International Children’s Day

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Sarah’s blog 20/11/22

Every day is a day to celebrate children but today is International Children’s Day. Today I am thinking about the hundreds of wonderful, resilient children we help to support in rural northern Malawi. Despite the fact that they have all experienced grief, trauma, malnutrition, poverty and hardship, they get on with things and make the best of life. Many have missed out on a proper childhood as they have had to work long hours, missing school, for a pittance to try to help feed themselves and their family.

We are helping to change their lives. We need your help. We are a team, each with our own part to play. These vulnerable children need a team around them to help nurture them and help them thrive. They are fed once a week at The Feeding programme. We would love to do this more often if we had more funds. If you would like to support the feeding programme for 500+ children by donating a monthly amount, then please email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

The Child Sponsorship Project matches the most vulnerable children with sponsors. The children receive clothes, a blanket, a monthly food parcel, welfare checks, and secondary education. If you are able to sponsor a child, then please do get in touch. It is only £25 p/m to sponsor a child and it might be the most important thing you ever do for these very vulnerable children. You can sponsor as an individual, a family, a business or share the cost with a friend. Please do let me know if you could help give a child a brighter future. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Here are some of the young people who have just started at Bright Futures Secondary School and who need your help. Please will you sponsor me? – Changing Lives Malawi

We are also looking for people who can commit £5 or £10 per month (or an amount of your choice) to help support hot, nutritious school lunches for the teenagers at the new school. Is this something you can do? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Bright Futures Secondary School – phase 1 has been completed and welcomed new students two weeks ago. We are continuing to fundraise for desks, more textbooks, and towards building classrooms 3 & 4. If anyone is able to donate £500 or over, they can have one of the classrooms named after them (or the name of a business etc). The school fundraiser is here https://gofund.me/44a92444

The School Literacy Project is ensuring that children have access to books on a daily basis. We are sending boxes of books to primary schools in rural Northern Malawi. How can children learn to read if they don’t have books to practice with?

Sports – Children and young people are playing football, netball and rugby. They can forget about their problems whilst playing with their friends. They are learning new skills and becoming more confident. Team sports are good for physical and mental health.

There are so many other ways that the lives of the hundreds of vulnerable children that we help to support are changing for the better. We want them to have choices and opportunities. We want them to be the best that they can be. We want them to have brighter futures. We want them to learn to be self-sufficient. They also want these shared goals. Please do read through the different pages on our website and my blog pages for all the things that the children are doing and getting involved with.

Sinclair House School Fulham

At the start of the year, I was offered school uniform from a preparatory in London. Sadly, the school was closing due to covid and lockdown, so there was lots of uniform that needed a new home. We were very thankful to be offered this for the very vulnerable children we support in rural northern Malawi, and we were grateful too for the donation made towards covering the cost of sending the boxes on the container.

As this was a school for younger children the uniform is obviously in smaller sizes. However, because of malnutrition and poverty, the 500 plus children that are supported through various projects, are a bit smaller than the age sizes stated on the clothes. So here are some of the first boxes of uniform from Sinclair House School that were given to children this morning. There will be more given out during the week, and some will also be given to children at a nearby primary school. As you will see, some of the teenage students at Bright Futures Secondary School were able to fit into the largest size of the sportswear and they were delighted to receive these. The girls were pleased with their trousers too… culturally girls and women only wear dresses and skirts, but teenage girls are beginning to ask to wear trousers.

