Did you know it was World Toilet Day? Imagine a day to be thankful for having a toilet! A toilet is just one of the things we take for granted. Every home has at least one toilet. And a sink to wash your hands with running water and soap. When we go out, we know where there is a toilet available for use, again with water to wash our hands.
The children and young people in Malawi do not have the luxury of toilets. They have to go in the nearby bushes. There is no clean water or soap to wash their hands. Disease can spread quickly because of lack of sanitation. Also, imagine being a teenage girl with no proper toilet facilities. No dignity, no privacy and also the worry of being vulnerable to attack on your own in the bushes.
We are trying our best to improve their situation. There are latrine blocks at The Foundation, they were one of the first things to be built. Plus a teachers’ latrine block was added. With the help of our supporters, we have some money raised for more latrine blocks for teenagers at Bright Futures Secondary School. However, because of constant rising costs in Malawi, we do not yet have enough money to complete these latrines.
On World Toilet Day, please think about how fortunate we are and how we take so much for granted. If you could spare £10 to help build another toilet block, we would be so grateful. https://gofund.me/e5ba79fe or email for our bank details email@example.com Your continued support is gratefully received both here and in Malawi.
We have been supporting Chambo Primary School, where most of the younger children attend, through two grants we successfully applied for. Hopefully, all will be finished next week and there will be lots of photos.
One of the grants was from The Eleanor Rathbone Trust for £1,000 which has built a latrine block at Chambo Primary School. The other grant was from The Kitchen Table Charities Trust for £6,000, part of which has been used to bring clean water for drinking and washing hands to Chambo Primary School. At school; clean drinking water, the privacy, dignity and hygiene of a toilet block , and clean water and soap to wash their hands. Life is changing for the better for these very vulnerable children. We will continue, with your help, Changing Lives (in) Malawi. Thanks so much and please do help if you can, Sarah x https://gofund.me/e5ba79fe
Thanks to the grant we received from The Clive Richards Foundation, there will shortly be a new staff accommodation block for 4 teachers. As the area has so much poverty, there are no suitable houses for teacher’s to rent so on campus accommodation is vital to attract good teachers to Bright Futures Secondary School.
Some bricks have been bought and some have been made and are about to be fired. The ground has been cleared and the digging of foundations has been completed ready for the actual building work to start. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before this building is finished.
In the meantime, here are some photos of progress so far. We still have a shortfall in the funding we require for the new latrines for the students at Bright Futures Secondary School, so any financial support would be very much appreciated firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy the photos and I’ll post another update soon. Thanks, Sarah x
On Saturday morning, I attended a Christmas Card Sale & Coffee Morning at The Kirkrooms, Strathblane. It’s always a great event and lovely to catch up with people and have a chat. I had a selection of packs of cards for sale and, thanks to everyone who bought them, made £184.50 for Changing Lives Malawi.
These cards are taken from original paintings by my mum, Christine Cresswell, who is a very talented artist. She has generously gifted these cards to our charity so all the money from sales will go towards building the new latrine blocks. Some of the original paintings are for sale so let me know if you see something you like.
Each pack contains 8 cards of the same design, blank for your own message and they are £5 each plus £2.50 p&p. (if you purchase multiple packs then we can combine postage amounts). Perfect for sending or giving the whole pack as a gift.
It’s a bit of a photo dump today! There is so much going on that it’s not easy to get photos of everything that is happening. Yesterday, S3 students at Bright Futures Secondary School were able to choose new shoes from the boxes of preloved shoes that www.salsshoes.com kindly donated to us to send to the teenage students. So there were lots of happy young people yesterday receiving new shoes to protect their feet whilst walking to and from school. Thanks to Sal’s Shoes and to all the people who donated preloved shoes to them.
