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.

The Day Before School Starts

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Sarah’s blog 6/11/22

It’s been a very busy weekend! Levison had the local dignitaries visit Bright Futures Secondary School on Friday prior to opening. The teachers arrived on Friday afternoon and have been settling in. You can read the full story from Friday here: VIP Visitors to Bright Futures Secondary School – Changing Lives Malawi

Boxes of supplies that we sent were opened yesterday containing: blankets, soap, toothbrushes & toothpaste, towels, pads of paper, calculators, dictionaries, filled pencil cases and bags. There is some preloved school uniform too, although not enough. We get lots of donations of primary school uniform but not high school ones. So, if anyone has preloved secondary school uniform they no longer require then please do email me. Also, school shoes for teen boys and girls are needed too. email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Today, the teachers have met to discuss the timetable and make plans before the children arrive tomorrow. It may take a few days for news to reach absolutely everyone that the school has opened so, hopefully, most children will turn up tomorrow or Tuesday. Also, it’s a difficult situation because so many teenagers are coming every day to ask for a place at Bright Futures Secondary School. Everyone is desperate for an education and a way to a brighter future.

Unfortunately, Levison is having to turn most of them away. As we are a small organisation, and building a school is a huge undertaking, we are having to build the school in phases. We are also keeping class sizes smaller than some schools, so that children have a better chance at a good education and to achieve. Eventually, we hope to have two classes in each of the four years of secondary school, with 45 children as the maximum in each class. However, this year we will have one class of S1, one class of S2 and a smaller class of S3 students, giving them all plenty of attention from the teaching staff.

Thank you so very much to all of you who have helped to fund the building of phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School. We really could not have achieved what we have without you. You will see from the video that the staff accommodation is nearest, and the school is in the far left as it pans round. I keep saying it’s all about teamwork and each of us have a part to play in the team that is supporting these orphans and other vulnerable children. Thank you.

If anyone would still like to contribute, we still need money for desks for the children https://gofund.me/44a92444. Thank you all, Sarah x

Just some of the resources we sent to support the children’s learning

The Foundation with the new staff accommodation front right and Bright Futures Secondary School far left.

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.

This year’s p8 students

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Sarah’s blog 21/08/22

These young people have been really busy and have recently taken their primary school leavers exams. We have our fingers and toes crossed for them that they all pass and have good enough grades to continue onto secondary school.

They have all written letters to their sponsors. They aren’t confident at writing letters as they don’t have many opportunities so this is good practice for them.

Hope you enjoy the photos and reading what they have written. Thank you to all their sponsors for changing their lives and giving them new opportunities. Sarah x

Madalitso Ng’ambi has made a bike!

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Sarah’s blog 15/6/22

I love this photo and these videos that Levison has sent. Madalitso, a 10 year old boy has worked hard to build himself a bike out of bits of scrap and old wheels that he’s found. Can you guess what the wheels were from? An old suitcase! He’s having such fun and is able to forget about his problems for a while. Well done Madalitso…this looks great fun and your bike is brilliant! Hope you enjoy the videos, Sarah x

Look at that smile! His hard work and skills have paid off…well done Madalitso!
Madalitso is having great fun on his homemade bike!

Photos of children who have sponsors (primary & nursery)

Photos of primary and nursery children who are sponsored. Thank you so much to their sponsors for changing their lives.

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Sarah’s blog 11/6/22

**There are just a few children missing from this…once Levison gets their photos this week I will add them here ** Also, a few children’s ages were out slightly…it’s much harder to keep proper records there and occasionally children have got their ages wrong…these details have all been taken from school records. For example little Brighton who was helped last weekend said he was 7. He’s not quite 7 yet…so hopefully that explains any discrepancies. Any information I post is in good faith but I apologise if I get anything incorrect. Anyway….enjoy these photos and I’ll add the others very soon.