I hope you enjoy the photos. One young person that I will show you photos of to show just how much having a sponsor can change a life is Laston. He lives with his grandmother. He missed so much school as he was helping a farmer with his cows and being paid approximately £1.50 per month. He was depressed and hungry and only had the clothes he was wearing. His life has changed thanks to his sponsor. Please, on International Children’s Day, consider helping to change the life of another vulnerable child who is waiting. Thank you for reading and for everyone who supports our work, Sarah x

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

l-r Maria, Margaret, Laston and Brian are delighted with their new clothes they received today

In the picture on the left, Laston only has the clothes he was wearing. His shoes have holes at the front as they are too small for him. He missed lots of school to work for a farmer, helping with his cows, for £1.50 per month. Thankfully, we were able to match him with a sponsor and he is doing well at school.
Some of the students at the new school – Bright Futures Secondary School
Margaret is delighted with her new clothes
Maria loves her new clothes and is enjoying wearing trousers!
Some of the students at Bright Futures Secondary School
Thank you for their new uniform
Students looking very smart in their new uniform
Maria is looking very smart
Brian looking smart in his new uniform
Thank you for the donations Sinclair House School
Margaret in her classroom
Maria
New cardigans for these younger girls
Lots of happy children with their new clothes
Thank you for the new smart uniform
looking very smart in their blazers!
Very smart in new shirts and navy shorts
Thank you for my new blazer!

Emily and Catherine

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Sarah’s blog 19/11/22

This is the story of Emily and Catherine, two girls who have greatly benefitted from being part of the sponsorship programme.

When students have taken their primary school leavers exams, they are placed according to their grades. The ones who have the highest grades are offered a place at Wenya Secondary School, then after that Chisenga Secondary School.

Part of the reason Bright Futures Secondary School was built, and is so important for the community, is that there are not enough places on offer at Wenya and Chisenga for all students who passed their primary school leavers exams. Those with the best grades get chosen for a secondary school place. The rest do not get a place and have to either leave school with only primary school qualifications, or resit p8 with the hope of getting better exam results the following year and being offered a place at Chisenga. All secondary school education must be paid for. If you cannot pay, even if you are offered a place, then you cannot go. Students at Bright Futures Secondary School, who are the most vulnerable, will not have to pay any fees.

Emily and Catherine both did so well in their primary school leavers exams that they were offered places at Wenya Secondary School which was an amazing achievement for them. They have been encouraged and supported and are thriving and working hard. They have just started in 3rd year at Wenya after passing their second-year exams. They made these short videos before they returned to school and are both growing in confidence which is lovely to see.

When they were originally picked to go to Wenya school, and others were picked for places at Chisenga, I had a huge shopping list of what needed to be purchased for all the students. I suggested that Levison take Emily and Catherine with him on that shopping trip to help him. He had to hire a car as there was so much to buy, and the three of them had a great day. It was the first time the girls had been to town and the first time they had eaten in a restaurant. Good experiences for them before going to their new school.

So, if you needed proof that being a sponsor CAN change lives and DOES make a difference, then Emily and Catherine are great examples of how you could get involved and change a child’s life. There are so many others like Emily and Catherine just waiting for someone to take a chance on them and give them the gift of education. It’s only £25 per month and you can sponsor as an individual or share the cost with a friend. It might be the most important thing anyone ever does for a very vulnerable young person in rural northern Malawi. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Please will you sponsor me? – Changing Lives Malawi

Catherine Nyondo
Emily Mkwala
Two years ago, just before starting at Wenya Secondary School, Emily and Catherine helped Levison with the school shopping list for themselves and the other sponsored young people. It was the first time they had been in town and at a restaurant for lunch. It was a great day for them.

Please will you sponsor me?

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Sarah’s blog 14/11/22

The teenagers who have started at Bright Futures Secondary School have all had a very difficult life. Some have had an extremely hard time. They have had to miss a lot of school to work for a pittance to try to earn a few coins to contribute towards food in their homes. That’s why they are all older than you would expect. The older they are, the more school they missed and the longer they have had to work.

Some young people not yet been matched with a sponsor. Having a sponsor will help pay for their place at school. It will help towards the stationary they need, the exam fees, uniform, other clothes, a blanket, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste, a wind-up torch and a school bag. It will also help towards providing a nutritious hot meal each lunchtime.