We’d had a donation of money to be used to make desks for classroom 3. The donor wishes to remain anonymous but we are very grateful and thankful for this donation and the difference it is making. Levison was able to take some photos yesterday and you can see that the young people have a great learning environment. Thank you. We have preloved chairs and tables that we had kindly been offered going on the next container for classroom 4. If anyone would like to help towards the cost of transporting these then please do get in touch email@example.com
When Levison was at Bright Futures Secondary School yesterday, the S1 class were having a science lesson. He managed to get some photos of them using the new microscope that we sent. It’s so good to see these vulnerable teenagers having the opportunities they deserve and a good quality education. We do need sponsors to support more students to have a place at Bright Futures Secondary School so if you are able to commit to changing the life of a young person through education then please do contact us. It only costs £25 per month and you could share that cost with a friend. Or could you commit £5/£10 per month to ensure students have a nutritious, cooked school lunch each day. For many this is their only meal of the day. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your continued support. We are still collecting school uniform and shoes and also thin rain jackets if anyone would like to help. Also, any scientific calculators, maths sets or kindles that are still in good working order. If anyone has another microscope or STEM resources (science, technology, engineering, maths) that their children have grown out of eg snap circuits, meccano, magnets, etc please do get in touch to see if we are able to make use of them. Thanks and enjoy the photos, Sarah x
As we grow, there seems to be more to do! Bright Futures Secondary School is doing well and we were so thankful that classrooms 3 and 4 were finished in time for the new term starting last month. Classroom 4 is currently being used as a staffroom and for teaching skills for life classes, until it will be needed for a classroom next year when there will be another intake of pupils meaning there will be classes 1-4 next year.
This means we will need to build another staffroom by next September. Also, more teachers will need to be employed by next September. As the village is so rural and people are living in extreme poverty, there is no suitable accommodation available for teachers to rent. There is already some accommodation on campus for the current teachers but more needs to be built.
We were fortunate to receive a grant from The Clive Richards Foundation for staff accommodation and latrines for which we are very grateful. Levison has negotiated with local land owners and we have bought two pieces of land for The Foundation which will extend the Bright Future Secondary School Campus. One of these pieces of land is for teachers accommodation.
Land clearing has started and the builders will be arriving soon to start on the foundations and the building should be finished next month. You can see from the attached photos that there have been lots of shrubs and some quite big rocks and stones to move….all by hand. There has been another fuel shortage which has delayed purchasing items needed for the building but, thankfully, they got fuel yesterday afternoon. However, because of prices rising, fuel shortages and strikes, they are going to have to travel 50km into Tanzania to purchase cement then 50km back home again….adding to time and fuel costs. Nothing is straightforward.
On the second piece of land it is hoped that dormitories will be able to be built but, as with everything, it is dependent on finances. We would be delighted if anyone would like to make a donation towards either a second teachers accommodation block or dormitories. You could have your name, the name of a loved one or your company or club name over a door or on a building! email@example.com
One block of 4 motel style rooms with verandas will be built before the rainy season starts in the next few weeks plus more latrines will be built for the staff and students. We will need to raise more funds for a second block of 4 teachers’ accommodation that can be built after the rainy season. Great progress is being made but fundraising must continue to ensure that Bright Futures Secondary School continues to grow and thrive for the vulnerable teenagers and the community.
Money is always on our minds as we don’t have any big reserves. We are volunteers and so we have no overheads and all money donated goes to the projects we help to support. We rely on donations and fundraising and the occasional successful grant application. That is why we always talk about teamwork…we are only a small part of helping to make a difference. We need your help too!
The more teenagers we can match with sponsors, then the more vulnerable orphans will benefit from free good quality secondary education at Bright Futures Secondary School. So can you help an orphan have a brighter future with a secondary education? It costs £25 p/m to sponsor a young person and this includes a nutritious school lunch each day. firstname.lastname@example.org
For many, this is their only food each day which is why it is so important to us that they have free food at lunchtime each day. How can they be expected to study and concentrate on their lessons if they have no energy, are hungry and malnourished? How can they be expected to sleep at night if they are lying awake with hunger pains. We take a holistic approach to helping these young people and their families back to being self-sufficient and having a sustainable future.
