Happy New Year 2023

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Sarah’s blog 2/1/2023

Happy New Year to you all. Wishing you health & happiness in 2023.

We are looking forward to another busy and successful year. Our biggest achievement in 2022 was raising enough money for phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School to be built, providing education and a way out of extreme poverty for some of the most vulnerable teenagers in rural Northern Malawi. In 2023, we must continue our fundraising so classrooms 3 & 4 can be built by Sept 2023 in order that students can continue their education in Bright Futures Secondary School.

There are many obstacles; heavy rain (it’s the rainy season now), Cholera has closed schools in the south of Malawi (thankfully there are no cases in the far north so far), malnutrition and hunger, rising costs in Malawi, and never having enough money to do everything that needs doing or helping everyone who needs our help.

However, despite all these obstacles that are put in our way, we are changing lives. With your help, we are making a difference. We are a lifeline to hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

We need you on our team now more than ever. As we continue to grow, we need more volunteers. Because our charity is run by a small group of dedicated volunteers, all money donated goes to the projects we support and no money is spent on admin. Here is what you can do to help us:

  1. Can you share our posts?
  2. Can you make a one off donation?
  3. Will you commit to a £5 or £10 donation each month to help us continue to feed malnourished children?
  4. Will you take part in a sponsored event for our charity?
  5. Can you host an event within your community or business on our behalf?
  6. Can you pay £20 for a box of books to be sent as part of The School Literacy Project?
  7. Can you sponsor an orphan for £25 a month to give them a brighter future?
  8. If you are in central Scotland, will you invite us to speak at your church, club or school?
  9. Can you organise collections of stationary, preloved school uniform, shoes & books for us?
  10. Are you good at fundraising or grant applications? or any other skills? we’d love to hear from you!

here is the link to the fundraiser for Bright Futures Secondary School. Each classroom costs approx £10,000 https://gofund.me/44a92444 or you can email me contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

My birthday is in 2 days time and I’d love it, if anyone has any spare pennies, that they help me raise some money for a microscope and some other science equipment for Bright Futures Secondary School https://www.facebook.com/donate/465142452480110/

Be part of our team, Changing Lives (in) Malawi and making brighter futures for hundreds of vulnerable children and their community. Let’s make 2023 a wonderful year for the children of Ibuluma. Let them know that they are known and people care about each of them. Please help us continue Changing Lives Malawi.

Three quotes from the late Archbishop Desomond Tutu: ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’ ‘Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of insetimable value.’ ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’ He was a very wise man.

Happy New Year from the team at Changing Lives Malawi! Thank you again. Enjoy these photos, Sarah x

Asante didn’t have shoes or a backpack, so he decided to make himself some out of a cardboard box! Very inventive! We found him a sponsor who sent a backpack and shoes for him. Asante was delighted with his gifts!
In the heavy rain last year, Blessings, his two siblings and their mum were made homeless when the roof of their home collapsed. This was the (better) home they were able to rent from someone else. We managed to match his two siblings with sponsors but Blessings is still waiting for a sponsor, as are many other children. We would dearly love to be able to start looking at better homes for the poorest families.
Education is the way out of extreme poverty. As part of our School Literacy Project, Chambo Primary School received 17 boxes of books to help the children become more confident readers.
Children are learning how to type on the computers in Emma’s Rainbow Library
With support from Welding Engineers, eco stoves are being made for the most vulnerable in the village. Here, one of the volunteers is preparing food for the children.
Esau came to The Foundation only wearing shorts. As you can see he was delighted to pose for photos wearing his new clothes. Esau is still waiting to be matched with a sponsor.
Children in the nursery were given new clothes and were gifted a wooden train set to play with
The children of all ages help with taking care of the fruit tree saplings. You could help with this project by buying 4 saplings for £10
The clean water supply and the shower block have made a huge difference to the vulnerable children who are supported by The Foundation. We want to do more to provide other clean water supplies and more latrines to help with hygiene and preventing cholera in this area.

Football Tournament

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Sarah’s blog 22/9/22

This is only a short post…it’s been a hugely busy week in Malawi (and also here).

The young people are on holiday from school and Levison and team thought a football tournament between local teams would be a good idea. So that is what has been happening today and will conclude tomorrow.

Unfortunately, Levison has been busy with other things today so there is just one short video clip of a match, however I have been promised more photos tomorrow!