It’s £25 per month to sponsor a child. You can do this as an individual, as a family, a business or a club or two friends can split the cost. This might be the most important thing that anyone ever does for one of these young people. As well as financial support, they will know someone cares about them. They will know they are important and that someone is willing to invest in their future. Can you be a sponsor to one of the young people please? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

We recognise that the commitment of being a sponsor is not for everyone, so we are also looking for people to commit to £5 or £10 per month to ensure that all the students receive a nutritious hot meal each lunchtime. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com These teenagers need a team around them in order that they can succeed and be the best they can be. They need to be warm and have food in their tummies to be able to concentrate on their studies. They shouldn’t be so cold at night they can’t sleep. They shouldn’t be so hungry that they can’t concentrate. They have been given the gift of education and they need to have the opportunity to succeed. Please can you be part of the team supporting these young people to be the best that they can be?

Here are some of the young people who need your help. Please do get in touch if you would like to support one of them or support our school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School. Thank you, Sarah x

First Day of Bright Futures Secondary School 07/11/22

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Sarah’s blog 07/11/22

What an exciting, historic day for Ibuluma! The first day of secondary school in the village at Bright Futures Secondary School. It is for orphans and other vulnerable children. It is giving them an opportunity for an education and a brighter future that they would not normally have had. Secondary school needs to be paid for in Malawi and none of these children or their families would be able to afford to pay.

We are expecting more students to turn up this week as word spreads that the school is now open for lessons. Some young people will have been doing manual work to bring in a small amount of money at home whilst they were waiting for school to start. All of the young people who have been offered places this year are known to the Foundation and receive support via the feeding programme and other projects. In future, when more classrooms have been built, students from other primary schools other than Chambo primary school will be able to attend.

As you will see, there were enough chairs today which have been ‘borrowed’ from the library. Any more students coming later in the week will have to sit on mats on the floor. There are 130 chairs on the container that should be arriving in the next three or four weeks. Desks are something we are still fundraising for and more textbooks so if you are able to support the young people with this then we (and they) would be very grateful. https://gofund.me/44a92444 Enjoy the videos and photos, Sarah x

The new S1 class at Bright Futures Secondary School

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Sarah’s blog 2/11/22

Levison and I have been making more lists today. Here is the list of the young people who are being invited to start at Bright Futures Secondary School when it opens on Monday 7th November.

These young people are all having the chance of secondary education and a brighter future thanks to everyone who has been supporting us to ensure the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School was built. None of these young people’s families would have had the funds to send them to the nearest secondary schools. As they are quite far away, the children would have had to board making it even more expensive. Also, there are not enough places for everyone and if you don’t get picked to go to secondary school then you don’t go.

There are fourteen young people who are sponsored, the rest need sponsors. They are all vulnerable and attend The Feeding Programme each weekend and benefit from having new clothes from The Foundation. You are helping us change these children’s lives. Education is a way out of poverty and a brighter future. These children do not have enough to eat. Some do not eat every day. How can they learn properly if they are hungry? We want to be able to feed all the children at Bright Futures Secondary School with lunch every day.

I am asking for more people to join our team to support Bright Futures Secondary School and its students. By sponsoring a vulnerable young person, you are helping to pay for their education and the things they need for school, clothes, a blanket, welfare checks and food. This costs £25 p/m and you can sponsor a child as a single person, a family, a club or business or two friends sharing the cost. Or, for £5 or £10 per month, you can support school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School. Please email me to let me know how you would like to help contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Or you could contribute to desks and school supplies here https://gofund.me/44a92444 We always say it’s about teamwork. We need you on our team. The children need you on their team to support them to succeed at Bright Futures Secondary School. Even £5 or £10 commitment a month, with enough people, will make a big difference to the health and wellbeing of these very vulnerable children. We need to do our best to ensure they can be the best they can be, which is what we want for any of our children.

