Elias & Adam – mat making (update on Elias Sichoni)

Sarah’s blog 13/5/22

As you saw the other day, children were busy with different activities at The Foundation. One group of children was learning to make mats. They use these mats to sit on and sleep on so they aren’t just lying on the bare floor. Levison has sent me an update today of two boys, very pleased with themselves, having finished their mat. They will make another one next time as one boy will take this one home.

Quite by coincidence, I noticed that one of these boys, Elias Sichoni, is a sponsored child. I looked back at photos of him when we first appealed for a sponsor just over a year ago. The change in Elias is amazing. I am so pleased to see these photos. Yes he is still thin but compared to how he looked previously it’s great to see his progress. Previously, he was in rags and his eyes were lifeless as he was so hungry and malnourished. This is exactly why we do what we do – working hard for these children to change their lives in an holistic way.

I wish everyone could see read my blog, look at these photos and understand that this means so much to see that we have made a difference to Elias. Elias has a chance now at a better life and I am just delighted to see how happy he is. Thanks to his sponsor, and all the other sponsors, we are able to support The Foundation to help these most vulnerable children. If you ever wondered if being a sponsor would make a real difference….just look at these photos. There are lots of other children needing sponsors and it’s only £25 per month to make a difference. Two friends can split the cost making it only £12.50 per month each. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to change a life today. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Sponsored – Granda Nyondo

Sarah’s blog 31/3/22

Each of the children who are supported by The Foundation is an individual. Each child is important. We don’t know all their names. Levison does, but there are approximately 800 (up to age approx 22) who have been or are supported by The Foundation through one project or another. Maybe they’ve been given a blanket and some shoes. Or they also attend the feeding programme or the Christmas Party.

My local high school is in the village where I live. I suppose providing for all those children whom The Foundation supports might be like me having to help every single child in our local high school with clothes because they were all wearing rags. Having to provide shoes for every child at my high school as they are barefoot. Having to feed all those children as they are all suffering from malnutrition to varying degrees Imagine if all those children at my local high school just had one substantial, nutritious meal a week? And how would we feel as parents, grandparents, carers if we couldn’t feed or clothe our children?

Granda came to The Foundation asking for help because her family was absolutely desperate. Because they were hungry. Because she saw her mum’s struggle. Because Granda herself was at risk of being married off as a child bride as her mother couldn’t provide for her children. Granda is the oldest child of four. Their mum is bringing them up alone.

Immediately, Levison visited the family to chat to the mother as well as the children. Some maize and soap was given to them as well as clothes for the children. We put out an appeal for sponsors to help this family. Luckily Granda and one of her brothers, Isaac, were matched with kind sponsors who came forward to help. The family are doing far better now. Yes life is still a struggle but they have regular food coming into the home to supplement what mum earns. Granda will have her secondary school fees paid so her education will continue and thankfully she will not be married off too soon as a child bride. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have that threat hanging over you. Thankfully, for Granda she no longer has to worry about being a child bride.

Look at these photos to see how being sponsored is making a difference to her phyiscally and mentally. Her smile, on receiving some gifts from her sponsor, is just beautiful to see. Her sponsor also said it made her day to see Granda smile like that. Thank you to all our sponsors and if you would like to make a difference to a child like Granda then please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com It’s always about teamwork and we need your help to help us continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

A boy and his backpack

Sarah’s blog 30/3/22

I know I’ve been blogging a lot recently…sorry about that….but not sorry really as there is so much going on and I’m just trying to pass on all the good news stories to our supporters.

This story started last July. A boy at The Foundation making things out of old cardboard boxes. Levison observed what he was doing as he was absorbed in his task. He made himself flipflops and a backpack out of cardboard as he didn’t have real ones.

Asante is a clever boy who loves using his hands to make things. Levison took photos and sent them to me. We decided that he should receive a real backpack of his own. I put a post up to show people what Asante had been making and how good his cardboard rucksack was.

Two ladies, mother and daughter, were quick to offer to sponsor Asante. A while later they put together a parcel for him and he has received it today. Levison told me how happy Asante is and he is very, very thankful. I’ll put up the original photos for you to see what he had made using cardboard and his imagination. Compare those to today’s photos. His smile says it all. Thank you ladies for sponsoring Asante and for making him smile. It’s made my day too. Thanks for reading and supporting us to support the children and continue Changing Lives Malawi, Sarah x

This year’s S1 students

Sarah’s 29/03/22

Whilst the first year students were back from secondary school for the school holidays last week, they each had their photo taken and were asked to write their thoughts by answering a few questions. I hope you find their answers interesting. If you’d like to sponsor a young person to help them achieve their potential then please get in touch contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com it’s only £25 per month to change a child’s life. Thanks, Sarah x

Rugby Coaching with Jack Mphande, Malawian Rugby International

Sarah’s blog 23/3/22

There are a few small charities, supporting the most vulnerable in Northern Malawi, who work together when we can and also learn from each other as some are more experienced in certain areas than others.