This is going to be an annual event and we decided that it would be nice to name it after someone who has been very good to The Foundation. Julian Chenery, whose charity is Wear a Sports Shirt Day, works tirelessly every weekend (and sometimes midweek too) going to football clubs, schools, other sports clubs etc to collect preloved sports kit that can be reused by those who need it. He supports lots of organisations. Julian has supplied the Foundation with football kit, hockey kit, tracksuits, Christmas jumpers and Santa hats over the few years we have known him.

So, this is another opportunity to say thank you to Julian for supporting us and The Foundation. More photos and videos from ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day Football Tournament’ will follow. Sarah x

Bright Futures Fundraiser – join in!

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Sarah’s blog 30/6/22

Every child, no matter where they are in the world, deserves an education. Let’s build a school! We need you on our team.

Here is the link with the information you need to join in our challenge! https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9 It is a huge challenge for our team to travel the 13,144 km that is one of the routes the container travels. It also includes the journey from here (Balfron, Scotland) to Dundee to the Bananabox Trust warehouse and in Malawi the distance from Ekwendeni which is the final destination of the container back to Chitipa that Levison will make. We have used Chitipa as the nearest destination on all maps to The Foundation.

https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

So we are looking for families to join in as well as serious athletes and gentle walkers. Oh and bored teenagers who would like to keep their fitness up over the school holidays – we’d love to hear from you too! Maybe you could have an element of competition with your friends? Do you need to learn something new for your Duke of Edinburgh Award? Or do some volunteering? This challenge could be used for either of those.

The more people who help us, the quicker we can do this challenge. The more people that take part and are sponsored, the more money we raise. The more people who share our posts then the wider the audience so we aren’t always asking the same people. We would absolutely love people right across the world to take part in our challenge. This is a challenge to raise funds to build a secondary school for some of the most vulnerable children in Northern Malawi. It would be fantastic to have people from our global community taking part and raising funds to build a school and give the gift of education.

The challenge starts tomorrow, 1st July, and you can do as many or as few kms as you want. Please ask your friends to join in and please ask people to sponsor you. Together we can keep Changing Lives Malawi. Together we can build a school. Land clearing has already started and bricks are being made. Thanks so much for your continued support and let me know if you have any questions, thank you, Sarah x

https://forms.gle/twQYfx7LRRrtvdhx9

https://gofund.me/44a92444

some of the first bricks being made for Bright Futures Secondary School

Rugby Friends – Thank you for the amazing donations!

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Sarah’s blog 30/5/22

A few months ago, the young people in Northern Malawi had never heard of rugby let alone played it. A charity and friend of ours, Community Sports Leaders Africa arranged for Jack Mphande, Malawian International Rugby Coach, to travel north to introduce rubgy in the Chitipa District.

Jack spent a few days with sports leaders teaching them about touch rugby. Levison picked Jack up and took him to The Foundation where Jack spent a couple of days with some of the young people. Jack introduced them to touch rugby, teaching some coaching skills and playing a few games. The time Jack spent at The Foundation, including food for all the children involved, was paid for by generous donations from three of our supporters. Again we thank them for facilitating this.

I don’t think we can comprehend what a visit like Jack’s has meant to the orphans and other vulnerable children. And also to Levison and his team. The hundreds of children supported by The Foundation had no hope. They had no help. Malnourished, and in rags, and having experienced the trauma of family members dying, life was unbearable.

Fast forward a few short years and they have new clothes, are being supported through various projects including The Feeding Programme. They are being nurtured. They know The Foundation is their safe place; a time to be with friends, a time to learn and a time to relax and forget about their troubles. For an important person like Jack Mphande, a Malawian rugby coach, to visit them was amazing. For him to take an interest in them. For him to learn their names. For him to spend time with them. For him to teach them new skills. For him to laugh with them and praise them. For the orphans and other vulnerable children that must mean so much. Self-confidence and self-esteem are growing all the time.

These children now have hope of a better future. They know that people care about them. They know they are important. There is still so much to do but so much has been accomplished already. I keep saying that we cannot do this alone, it’s always about teamwork. So to everyone who has already helped us and supported us to help the vulnerable children – thank you. If you are reading this and think you’d like to get involved, you will be very welcome contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Strathendrick RFC, our local club, have already made some donations of kit and rugby balls which came in very handy for Jack’s visit. Now we have generous donations from Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh and Annan Rugby to collect from Edinburgh soon. We are so grateful to the network of people who have enabled these donations. They will make such a difference to ensuring that rugby in the Chitipa District of Malawi, in the far north, continues to grow and thrive. Many, many thanks to you all. These donations will be packed up to go on the next container which takes about three months to arrive. There will be photos of the donations once they arrive but, in the meantime, here are just a few of the photos and videos from the first Rugby Camp for you to enjoy.