Here is the list of new S1 students at Bright Futures Secondary School;

Mervice Chellah, Chipiliro Chirambo (S), Brenda Kanyika, Monica Kanyika, Eunice Kaonga (S), Emmie Mfungwe, Emmah Mgala, Lyness Mnyenyembe, Lilian Mtambo, Carren Ng’ambi, Mercy Ng’ambi (S), Mirriam Nyirongo (S), Agness Nyondo, Mary Nyondo (S), Astridah Nyondo, Lughano Sibale, Margaret Sibale (S), Efrida Silungwe, Rosemary Silungwe, Alvert Chizumira, Timothy Kaonga (S), Wongani Kaonga, Laston Mbambala (S), Iveen Mbughi, Brian Mnyenyembe (S), Gift Mnyenyembe (S), Mastano Munthali, Julius Ng’ambi, Lameck Ng’ambi, McPherson Ng’ambi, Philimon Ng’ambi, George Nyirenda, Brave Nyondo, Pilirani Nyondo, Lama Sibale (S), Junior Sichamba, Moses Sichilindi, Amos Simphosya (S), Aaron Sinyinza, Mercy Mbale (S), Elisha Ng’ambi (S).

Can you find it in your heart to sponsor one of these vulnerable young people please? Or can you make a monthly commitment to school lunches at Bright Futures Secondary School? I look forward to hearing from you and I’m very grateful for all the support we receive. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Laston a few months ago asking for a secondary school to be built…. his wish has come true!

Help please for these children

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Sarah’s blog 24/10/22

As I’d said in my post yesterday, I am looking for some help and support for a family whose dad had died suddenly on Saturday. There are three children and their mum, but they’ve lost their main breadwinner. They were living in poverty anyway, but now they are desperate.

Help needed!

It was the burial today and Levison attended with some others from The Foundation. He took cabbages, maize and some small fish for the family and they were very grateful.

There are three children, and I am just as concerned about the eldest boy who is 19 as I am about the younger two children. Vincent never got the chance to finish primary school as he was working to help bring in a pittance to help feed the family. So, he doesn’t even have primary school qualifications and hasn’t had much schooling. He doesn’t have a job and I am worried about his self-esteem, especially now he is the head of the household. Vincent needs a job to keep him busy and to give him self-confidence as well as bringing some money into the home. Hopefully, Levison will be able to talk more with Vincent next time he visits on his way to town.

The younger two are at primary school and really do need sponsors. Mitinala is 14 and must have missed some school too as she’s only in p7. If the family don’t find some help, then Mitinala is at real risk of being married off too soon as her mother won’t be able to feed her. Despite child marriages being illegal, unfortunately, they do still happen. For lots of the girls whom we have already managed to match with sponsors, child marriage was a real risk. By giving them a monthly food parcel at home and keeping them in school, these girls are now safe.

Canani is 9 and in p4. He needs a sponsor to ensue some food goes into their home each month and therefore he will be more likely to stay in school and not have to work. These children need food in their tummies every day so they can concentrate at school. Please will you help them?

I’m looking to get a little team round this family, whether it’s someone sponsoring one of the children or several people giving £5 or £10 a month to give this family a monthly food parcel. What can you do to help today? To sponsor a child, it is £25 per month. They get a monthly food parcel, clothes, soap and stationery, a blanket and welfare visits. You can sponsor as an individual, a family or as two friends splitting the cost. I really hope that these children touch your heart, and you are able to help them even if it’s just a few ££ per month. Please email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you can help us change these children’s lives. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Help needed!

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Sarah’s blog 23/10/22

We have some sad news and are hoping that some of our lovely supporters might help us.

The team of builders who have been working hard on Bright Futures Secondary School had the weekend off and went home. Levison heard late yesterday that one of the builders had died suddenly which, of course, has been a big shock. This man had a wife and children, although I don’t have details of the children yet. They are poor people and live in a village on the way to Chitipa town.

The funeral is tomorrow and Levison and a few others will attend. Levison will take some maize for the widow and her children. Although he wasn’t an employee of The Foundation, this family have lost their husband and dad. They no longer have his financial support. We would like to be able to help them like we try to help other families who are in need.

Would anyone be willing to help this family either by sponsoring one of the children when I have more information or by committing to a monthly amount towards a food parcel? You can email me if you can help and, hopefully, we can get a little support team around this family. Thank you, Sarah x

Two little girls have a sponsor!