We keep the UN Sustainable Goals in mind for all of our projects. #SDG1 – no poverty, #SDG2 – no hunger, #SDG3 – good health & welbeing, #SGD4 – quality education, #SDG6 – clean water & sanitation, #SGD8 – decent work & economic growth, #SDG11 – sustainable communities to name a few!!
Or could you commit £5 or £10 p/m to help us provide nutritious school lunches? Food prices keep going up and the crops they are growing just aren’t enough. You could help us ensure that no young person at Bright Futures Secondary School is suffering from malnutrition. email@example.com
I look forward to bringing you more photos during the coming weeks and, again, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who supports our work, Sarah x
Today is World Food Day. What does that mean? It will mean different things depending where you live in the world. For most, it will be just another day….if you have plenty of food, you might not even be aware of World Food Day. If you are hungry and do not have enough to feed your family, you may be working hard all the daylight hours you can to try to make a small amount of money.
The vulnerable children and families we support in rural northern Malawi fall into the second category. There are children with stunted growth due to lack of food and nutrition, most are suffering from malnutrition, most don’t eat properly every day. These children deserve more. They deserve our help.
As yet, there are no charities feeding children in schools in this area. Children are hungry when trying to sleep. Children are hungry when trying to study. How can we expect them to concentrate and retain information?
Children and young people miss chunks of school to try to earn a pittance to buy food. Children are walking 15km to the nearest maize mill, with someone else’s maize, with no food or water, risking attack along the way.
We send money to feed 500 children once a week. It’s not enough but it’s all we have funds for. Food prices are constantly on the rise. Children are walking up to 20km for this one nutritious meal of the week.
We need help to feed these children in the short term, and we also need help to feed them through sustainable means. Crops are being grown to supplement buying food, however it’s not enough. Fruit tree saplings have been planted to provide future food and a future income. However, it’s not enough. Hens eggs are being hatched in the incubator but this is taking time to build up the flock.
The end goal has always been sustainability for this community but, with food prices going up and up we need help, feeding so many children. Please help us?
Soon the rainy season will start and this is the perfect time to plant more saplings. Can you help us buy more fruit tree saplings to plant in the orchard to provide food security in years to come? Can you help us to buy banana tubers? And more sweet potato vines? firstname.lastname@example.org
Or could you commit to £5/£10 p/m to help pay for more food at the feeding programme/school lunches? Or to sponsor a teenager’s education at Bright Futures Secondary School it’s £25 p/m which includes a nutritious cooked lunch each day.
Our bank details are; Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, a/c 21081462, s/c 80-22-60. Your help would be very much appreciated as we help support this community towards a brighter future where all children have food to eat every day.
We keep the Sustainable Development Goals in mind for all the projects we help to support. However, just related to food in this project we are aiming for all these Sustainable Development Goals; #SDG1 – no poverty, #SDG2 – zero hunger, #SDG3 – good health & wellbeing, #SDG4 – clean water & sanitation, #SDG10 – reduced inequalities, #SDG11 – sustainable communities, #SDG13 – climate action. Please be part of the team that helps these vulnerable children towards a brighter, sustainable future? Thanks, Sarah x
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
We are really fortunate to have Christine Cresswell as one of our trustees. Christine is a talented artist and donates the proceeds of her artwork to our charity to help fund the projects we support in Malawi. I will do another separate post with a selection of paintings soon.
As well as being a talented artist, Christine is also my mum. We have had cards printed from some of her beautiful paintings. I have spent a couple of hours at mum and dad’s dining table today. Dad was tasked with counting cards, mum was counting envelopes and I was putting the two together in cellophane bags.
These cards are blank inside so are suitable for any occasion, or a pack could be given as a gift. They are a bargain at £5 per pack of 8 cards (same design) plus p& p of £2.50 per pack. (I can check postage rates for multiple purchases).
My parents also, very generously, paid for the printing of these cards, so every penny from the sale of each pack will be going towards the projects we help to support. email@example.com if you would like to order some cards.