If you’d like to get in touch to donate money to our school fundraiser, or to support the feeding programme, or sponsor a child or anything else then please contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com Thanks for reading, Sarah x

A few people to thank

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Sarah’s blog 29/04/22

We are always very grateful for the kind and generous people who support us. Whether it’s donating pencils, or shoes, driving boxes to Dundee, sharing posts, helping with fundraisers or sponsoring children….we thank you as we couldn’t help the hundreds of vulnerable children in Northern Malawi without you.

I want to thank four lots of people today who have helped us recently;

  1. Aquamarine.media in Devon have been helping us with our website and using their expertise to help us reach more people. We are very grateful for their input. Thank you Alona and Geoff.
  2. Strathendrick FC 2003/2 sections had been running in Balfron for 12 years. Now that the players have all left school and are no longer playing, the leftover funds have been shared with some local charities and UNICEF. We were delighted to be one of these charities and the money donated will help us a great deal. Thank you very much.
  3. Another Strathendrick but this time Strathendrick RFC have supported us again with more rugby kit to send to the children who have just started playing. This time they have donated a big bag of rugby balls, a box of cones and some water bottles. Once again, your support is very much appreciated. Thank you.
  4. Dumbarton FC Walking Football Club have donated a big bag of training kit and waterproofs which will be very valuable to the children in Malawi. Thank you so much for donating this. It’s very kind of you.

Rugby day 1 – “It amazed me because it was like they have been playing the game for sometime” – Jack Mphande

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Sarah’s blog 24/03/22

First of all I’d like to thank Jack for spending time at The Foundation. Also Andy from Community Sports Leaders Africa for organising and paying for Jack to travel north to Chitipa. Thank you to Strathendrick Rugby Club for donating rugby balls and to the people who donated money to make this possible…thank you so much.

Jack Mphande who is a Malawian rugby player and coach is at The Foundation to introduce and teach some of the young people to play rugby.

Jack and Levison have been sending me photos and I’m going to share some of the things Jack has said about the children.

“There were a good number of players….very intelligent”

“We managed to introduce the game and make some basic drills and played some games”

“It amazed me because it was like they have been playing the game for some time”

“Good handling and passing”

“They really enjoyed it and everyone is looking forward to the afternoon session”

During the morning session they were able to play on a local football pitch but that was being used in the afternoon so they were at The Foundation grounds after lunch. Eventually the clouds became darker and darker and then the rain started so everyone headed inside for a talk about rugby skills.

There are some great action shots in the photos, especially of a girl called Mphatso. Just look at the joy and concentration on her face. She’s having such a good time and it’s wonderful that the children, who until a few years ago have been used to being excluded and forgotten, are now having amazing opportunities to learn new skills. I’m so pleased it’s been a successful day and that it’s been such an enjoyable time for the children. Enjoy these photos …I’m sure they won’t be the last! Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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Rugby Coaching with Jack Mphande, Malawian Rugby International

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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

Rugby Camp – w/c 21/3/22

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Last week we found out that Malawi International Rugly player, Jack Mphande, is heading north to introduce rugby to the young people. Thanks to Sports Leaders Africa for sponsoring his trip.

The children start two weeks school holiday tomorrow. There is a four day course starting on 21/3/22 to which 6 young people from The Foundation can attend. On the Friday, Jack is spending a day at The Foundation supporting the 6 young sports leaders to put their new skills into practice with some of the younger children. Strathendrick RFC donated rugby balls for which we are very thankful. A plan is coming together!

We have had 3 generous donations to fund 3 young people to attend this course. We would love 3 more rugby fans to sponsor a child each to attend the course. Their total expenses will be £40. So if you are a rugby fan and would like to encourage future rugby fans in the far north of Malawi we’d love for you to support a future sports leader to attend the course. If you can gift £40 that would be amazing or even £10 would be a great help if a few people donated. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com

Victoria and Elisha are two of the young people who have already been selected. Hopefully, another 4 will be going with them. Thank you rugby fans, Sarah x

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