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Sarah’s blog 22/10/22

Great news! Two little girls have a sponsor. This is a single parent family with three children. Mum is really struggling to feed them. We were introduced to these children last month when Levison saw them walking the huge distance to the maize mill with someone else’s maize. They would walk all day with no food or clean water to drink. It’s a long, hard journey carrying their burdens. It’s also a dangerous journey so children stay together to reduce the chance of being attacked along the way.

Below is the original story I posted about them.

You’ll see from their ages and the classes that they are in at school that they have missed some education, especially the oldest, as they will have had to work for a pittance to help bring food into the family home. Thanks to the new sponsor, there will be food going into this home each month, the children will be given blankets and soap and they will have new clothes. Thank you for making a difference.

You can imagine, when there are over 500 orphans and other vulnerable children to support, there can be many challenges along the way. One of these is that some children are called by different names by school, at home and by their friends. The children had told Levison their names were Martha, Hope and Joseph. However, Levison has asked that we use their proper names that are registered at school to avoid confusion when checking records and speaking to the teachers.

So here is a family whose lives have been changed for the better through a kind sponsor having read my previous post. Their mother was crying with happiness when she heard that her daughters would now be supported. It’s less than £1 per day to sponsor a child and there are many, many children who would benefit from having a sponsor. You can sponsor as an individual, a family or share the cost with a friend. Or a club or business can sponsor a child and we will, of course, give your business some publicity. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to change a life today. It might be the most important thing you ever do for one of these very vulnerable young people. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

NB I will be doing an appeal over the next couple of days on behalf of another family who desperately need a helping hand. Sarah x

Life has been very hard. Mum cried when she heard that her family now have some support.
Mphatso has missed a lot of school. As the eldest child, she has had to be working to earn some money to help feed her siblings.
Roda will benefit from having a sponsor as there will be two food parcels going into the home each month and the children will receive new clothes and blankets. Hopefully, they won’t be going to the maize mill with other people’s maize.
Chikumbusko will receive new clothes and a blanket and benefit from having more food at their home via two food parcels each month. If anyone would like to sponsor him then please get in touch.

More Building updates

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Sarah’s blog 17/10/22

Things are progressing well with both the staff accommodation and the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School.

The staff accommodation has been having windows put in during yesterday and today and will need painting and doors fixing. Apart from a bit of tidying up outside, that will be it ready!

The builders have finished their work on phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School and the carpenters are working on the roof. There are still some jobs to do after that but it’s exciting to see it taking shape! It won’t be long until the first students arrive.

A teachers latrine block is also being constructed and, when finances allow, we will be building another girls and another boys latrine blocks.

The children still need your support. As yet we still need to find money for windows in the school block, doors, chalkboards, desks, more textbooks and notebooks.

Can you help us help the children please? We are nearly there but need your support to give the gift of education to some of the most vulnerable teenagers in rural Northern Malawi. They wouldn’t normally be able to afford secondary school without help. At Bright Futures Secondary School, none of these vulnerable children will have to pay anything.

Here is the link to our fundraiser and we would be so grateful if you could spare a few £££ for the children. Https://GoFund.me/44a92444 Let’s give the gift of education! Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

At sunset – the wooden roof supports on the first phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. Please help us complete this phase https://GoFund.me/44a92444 Let’s build a school!

The roof is going on the first phase of the school… two classrooms are being built in this phase
The carpenters have been working hard today please help to get it finished https://gofund.me/44a92444
The staff accommodation is almost complete. Female teachers will be offered accommodation due to the remote location. Eventually there will be male staff accommodation too.
Bright Futures Secondary School is taking shape… thank you to all who have donated so far
Putting the windows into the staff accommodation block
Female teachers will be offered accommodation
The staff accommodation is almost ready

Mwiza Mtambo

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Sarah’s blog 2/10/22

Everything takes so long to get to Malawi that we sometimes forget about the lovely things that have been sent until they get there!