Yesterday was an amazing day for the rural cluster of schools who have been learning to play touch rugby. All the schools came together for a tournament. These vulnerable children and young people will remember this experience for a very long time as they don’t get opportunities like yesterday.
On Monday, Jack Mphande Malawi Rugby Union’s Rugby Development Officer, worked with two teachers from each school to train them up to be able to continue teaching and coaching touch rugby within their own schools and to more students. This is in line with some of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals; #SDG3 Good Health and Wellbeing, #SDG4 Quality Education, #SDG5 Gender Equality and SDG11 Sustainable Communities.
We too are working towards some of these goals in all of the projects we are helping to support, keeping these in mind as we try to ensure that children have more to eat, have clean drinking water, quality education as the community works towards self-sufficiency. #SDG1 no poverty, #SDG2 zero hunger, #SDG3 good health and well-being , #SDG4 quality education, #SDG5 gender equality, #SDG6 clean water and sanitation, #SDG8 decent work & economic growth, #SDG10 reduced inequalities, #SDG11 sustainable communities, #SDG13 climate action, #SDG15 life on land are the ones we are concentrating on but all of them are relevant and important.
During the week, Jack visited each of the schools to work with the teachers and students and yesterday was tournament day! Each school taking part was given a new (to them) sports kit that we had sent via Bananabox Trust who organise the container. We have had several individuals and clubs who have generously donated sports kit to us to share where it is most needed. This is extending the life of the sports kit and keeping it from landfill. Also, it is making the recipients extremely happy. Some people to thank for the kit I can see in these photos (and please do let me know if I have forgotten anyone); Merchiston Castle School, Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club (via Wear a Sports Shirt Day), Fakenham Town FC (via Wear a Sports Shirt Day) Seafar Villa Cumbernauld (via Paul Goodwin). Many thanks for these donations. As you can see your generosity is making a big difference to these young people.
It was important to us that all children taking part in the rugby development had something to eat and drink. There are no organisations feeding children in primary schools in this area in the north. All of these children are hungry. Many are suffering from malnutrition. Thanks to the generosity of individuals who have supported this initiative to introduce rugby in the far north of Malawi, we were able to send money for the children to have snacks and water each day they were playing at their schools. Yesterday, at the tournament, all children and young people had a nutritious, cooked lunch, a snack and bottled water. They were also given some pens and pencils as a gift to take back with them.
All of these things, we take for granted; easy access to sport, new clothes, food and clean water, school supplies and organised events. For these children, none of this is taken for granted. None of these things are ‘normal’. So yesterday would have meant the world to them. So we thank you all very much for enabling yesterday to happen. All children and young people should be able to learn new skills and take part in sports and we are very glad that Jack Mphande was able to visit and give these vulnerable children new opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
So, this is far more than just a few games of rugby. It is someone spending time with these children who (until recently) were largely ignored. It’s making them feel special. It’s helping their self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s about teaching them new skills and discipline and teamwork. It’s about having fun with their friends. It’s allowing them time to be children and forget about the trauma they have experienced with family members passing away and the extreme poverty they are living in. And the fact that they have had a good lunch and pens and pencils to take home…. we cannot possibly know or understand how much yesterday meant to these children and young people.
Jack, thank you for your hard work and enthusiasm. We look forward to your photos from next week when you repeat this week with different schools. And, on your next visit, it will be interesting to see how rugby is developing and how many young people are enjoying playing rugby regularly in school and also as a pass time with their friends. Thank you so much, Jack, for investing time in the children and young people we help to support.
By the end, everyone was tired but happy. There was no transport to get everyone to the tournament so all had to walk there and back as well as playing which is another reason we wanted to ensure they were well fed. Also, I just wanted to remind people that although these are primary schools, some of the young people are teenagers desperate for an education. They have missed lots of school to work for a pittance to buy food. The older they are, the poorer their family.