We helped Andrew Bottomer, of Community Sports Leaders Africa, to get boxes of sports equipment to the people he works with in Malawi, not far from The Foundation. Andrew lives in the north of England so we met him in Edinburgh and took his boxes with ours to The Bananabox Trust in Dundee to await the container. Then Levison collected and delivered Andrew’s boxes to where they needed to be. Amongst those boxes were lots of rugby balls.

Community Sports Leaders Africa has paid Jack Mphande’s expenses to Chitipa for him to be able to teach rugby there for the first time. He’s been busy teaching adult coaches who have loved learning about and playing rugby and Jack’s enthusiasm for the game has been infectious. Jack plays rugby at international level so we are delighted that he is going to spend time with 25 young people teaching them basic rugby training which they can then teach their peers and younger children.

You’ll notice from the ages of the young people that they are all older than you’d expect for the class that they are in. All of these vulnerable young people have missed school, some more than others, to try to work for a pittance to make enough money to buy some food. One boy, who is thankfully now sponsored and doing well, worked for a farmer with his cattle for the equivalent of £1.50 per month…which hardly buys anything. Thankfully, more children are attending school now that they are fed by the weekly feeding programme. Unfortunately, young people in their last year at primary school are busy studying…hopefully they will be able to attend a future course.

The young people who have been picked to attend this first rugby coaching course are; Brian Sichamba, 16 (S1), Chancy Chisale, (S1), Moses Ng’ambi, (S1), Titus Ng’ambi, 14 (S1), Makayiko Simkonda, 13 (p5), Chimango Nyondo, 13 (p6), Chigomezyo Nyondo, 12 (p5), Hopeson Nyondo, 14 (p7), Fumbani Sichamba, 15 (S1), Elisha Sichamba, 15 (S1), Walusungu Nyondo, 12 (p5), Lameck Kanyika, 16 ( ), Manase Nyirenda, ( ), Chancy Kaonga, ( ), Chickumbutso Mtambo, 14 (p6), Pemphero Mbyghi, 13 (p7), Victoria Kayange, 16 (S1), Maria Chizumila, 16 (S1), Elizabeth Nyondo, 13 (p6), Tyness Sichamba, 15 (p6), Mitren Nyondo, 12 (p6), Tryness Sichamba, 16 (S1), Esther Nyondo, 16 (F1), Tamandan Nyondo, 15 ( ), Granda Nyondo, 13 (p7). (Lameck, Manase & Chancy K are the team making the eco stoves so not at school). We are very glad that 14 out of the 25 young people have been matched with sponsors…. if anyone would like to sponsor one of the other 11 taking part in the rugby, or any of the other children you’ve seen on our posts, then please do get in touch. It’s only £25 p/m to change a child’s life.

We are looking forward to bringing you lots of photos and we want to thank Jack for his time and sharing his talents with the children at The Foundation. To meet someone famous will be a new experience for them… someone they might be able to watch on tv. Opportunities like this to learn new sports and have organised events during the school holidays is still very new and exciting for them. They are orphans and very vulnerable children… why should people do things for them? Thankfully they are starting to realise that each of them is important to us. Thankfully they are starting to realise that people do care about them and are trying to improve their lives little by little. With your help we continue to be able to support The Foundation by Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Jack Mphande

Moses & Angela have sponsors

Sarah’ blog 23/02/22

A few days ago, we shared a story about a family of a (twice widowed) mother and three children. Their house had been badly damaged in the wind and rain and there was not much left of the roof. Levison helped them find temporary accommodation (which still isn’t good but better than what they had) and we appealed for sponsors for the children.

The good news is that two of the children, Moses and Angela, have now been matched with sponsors. So they will have two monthly food parcels going into that home which takes the pressure off their mum. It’s still not enough food for the whole family, as we don’t want people to be totally reliant on handouts, but at least now they can eat every day. Their mum will continue to work to provide additional food for her children. The three children will continue to be fed a nutritious, substantial meal at the feeding programme each week.

Levison is inviting the family, either today or tomorrow depending on the weather, to come to The Foundation to use the showers. The family will be given gifts of clean clothes and blankets and soap. Life will start improving for this little family because of teamwork and the kindness of our sponsors and supporters. This family will know that people care about them. Knowing people care about you makes a big difference. Together we can continue Changing Lives Malawi. If you’d like to sponsor their brother, Blessings, or another child, it’s only £25 per month. You could always split that cost with a friend if you wanted to sponsor together. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Chisenga School Visit

18/2/22

Exam fees needed to be paid by today and Angela’s school fees too now that she has a sponsor.