The schools are on holiday for two weeks so we thought it was a good opportunity to take photos of those who haven’t had their photos taken for a while. Unfortunately, Levison’s motorbike broke down yesterday (only a small part that needs fixing) but that took him away from his plans to get the rest of the children’s photos.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every sponsor who is making a difference to these children’s lives. All of the photos are of sponsored children at primary or nursery….apart from Rodrick. He was there when his big sisters were getting their photos taken and he wanted his photo taken too! So if anyone does want to sponsor a child…Rodrick hasn’t got a sponsor and there are also children in a post from earlier this week whom I highlighted. Sponsorship is only 85p per day….£25 per month. Two friends could split the cost between them and sponsor a child together. It makes a HUGE difference to these children who know that someone really cares about what happens to them. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . Hope you enjoy the photos, Sarah x

Good News for Ketti & Temwa – these sisters have been matched with sponsors!

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Sarah’s blog 7/6/22

Today has been a good day for matching vulnerable children with sponsors. Changing the lives of these children and giving them food, clothes, education and opportunities is such a privilege to be part of. We always say it’s about teamwork and we cannot support The Foundation to help these children without you. To each and every sponsor we thank you and are very glad you have agreed to help the child you support.

The Mlenga family consists of a mother on her own, struggling to bring up her 6 children. Rodrick and Lucia were photographed in October 2021 at The Foundation. They had turned up in rags…Rodrick with no top. You can see by their tummies that they suffer from malnutrition. They were fed and given new clothes and I put out an appeal for sponsors. It wasn’t until recently, however, that a sponsor came forward asking to be matched with Lucia. Levison visited the Mlenga family home to tell Lucia and mum the good news and that they would be receiving a food parcel every month. Mum was very grateful.

Looking at the ages of the 6 children and the classes they are in at primary school, we can see that the older children have had to go to work and miss school to help mum try to feed the family. The younger children have attended school whilst the older children’s education has suffered. Now, thankfully, I have managed to match the two older girls with sponsors so there will be three monthly food parcels going into that home to supplement the meagre amount that they manage to earn. I can’t imagine how difficult life must be for this family but thanks to three generous sponsors their lives have just changed for the better. We are so grateful to every sponsor who agrees to be a helping hand to one of the vulnerable children we help support.

Now 89 children and young people have a sponsor to give them opportunities they would not previously had. These children know that someone cares about them. They know that they haven’t been forgotten. They now have hope for a better future. There are also a few children who are the most vulnerable who do receive help despite not being sponsored. I will feature them another day to see if we can match them with some help. Thank you sponsors for making this happen. To Ketti and Temwa’s sponsors….thank you again for changing these sisters lives.

There are lots more children waiting to be matched with a sponsor to help improve their lives. Can you be a helping hand to one of them? You can sponsor as an individual, a family or two friends can share the £25 monthly cost. Or your club, business or church could sponsor a child or family. Who will be sponsor number 90? Please do get in touch if you think you might like to join our team of sponsors email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thank you for reading and for your support, Sarah x

It’s a great day for Brighton!

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Sarah’s blog 7/6/22

I’m so pleased to be able to share the news that little Brighton Ng’ambi has a sponsor. I have been emailing with a lady today who has kindly offered to be the helping hand that Brighton needs. Thank you so much! We appreciate all our sponsors…it’s not easy for some to set aside £25 every month to commit to sponsoring a child. But it might be the most important thing anyone has ever done for them. We understand it is a big commitment which is why we say that two friends can sponsor a child together if they would like.

Brighton, an orphan, now has the helping hand he needs. He will receive clothes, a blanket, welfare checks and a monthly food parcel as well as being encouraged to access the weekly feeding programme. The gift of sponsoring a child is priceless. More food means better concentration and growth. A blanket means a better sleep. New clothes means more confidence and self-esteem. All of these together add up to better school attendance and learning and a happier healthier child.

As well as the Feeding Programme, children have access to the library with lots of lovely books to read and are being taught how to use computers (although there is no internet yet as that is an extra cost we cannot afford at the moment). They are encouraged to learn life skills like growing crops, cooking, sewing and knitting, basket making, mat weaving and brick making. They also learn to care for the chickens and goats. Children are cared about holistically and love to play team sports when they are at The Foundation; football, netball, rugby and also hockey.

So on behalf of Brighton, and all the other sponsored children, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are making a difference. You are helping us continue Changing Lives Malawi. There are lots of other children waiting for a sponsor so please get in touch if you would like to be part of our team of sponsors contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com You can change a life today. We will update you about Brighton when we can. Thank you for reading and your support, Sarah x

Yay! Good news for Brighton. He has a sponsor! Thank you!

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

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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

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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

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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

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