Enjoy the photos and videos and thank you again everyone who supports us to support these vulnerable children and young people, Sarah x
Today, Stuart and I started packing boxes ready for the next container going to Malawi. We’ve had these amazing kids football strips from Riverside Football Club in Stirling. They were donated to Replay Sport Scotland who passed it to us for use by the vulnerable young people we help to support in rural northern Malawi.
Replay Sport Scotland have already donated sports clothes to our charity which are currently on their way to Malawi. We look forward to seeing photos of those clothes and also the Riverside Football Club kits when they arrive in Malawi.
Thank you Riverside Football Club and thank you Replay Sport Scotland. These donations will make a big difference to the young people who love playing team sports. Thanks, Sarah x
This year’s S1 students at Bright Futures Secondary School. They have received gifts of uniform, shoes and school bags.
Sarah’s blog 20/09/23
Firstly, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has donated school uniform and school bags for the vulnerable students at Bright Futures Secondary School. Levison said that one of them had said ‘we never expected to have such good quality clothes as this’. So thank you for making a big difference to them and helping them feel important and valued for a change.
Secondly, another huge THANK YOU to the charity Sal’s Shoes Our Story – Sal’s Shoes (salsshoes.com). We were gifted three big boxes of shoes for the teenagers at Bright Futures Secondary School. We are very grateful for this support and we know the young people are delighted to have proper shoes to wear. It has such an impact on their confidence and self-esteem that people who don’t even know them have shown they care about the students by donating uniform and shoes. Now they all look smart and are able to have a sense of pride in their appearance. Proper shoes are also very important when the young people are walking the long distances to and from school across rough ground. Thank you again Sal’s Shoes for all that you do, all the hard work of your volunteers and for everyone who donates shoes to you to pass on to those who need them.
Here are photos of the new S1 students at Bright Futures Secondary School. All of them are vulnerable. All have been given shoes, uniform and school bags. The Only a few of them have sponsors to support their education through secondary school. If you are able to support one of these young people then please do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org It’s £25 per month to sponsor a young person. Or you could commit to £5 or £10 per month to help pay for school lunches. Each student gets a nutritious cooked lunch each day at Bright Futures Secondary School….for many it is their only proper meal of the day. These young people cannot be expected to concentrate and learn if they have no food in their tummies. Your help would be very much appreciated. The more people who help us support these young people, the more young people we can help and then we can offer places at Bright Futures Secondary School to additional young people. Thank you, Sarah x
S3 students at Bright Futures Secondary School deserved a treat for passing their S2 national exams
Sarah’s blog 13/09/23
Schools across Malawi started back on Monday. We were so thankful that the new classroom block at Bright Futures Secondary School was finished in time for the new term starting.
We decided that the S3 students deserved a treat for passing their S2 national exams. The whole class passed and this story was even picked up by the national news. An amazing achievement for some of the most vulnerable students in Malawi. Many of them are orphans. Most don’t eat properly every day (apart from their cooked lunch at school) and most have missed school at some point to try and earn a pittance to buy themselves and their families some food.
After lessons finished on Monday, the S3 students were given bottles of fizzy drinks and sweets. These are things they would never have. They also had a meal of goat meat, rice, beans and vegetables. Again, meat is something that they might only have once or twice a year at The Feeding Programme. Rice is far more expensive to buy than maize so they don’t usually have rice either. Everyone was really happy and delighted to have these unexpected treats. The students were telling their friends in S1 and S2 how they must work really hard to pass their exams too.
The aim at Bright Futures Secondary School is to keep class sizes smaller than the average to ensure that these vulnerable students get the attention they deserve. However, class sizes remain very small as we need more help to feed everyone. Food prices continue to rise and students must be fed as, for many, this is their only meal of the day. How can they concentrate if they have not eaten? If you can help by either sponsoring a teenager’s education or commit a monthly amount towards school lunches then please get in touch email@example.com . The bigger the team who are supporting school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School the more young people we can help to educate.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the school project; Bright Futures Secondary School is an amazing learning environment. There will be more photos and videos later in the week as school supplies are handed out. Thanks again, Sarah x