Levison visited the school and was able to take some supplies to the young people that had arrived on the container recently. They’ve had underwear, toothbrushes & toothpaste and other toiletries, some clothes and calculators.

All the young people are doing well and were pleased to receive their gifts and they look very smart in their school uniforms.

Levison managed to take some individual photos too, which I will post tomorrow, before the torrential rain started again. I’ve made a note of who had photos taken and will ensure that anyone who didn’t will get their photo taken next time.

Many thanks again to all the sponsors for giving these young people opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the photos, Sarah x

An interview on the radio

Sarah’s blog 2/2/22

Tuntufye Radio in Malawi interviewed Mr Msukwa the Education Advisor for the whole of Chisenga District in the north of Malawi where the Foundation is. I hope to be able to put his interview onto our facebook page but here is a summary of what he said about Levison, The Foundation and the sponsorship programme.

“Levison Mlambya does a lot of work here in Chisenga through lots of different projects. He has supporters in the UK (and elsewhere) we call it The William Stewart Foundation. There are 30 students in Chisenga school and 2 students in Wenya school. There are 19 girls sponsored and in school. I wholeheartedly appreciate the job this young man has done for us. It’s not easy to do what he does. Instead of girls getting married, they are being kept in school. Levison Mlambya already paid all the students fees at the beginning of term and all the learners are in school. I pray they work hard. I encourage them to work hard for university. He (Levison) has done a good job and hope he continues doing a good job. He has a good heart and he his a God fearing man.”

High praise indeed for Levison who works so hard for the hundreds of children supported by The Foundation. Praise that is extremely well deserved. We are extremely lucky to have him. As we keep saying, it’s all about team work. The Education Officer, Mr Msukwa, is so appreciative of how the sponsors are supporting these children, giving them opportunities and changing their lives and it is great to receive feedback like that from the authorities that they recognise that we are all making a difference to orphans and other vulnerable young people in rural northern Malawi.

We still have 11 young people who passed their primary school leavers exams who have sponsors but did not get selected for secondary school. We have been told to wait until the education authorities see what places become available due to students who cannot afford to take up their offered places at secondary school. Hopefully, our 11 will get places then. If not then we will look at hiring a teacher for them at The Foundation.

Levison’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing since that radio interview with people requesting funding for their children. Maybe one day he might be in a position to say ‘yes’ but at the moment there are still hundreds of children supported by The Foundation who need a sponsor. 80 children matched with sponsors is an amazing achievement but we do need to try to find sponsors for other orphans and vulnerable children and give them the chance of education too.

It’s only £25 per month to sponsor a young person. You can sponsor as an individual, a family, split the cost with a friend or your business could sponsor a child. Or you could commit to our Feeding Team and sign up for £5 or £10 per month to help feed the malnourished children more than once a week. On average 500 children are fed a substantial, nutritious meal every week. It’s a great start but not enough. It costs £100 to feed 500 children one meal. Some children don’t eat every day. We appreciate the help of every single person who has committed to these children…but we need to expand our team. Please can you help? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Levison with some of the children at their Christmas party. They were given new raincoats that had been generously donated and a pencil and lollipop each.

Did you know…..?

Sarah’s blog 15/12/21

I thought another few facts might be helpful as sometimes I forget that not everyone has seen all the posts from the past couple of years. If you ever want to know about anything in particular then please let me know and if I don’t know then I’ll try and find out for you.

  1. Approximately 800 orphans and other vulnerable young people are supported by The William Stewart Foundation in rural Northern Malawi.
  2. The age range is from age 4 to early 20s.
  3. There are no other big agencies feeding children in that area.
  4. Most children suffer from malnutrition and their one substantial, nutritious meal of the week is at the Foundation.
  5. At the moment we can only afford to run the feeding programme once a week.
  6. It costs approximately £100 to feed 500 children and young people.
  7. We fundraise for The William Stewart Foundation and raise awareness of the wonderful work going on to improve the lives of the most vulnerable.
  8. The cost of maize, cooking oil and so many other things have risen in Malawi recently.
  9. Changing Lives Malawi is a small group of 7 volunteer trustees, with a few others who help us, trying hard to change these children’s lives for the better.
  10. We have over 70 children and young people matched with sponsors now but there are many more waiting in desperate need. It only costs £25 per month to give a child the gift of secondary education and food.
  11. Nursery schools and secondary schools charge fees in Malawi and the majority only attend primary school.
  12. Dependant on exam results, there are 36 young people whom the Foundation supports and who now have sponsors, who will be going to secondary school in January. Before the Foundation, and sponsorship, young people didn’t go to secondary school. This is a huge achievement and is something to celebrate.
  13. Changing Lives Malawi sends money from a donation to The Foundation each month to help run the nursery for 50 children age 4-6. This meets 3 times a week and the children are given some food at each session.
  14. A clean water supply has been installed and a shower block thanks to fundraising and generous donations.
  15. We are looking for your help. Can you buy some e-cards or e-gifts? Providing a football will make a big difference as will fruit tree saplings to provide future food and income. Can you share our posts? Do you have a jar of coins or a drawer full of coins that you could donate to us please? As there are so many orphans, vulnerable young people and the elderly needing help and support, it does cost a lot to feed and support them until the Foundation becomes more self-sufficient. But we do not take any money for admin costs here…all the money you donate is used and the small team of volunteers cover the cost of petrol for taking boxes to the container, buying boxes and buying certain things to send.
  16. We are fully committed to the Foundation that the late William Stewart and Levison Mlambya founded. It is amazing what has been achieved in a few short years. So much has been done but there is so much more still to do to change the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Will you join us on this journey? Whether you have £5 to spare or £25 per month, we need you to help us please. It’s about being part of a team of helpers and we’d love you to help us Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

