International Children’s Day

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!

Help please for these children

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.

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!

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

New t-shirts -thank you!

Sarah’s blog 30/09/22

These lovely blue t-shirts were sent by Julian of whose small charity is called ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’. Julian collects sports clothes and other clothes like school uniforms every weekend to send on to people who will make good use of them. He’s previously sent boxes of gifts to The Foundation including football strips and boots, tracksuits, hockey equipment and Christmas jumpers and hats. We are very grateful to him for all he does and to the people who donate to him.

I’m going to be doing a few posts over the weekend as there is so much going on at The Foundation! It’s exciting to see the school building progressing and the children will be adding some more kilometres to our total virtual fundraising journey over the weekend. The link to the fundraiser is https://gofund.me/44a92444

Julian thank you again and thank you to all our supporters. We couldn’t do what we do without your help. Thanks for reading and supporting. Sarah x

l-r: Chance Kaonga, Laston Nyondo, Loveness Siyame, Austed Silungwe, Tryness Sichamba, William Nyirenda, Weston Nyondo, Bonface Nyondo, Maria Chizumira, Peter Kaonga and Obrain Nyondo are all delighted with their new t-shirts.

‘On the road again…’

Sarah’s blog 2/8/22

Didn’t someone sing a song about that? Yes… now I’ve got that tune in your heads… the answer is Willie Nelson!!

Stuart and I packed some more boxes and took 16 of them to Dundee today to The Bananabox Trust warehouse to be processed and then await the next container.

Whilst at the BBT warehouse I took some photos to show Levison the chairs that are being sent for the school and a few tables. Hopefully, we will find more secondhand tables here to prevent them going to landfill or local carpenters will make desks in Malawi.

Only a short blog today… wonder if I can add our kms to the challenge? Lol I think that answer will be ‘no’ but I’ve added a map to show you the route of the first 111km that the boxes travel. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Here’s the link if you’d like to add a few £££ to our fundraiser to build a school https://GoFund.me/44a92444

The children need food

Sarah’s blog 20/7/22

Running a Foundation is a huge responsibility and the rural location of The Foundation adds to the pressure that Levison is under.

There are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the far north of Malawi. The responsibility has fallen to The Foundation to feed 500+ children once a week. Children are walking from up to 20km away to have that one substantial meal each week.

This is all we can afford at the moment. There are so many calls on finances as we try our best to support a community back to self-sufficiency.

The Foundation teaches life skills to the children and young people. Growing crops is part of the skills the children learn. Unfortunately the crop of maize was affected by the flooding earlier this year and part of the crop was washed away. This year’s crop will only feed the children for two months.

The price of buying maize fluctuates throughout the year depending on availability and time of year.

The Malawian Kwacha was devalued a few months ago and all prices have gone up. However, maize is more than double the price it was this time last year.

Thank you to the few people who have given £5 per month towards the feeding programme as we have been grateful for this to top up the money we send each month to feed the children.

We know that we are asking for a lot of help but the more people who know about our charity and The Foundation, the more we can spread the help we need across more supporters. So I urge you to please share our posts and also tell your friends about us and the help we need.

All of us in the U.K. are volunteers and no money is spent on admin costs as we donate our time, petrol for transporting boxes to Dundee etc. So you can be sure if you donate money for feeding children, that’s where it will go.

Please, please can you donate £5 per month towards our feeding programme? I need 20 people to commit to £5 per month to enable the children to still be fed a substantial meal each week at The Foundation.

Please, if you can, donate £5 p/m by emailing contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com for bank details. The children have come to rely on that one substantial meal each week…we can’t let them down.

Please help us continue helping the children by donating £5 per month for food. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to help feed the 500+ vulnerable children today. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Some of the children having their one nutritious meal of the week.

All over the world

Sarah’s blog 20/4/22

One thing I like about our charity having a website is to see how many views there have been of the posts, which posts are most popular and all the countries in the world where people are accessing our website and reading my blogs.

Today, we have had visitors from the UK, USA, Ireland, Spain, Malawi and even as far as Israel! Yesterday, we had views from China, and two days ago we were viewed from Canada. Thanks so much for looking at our website. Hopefully, you’ll be able to share with your friends and family about how we are supporting so many vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi.

Here is the link to my fundraiser from my earlier post. We are raising funds for a desperately needed school. Thanks for reading and your continued support, Sarah x

https://gofund.me/bd6578d7

Juliet Ng’ambi asking for a school

Sarah’s blog 13/4/22

A few young people were at The Foundation yesterday. Levison took videos of Laston (yesterday’s post) and Juliet Ng’ambi appealing for a school in their village. Juliet is also in p8 and is worried that, even if she passes her exams, she won’t be picked for a place in secondary school in January as there aren’t enough places.

