observed that, when the first library opened, these pre-school children had no idea how to turn the pages of a book properly. They have missed out on so many opportunities for pre-literacy. As there are no books in their homes, they have missed out on looking at books and adults reading to them. So our aim, as part of the School Literacy Project, is that all the children that we help to support should have at least two books of their own at their home. We hope books become a special part of everyday life and that children become more confident readers.

However, it does cost us £12 per care package. Can you support this project or one of our other projects please this advent season? Thank you for all the support we receive…it truly is teamwork. Sarah x

Advent Calendar – highlighting projects & children – day 1

Sarah’s blog 01/12/23

It’s December already! This year has gone so quickly! As we approach Christmas Day, I am going to take this opportunity to highlight some of the projects we are supporting and also some of the vulnerable children and young people who are benefitting from our support.

Of course, we can’t do what we do without your support – it’s teamwork! Thank you so much to everyone who helps and supports our charity. Together we can continue to change lives and help the young people have a brighter future. So, if you are able, we would appreciate, if you could spare a few ££ to help us continue feeding 500 children once a week and also supporting the start up of some sustainable projects. All our projects have The Sustainable Development Goals in mind.

Today, on 1st December we are highlighting the need for clean water. Children at the Foundation have clean water to drink and wash their hands. Also Chambo Primary School now have clean water on site, thanks to a recent grant we applied for. In this photo which is one of my favourites and a couple of years old now, Josephine Nyondo and her nursery friends, tried the new tap for the first time. It was such a special moment for them being able to drink clean water straight from the tap and wash their hands. #SDG6 Clean Water & Sanitation

I hope you enjoy looking at these photos as we countdown to Christmas and, if you would like to help us, we would be very grateful for your help. Thanks, Sarah x

The Final Rugby Tournament

Sarah’s blog 13/10/23

As I type this, Jack Mphande, Malawi Rugby Union’s Rugby Development Officer, is on his way back to Lilongwe which is over 15 hours on a bus. When he arrives home he is straight into finishing an assignment that he put aside whilst he travelled north for the two-week Rugby Festival.

Jack had been making plans for this visit for a while, after the success of his first visit two years ago when he introduced touch rugby to children in the north for the very first time. We were delighted that Jack was keen to visit the far north again to spread the joy of the sport of rugby with his enthusiasm and coaching skills.

Meanwhile, here in Scotland, we had been raising funds to ensure that there was enough money for this rugby festival to run smoothly. We are so grateful to every single supporter who has donated to our fundraiser to make the last two weeks of rugby a huge success. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you also to individuals and clubs and schools who donated sports kit and rugby balls that have been shared with the various schools taking part.

Levison welcomed Jack to stay at The Foundation again for his second visit. Together, they ensured the planned programme went smoothly and Levison liaised with the education and sports officers. Levison also arranged for food, and water to be bought for everyone and arranged lunches, and someone to cook, for the adults and children. They organised which schools would be taking part and which days schools would be visited. Schools were split into two clusters. In order to make this programme sustainable, Jack was able to spend time coaching two teachers from each school as well as some community coaches. He visited each school individually and, at the end of each of the two weeks everyone came together for a tournament.

As yet, there are no big charities feeding children in schools in this area. Most children are living in extreme poverty. It was important to us that all children had a snack and a bottle of water when playing. On tournament days, we ensured there was enough money for everyone to have a proper lunch, snack and bottle of water. Students were given pens and pencils as a gift for taking part. Each school was given sports kit and rugby balls that had been donated by clubs and individuals.

Sustainable development goals were kept in mind when organising this rugby festival; SDG2 – zero hunger, SDG3 – good health & wellbeing, SDG4 – quality education, SDG5 – gender equality, SDG6 – clean water, SDG10 – reduced inequalities, SDG11 – sustainable communities, SDG17 – partnership for the goals.

Each team played two matches and the emphasis was on taking part rather than being too much of a competition. However, the winning boys team was Model Primary School and the winning girls team was Katutula Primary School. Well done everyone!

These children have had an opportunity that they wouldn’t usually have had; someone investing time teaching them new skills, time to play, time to have fun, time to forget about the difficulties in their day to day lives. Time to be part of a team, time to play a new sport, time to feel valued and important, time for self-esteem and confidence to grow. Time for nutritious food and clean water and time for gifts of pens & pencils to help with their education.

Thank you to everyone who has made these two weeks possible. It was a lot of organising, but it was worth it for the enjoyment on the faces of these children. Without the financial donations of our supporters, this rugby festival would have only been a dream. With your help it has been a wonderful experience for so many vulnerable children. Enjoy the photos, Sarah x