“Just because I can’t walk, doesn’t mean I can’t play”

Sarah’s blog 29/10/21

Mwiza Mtambo is a boy who has touched our hearts. He has additional needs. He has a sponsor and so does one of his three sisters so life is a little bit easier for this family. Life is still very hard though. The dad is sick so cannot work, the mum has to do everything and Mwiza, because he cannot get to school, sits or lies on his mat most of the time. Even if Mwiza was able to get to school, there is no local school with staff and resources to cater for children with additional needs. Life isn’t fair. “Fairness is not giving everyone the same thing. Fairness is giving each person what they need to succeed.”

My background, for those who don’t know me, is Early Years Education, Additional Needs and Social Care. Although I’m not a teacher, I love this quote as it applies to everyone who cares about children with extra needs, “Some see the disabilities, but special education teachers see the possibilities.” Whether your own children have additional needs, you’ve cared for children with additional needs or worked with them. They touch your heart and teach you so much.

Mwiza had previously been given some books in which he showed great interest and his sponsor recently sent him a wooden trainset. This will help his muscles when reaching and hand eye coordination as well as something to stimulate him whilst playing. Mwiza’s sponsor and I had bought and sent a box of resources for Mwiza as he cannot go to school.

The next part of the plan is that there are 4 sponsored girls about to leave school after doing their final exams. They obviously have to wait to find out their results in a couple of months and Levison will discuss with them what they would like to do next; a couple of them have said they would like to train to be teachers. If their grades are good enough, we will try to support them with this and apply for sponsorship grants for their further education. In the meantime, they are all going to be helping at The Foundation. It will be good for the girls to help at the nursery and also for them to visit Mwiza at his home to read to him and play with him and see what progress he makes. I will be able to support with activities if needed and we can monitor progress. A great experience for Mwiza and a great opportunity for potential new student teachers.

Also we are going to source a low chair with a back on it so Mwiza is able to have some support as his muscles tire very easily. I love seeing photos of Mwiza and I hope you do too. We will do another update to share how Mwiza is getting on. Hopefully, this is an insight into how there is so much going on behind the scenes. Each child, each family, has it’s own needs and times of hardship. We are hoping that our group of supporters will grow as time progresses so that we can help more children and families in need. We all need a helping hand from time to time. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

A few photos

Sarah’s blog 27/10/21

Hi, I’m sharing a few photos of sponsored children and the apprentices who received some clothes today. All the apprentices received work trousers and a t-shirt and some of the apprentices who are sponsored received care parcels. The apprentices who don’t have sponsors were given donated clothes by Levison.

There are some photos too from younger sponsored children who received care parcels. Each sponsored child now has their own page on our website. There have been lots of photos taken that we have to go back and look through but from now on, if there are photos taken of sponsored children like these, the photos will be posted to the child’s page. They can be accessed at any time and it will be easy to see the positive changes that having a sponsor has made. Please sign up to receive blogs and updates and share with anyone who might be interested in being a sponsor. Thanks, Sarah x

Being a sponsor changes lives

Sarah’s blog 16/10/21

I was going through some photos from a recent event and am just amazed at the difference in Laston since he has been matched with a sponsor. He was malnourished, in rags with shoes that were far too small for his feet. £1.50 was all that a farmer paid him for a month’s casual labour. Things seemed hopeless for him and his grandmother. He’s happier, feeling and looking better, has a monthly food parcel, access to the weekly feeding programme, a blanket, clothes etc. He’s just left primary school and, instead of his education being over which is what happens to most children, his sponsor will pay his fees and he will start secondary school in January. He has said he would like to become a lawyer. Lots of studying and hard work and who knows? Laston may achieve his dreams. There are 30 children who have left primary school who are waiting for a sponsor. Can you help one of them achieve their dreams? Its £25 per month contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading. Sarah x

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