Mwiza has additional needs. He has low muscle tone and we thought it would be a good idea for him to have a chair to support him some of the time rather than him lying down when his muscles were tired.

We didn’t want to get a normal height folding chair as it would be difficult for him to get in and out of without him falling and hurting himself. Mwiza’s sponsor bought this chair and I think they’ve made a great choice. Levison went to the Mtambo house this morning and said Mwiza was delighted with his new seat.

Sometimes it’s the little things that we take for granted that can make all the difference. Thanks to Mwiza’s sponsor, for his trainset and toys sent previously and his new chair, his life is just that little bit better.

“How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.’

Morgan Freeman
Mwiza relaxing in his new chair, thanks to his sponsor

Sisters – Naomi & Modester

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Sarah’s blog 21/9/22

When The Foundation was still quite new, Naomi brought her baby sister to the Foundation to ask for food. Naomi was delighted to be able to feed her hungry baby sister, Modester. They had been very recently orphaned and it was a huge responsibility for Naomi to look after and feed her baby sister.

I thought it was such a powerful photo that Levison took that day. Naomi was happy that she could feed Modester, having gone through the grief and trauma of being orphaned. They have both been living with their grandmother since then. I have used that photo lots of times since then as it tells the story of what these orphans and vulnerable children go through and the difference The Feeding Programme makes to hundreds of children, even though it is only once a week.

The Foundation is a refuge for children in need. They know they will have someone to talk to, someone to listen to them. Someone to play with. Somewhere to forget their problems for a little while. A safe place to just be children.

I was delighted when Levison sent me a photo of Naomi and Modester the other day. Naomi is now 14 and in p8 and Modester is 5 and attending the nursery. They are both doing well but it would really help them if they could have a sponsor. We’d love to see them continue to thrive and have an additional food parcel going into their home. If you could sponsor one of these sisters, then please do let me know. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It is £25 per month to sponsor a child which you can share with a friend to half the cost. It might be the most important gift you give to one of these girls. Please help?

Thanks for reading and please do let me know if you can help. Sarah x

Naomi and Modester when Modester was a baby and they’d both just been orphaned. And now age 14 and 5 looking well.

9 year old Happy needs a sponsor

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Time goes by so quickly and I can’t believe this post was from 1/1/2019. So much has happened since. Thankfully, Levison now has a motorbike (bought with money generously donated by Strathblane Kirk ) and also a truck. Levison sees this little boy, Happy, from time to time, but I hadn’t seen a photo of him and am delighted to see him looking well. Happy is 9 years old now. The family was gifted a wheelchair for him from a charity in another district. Lovely to have an update thank you Levison.

It would really help Happy and his family if someone could sponsor Happy so that he has a food parcel each month, regular welfare visits, books, blanket, soap etc. If you could sponsor him it’s only £25 per month or two friends could share the cost. Email me at

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com if you’d like to help. Thanks for reading and supporting, Sarah x

(the wall of the skills shed is now looking a bit scruffy as so many children lean on it so some paint has been bought and some older children will be helping with painting that wall)

Original Facebook Post from 1/1/2019 LEVISON’S SPECIAL NEW YEAR OUTREACH

We said earlier that Levison was on a special outreach today.
He went to see Happy, the little boy who is paralysed, whom we met some months ago in the video, and his family, to give them gifts.

Sarah and Stuart bought a chair for Happy and other kind people donated gifts just for him –
Terry nappies, waterproof pants, sudocream, soap, solar light, blankets, clothes, and a selection of toys to help engage him as he is unable to get to school.

His mother was overjoyed, and she cried with tears of happiness.

Poor Levison, though. His bike has done so much hard work and the trail was hard to Happy’s house. On the way back his bike broke, and he had to walk home, but hardy as ever he has made it home.

Happy and his mum when Levison went to visit them with gifts we and other supporters sent 1/1/2019
every journey was long and difficult with only a bicycle
Happy, age 9, is needing a sponsor to help make things a bit easier for him and his family. Can you help please?
Happy was gifted a wheelchair from a charity in another district. It’s great to see him.
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