Advent Calendar – highlighting projects & children – day 8


Sarah’s blog 08/12/23

For 8th December we are highlighting agriculture and skills for life.

The orphans and other vulnerable children whom we help to support learn life skills at the Foundation. They learn to grow their own food and these vegetables are used at the feeding programme in addition to maize and beans. However, with 500 children to feed, the harvest doesn’t last long.

Fruit tree saplings have been planted to ensure future food security and an income through selling surplus fruit. Many more fruit trees are needed so we would be grateful if you would purchase some fruit tree saplings. It only costs £10 for 4 saplings. Please help.

Levison, who is the director of the Foundation, is a trained teacher. In addition to that he also has a degree in Agriculture so he is able to pass on his knowledge to the young people.

Pictured here is Timothy who really enjoys helping with the crops. Timothy even appointed himself as an unofficial supervisor to some of the younger children showing them how to do the weeding and digging. Timothy is an orphan and lives with his grandmother. He is now in first year at Bright Futures Secondary School. I sponsor Timothy and without support he would not have been able to afford to pay the fees required for secondary school in Malawi. Timothy’s grandmother is a caring lady and they have a girl living with them who was orphaned and had no extended family to care for her. If you would like to sponsor a young person so they have the opportunity of education and a brighter future please email If you’d like to buy some fruit tree saplings then please donate at Thank you for helping to support Timothy and other vulnerable children like him. Thanks, Sarah x

Advent Calendar – highlighting projects & children – day 6


Sarah’s blog 6/12/23

For day 6 of the advent calendar we are highlighting good health and wellbeing. This is my favourite photo from a few years ago. An holistic approach is taken to supporting the children. There will be photos similar to this from all over the world. Children are relaxing, chatting, playing and having fun with their friends. You can see the enjoyment the girls are having from skipping with a piece of rope. This is what childhood should be like all the time. Things are improving for these vulnerable children but there is still so much that we need your support with. Together, as a team we can continue making a difference.

Hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children know that the Foundation is a safe place for them. They have all experienced trauma and very difficult childhoods. Until recently, they felt like they had been forgotten. All are malnourished. All do not have enough to eat. All are living in extreme poverty. Very basic mud or brick one room housing which let in water during the rainy season. All sleeping on the bare floor. If they are lucky they have a sheet or a reed mat to sleep on. None of the families have spare money for clothes or blankets so the children sleep in their clothes which are rags. Many are orphans, living with a grandparent or extended family if parents have died. Most have missed periods of school whilst they try to earn a pittance to buy some food for themselves and their families.

The Foundation is a place where they can just be children for a little while. Where their worries go away whilst they play with their friends. The Foundation is a place where adults will listen if they need to talk. It’s a place where they can have a shower to get clean. They receive new clothes from time to time. We send small blankets to be given to as many as possible. Some of our supporters have knitted hats for the children which helps to keep them warm at night.

They learn skills for life like planting & looking after vegetables, making mats, knitting & sewing and looking after the chickens and goats. The library is open to the children and young people and quite often teenagers will be seen reading fairy stories and other books for younger children….they have missed out on all of that. Team sports are an important part of life at the Foundation and most enjoy playing football, rugby and netball.

And of course, 500 children are fed a nutritious meal once a week. That number is expected to rise to 700 as food is scarce and costs keep rising. This is why we need your help please to keep this vital feeding programme going. We need your help to plant more fruit tree saplings to give future food security and an income when selling surplus fruit. This project will, of course, help the planet too. We need your help to get the pig project up and running so that piglets can be sold to bring in an income. And we need your help to feed the orphans. Please, if you can, will you help us?

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

Teachers’ Accommodation


Sarah’s blog 29/11/23

Thanks to the grant we received from The Clive Richards Foundation, work is progressing well on the new teachers’ accommodation block. We are hopeful that it will be finished very soon and the builders are working hard. There will be lots more photos to follow but you can see the block with rooms for four teachers taking shape.

Here are some photos and links to previous blogs. Also, here is the link to our new fundraiser to support self-sufficiency and sustainable projects for the young people we support. Giving for a Sustainable Future The next building at BFSS Staff Accommodation

World Toilet Day


Sarah’s blog 19/11/23

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. or email for our bank details 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

The new toilet block at Chambo Primary School is almost finished. Thanks to The Eleanor Rathbone Trust for the grant of £1,000.

Staff Accommodation


Sarah’s blog 7/11/23

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 Enjoy the photos and I’ll post another update soon. Thanks, Sarah x

The next building at BFSS (link to previous post about staff accommodation)

Fundraising Packs of Cards


Sarah’s blog 30/10/23

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.

Here are the selection of cards available, email us to order on

Shoes, Desks & a Microscope


Sarah’s blog 24/10/23

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 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

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.

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

The next building at BFSS


Sarah’s blog 19/10/23

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!

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.

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.

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

World Food Day 2023


Sarah’s blog 16/10/23

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?

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

Maria was in real danger of being married at age 11 as her grandparents could not feed her. We found her a sponsor and now she is thriving. Could you sponsor a young person like Maria?
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School planting sweet potato vines as part of their Agricultural Classes… could you commit to £5/£10 per month to provide food security?
one of the lemon tree saplings that was planted two years ago and is growing well…can you help provide more fruit tree saplings please?
Children at the weekly feeding programme. Could you commit £5/£10 p/m to support food security please
These two older siblings carried their one year old twin siblings a long way to the feeding programme so they could all have nutritious food. Their parents are peasant farmers and, despite working very hard, cannot earn enough to feed their family. Can you help us either by sponsoring one of the older children for £25 p/m or by helping support the feeding programme for £5/£10 per month?
Exit mobile version