I’m confident that by growing our team of supporters we can make this a reality and help hundreds of vulnerable children out of poverty through education.

We need your help. I need your help please. Can you organise a coffee morning where you live? Or an event with your friends? Do your teenagers need volunteering opportunities and could help us with a sponsored event? Are you experienced at applying for grants? Can we come and speak at your club or church? I would love to hear your ideas of how you can help the children have a school in their village…so they can all go to school and be the best they can be.

contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com to chat about how you can help or for bank details to make a donation. Or you can donate via this website or by texting SCHOOL to 70560 . I know we can do this together to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

When the first few picture books arrived at The Foundation

Juliet Ng’ambi asks for a secondary school in her village so there are enough places for all children

Each child deserves a chance

Sarah’s blog 6/4/22

These amazing children need a helping hand to reach their potential. To be the best they can be. Isn’t that what we all want for our children? Each of these children suffers from malnutrition. They need more food, clothes, education. Can you be a helping hand for one of these children? It’s only £25 p/m to sponsor a child. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com please look at each photo and help a child today. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

“Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others” – Martin Luther King Jnr

Sarah’s blog 7/3/22

Today, a villager called Mzolewa, came to help at The Foundation. The significance of people volunteering to help is huge. Local people can see that Levison and his team are working hard and making a difference to their village and to their children. A villager coming to help shows they support The Foundation. A villager coming to help means they see that good is happening in that area and that everyone will benefit in the future.

Mzolewa helped to prepare an area for planting flowers and was staking tree saplings to protect them and help them grow. Thank you to Mzolewa and to everyone else who shows support to Levison and his team who are working long hours to change the lives of hundreds of the most vulnerable children. Your support means more than you realise. Your support brings a boost and a little bit more energy to continue supporting the most vulnerable who need a helping hand. Thank you for your support and thank you for reading, Sarah x

A villager volunteering at The Foundation
A volunteer from the village helps make a flower bed at The Foundation

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Sarah’s blog 17/2/22

We should be kind every day but are we sometimes too busy to actually stop and think about others?

As a charity, working closely with The William Stewart Foundation in rural Northern Malawi, every day we think about the vulnerable people there and how we can help improve their lives and help them towards self-sufficiency. Money (or lack of it) is usually the biggest issue with all the wonderful plans and wishlists.

Given my background, I am usually thinking about feeding children, accessing education, clothing them and generally nurturing them. The Foundation is doing a wonderful job of feeding 500 children every week (a substantial and nutritious meal) and having over 80 children and young people with sponsors giving them access to education and a monthly food parcel.

One of our other trustees has brilliant ideas….well most of them are brilliant ideas…he is used to being told that some of his ideas aren’t so good.

I think what I am trying to say is that there is a huge amount of enthusiasm and passion to see the vulnerable children and adults in Ibuluma succeed. For their lives to change for the better. For them to have more chances. For them to become self-sufficient. For malnutrition to be firmly in the past. For literacy and numeracy to improve, for people to have jobs and be very, very proud of what they have achieved through hard work and huge struggles.

As I said, lack of money is always the issue. Everything costs money. Apart from kindness. Kindness costs nothing. On our website there is a new document (you will see the link in red on the top right of every page) about our feeding programme. If you can afford to help us with the feeding programme committing £5 or £10 per month to provide more food for the children then please get in touch as that could be your Act of Kindness today. Or could you sponsor a child for £25 per month?

Or if you cannot afford to donate money, your Act of Kindness for these orphans and vulnerable children could be to like and share our posts to reach more people and hopefully future sponsors. Liking and sharing posts costs nothing but would be extremely kind. It also gives us a boost when we see people liking and sharing posts so what will your Act of Kindness be today? Please help us continue helping the orphans and other vulnerable young people by showing your kindness and support today? contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading and for being kind, Sarah x

Good news for two girls – the gift of education

Sarah’s blog 26/11/21

Levison asked me to put an appeal out for sponsors for Eunice and Maria. They were both desperate to get to secondary school, both hard workers and Eunice has been described as being a bright girl. Thankfully, a generous supporter contacted me and offered to sponsor both these girls to make their dreams of secondary education come true. There are still lots of young people waiting for that chance and if you can help to give them the gift of education it’s less than £1 per day….you can share this cost with a friend or a business could sponsor a child. Can you make a young person’s dreams come true? Thank you for joining the team that supports these young people. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com . Thanks for reading, Sarah x

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