Giving for a Sustainable Future

Sarah’s blog 27/11/23

Tomorrow (Tuesday 28/11/23) is known as Giving Tuesday. It started in America, being the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving Weekend. People began donating money, time or talent to charities and other good causes as a way of giving and being thankful for what they had in their lives. Giving Tuesday has grown over the years and is now a recognised day of giving to good causes.

So, this leads me onto our new fundraiser and hoping that you might give to our charity and the good causes we are supporting. Costs keep rising in Malawi and food is becoming more scarce. Hundreds of children are relying on us to feed them a substantial, nutritious meal once a week. That isn’t enough, but it’s all we can do until we can get others partnering with us to provide more.

Food – Please can you help us to keep feeding 500 orphans and other vulnerable children each week? A one off donation would be really helpful or you could set up a monthly donation of £5 or £10 if you’d prefer.

Fruit Trees – We want the community we support to be self-sufficient. They want that too. Can you please help us? Fruit tree saplings have already been planted a couple of years ago and we want to plant more. This will provide future food for the orphans and other vulnerable children as well as some fruit being sold and bringing in an income. Planting trees and bushes also helps prevent soil erosion during the heavy rains and is good for the planet. Four fruit tree saplings cost £10. Will you support this project please? If you would like to give this as an alternative gift at Christmas or for someone’s birthday then please let me know and I can send a gift card on your behalf.

Pig Project – At Bright Futures Secondary School Agricultural Lessons are part of the core curriculum. The second year students, along with their teacher, are setting up a Pig Project where they will learn to care for and breed pigs. Some of the future piglets will be given to vulnerable people in the community and some piglets will be sold. This income will go back into making the school self-sufficient as they will be able to purchase exercise books and other equipment they need. A piglet costs £45 to purchase. Would you like to buy a piglet? This could make a good alternative gift to buy for the person who has everything! I can send a gift card on your behalf stating what you have bought.

Sewing – We sent some hand turn sewing machines to Malawi and some of the older girls who have left school have been learning how to make reusable sanitary towels for all who needed them, ensuring all girls do not miss a week of school each month and, therefore, are receiving the same amount of schooling as the boys. Now, we would like to set up two or three of these girls in business so they can start making school dresses and other clothes to sell. Would you like to ensure these girls have a sustainable and better future? £50 will buy fabric that they need. I can send a gift card if you decide to buy this as an alternative Christmas gift.

Education – Secondary Education in Malawi needs to be paid for. All of the young people at Bright Futures Secondary School would not have been able to afford to continue their education without help and support. Could you pay for a student to attend school for a month please? It costs £25. Or you could become a sponsor to a student for £25 p/m. These vulnerable young people, many of whom are orphans, deserve a better and brighter future. If you would like to pay for this option as part of an alternative Christmas gift, please do let me know and I can send a card to the recipient on your behalf.

As you can see, we cannot do this alone. It is always about teamwork. Please will you join our team to help support these children as we work towards a sustainable and self-sufficient future for them? They deserve every opportunity to be the best they can be. They deserve choices and chances. They deserve to know they are important and that people care about them. If you would like to support one of the above projects in particular then please do put that project against your name when making a donation, otherwise we will allocate funding between the projects. Many thanks for your continued support. Together we can make a difference and continue Changing Lives Malawi. Thanks, Sarah x Donate here:

Feeding some of the vulnerable children once a week

Students at Bright Futures Secondary School planting sweet potatoes as part of their agricultural lessons

Exam time at Bright Futures Secondary School

Giving Tuesday Logo

We keep the Sustainable Development Goals in mind for all of our projects

World Food Day 2023

Sarah’s blog 16/10/23

Today is World Food Day. What does that mean? It will mean different things depending where you live in the world. For most, it will be just another day….if you have plenty of food, you might not even be aware of World Food Day. If you are hungry and do not have enough to feed your family, you may be working hard all the daylight hours you can to try to make a small amount of money.

The vulnerable children and families we support in rural northern Malawi fall into the second category. There are children with stunted growth due to lack of food and nutrition, most are suffering from malnutrition, most don’t eat properly every day. These children deserve more. They deserve our help.

As yet, there are no charities feeding children in schools in this area. Children are hungry when trying to sleep. Children are hungry when trying to study. How can we expect them to concentrate and retain information?

Children and young people miss chunks of school to try to earn a pittance to buy food. Children are walking 15km to the nearest maize mill, with someone else’s maize, with no food or water, risking attack along the way.

We send money to feed 500 children once a week. It’s not enough but it’s all we have funds for. Food prices are constantly on the rise. Children are walking up to 20km for this one nutritious meal of the week.

We need help to feed these children in the short term, and we also need help to feed them through sustainable means. Crops are being grown to supplement buying food, however it’s not enough. Fruit tree saplings have been planted to provide future food and a future income. However, it’s not enough. Hens eggs are being hatched in the incubator but this is taking time to build up the flock.

The end goal has always been sustainability for this community but, with food prices going up and up we need help, feeding so many children. Please help us?

Soon the rainy season will start and this is the perfect time to plant more saplings. Can you help us buy more fruit tree saplings to plant in the orchard to provide food security in years to come? Can you help us to buy banana tubers? And more sweet potato vines?

Or could you commit to £5/£10 p/m to help pay for more food at the feeding programme/school lunches? Or to sponsor a teenager’s education at Bright Futures Secondary School it’s £25 p/m which includes a nutritious cooked lunch each day.

Our bank details are; Bank of Scotland, Changing Lives Malawi, a/c 21081462, s/c 80-22-60. Your help would be very much appreciated as we help support this community towards a brighter future where all children have food to eat every day.

We keep the Sustainable Development Goals in mind for all the projects we help to support. However, just related to food in this project we are aiming for all these Sustainable Development Goals; #SDG1 – no poverty, #SDG2 – zero hunger, #SDG3 – good health & wellbeing, #SDG4 – clean water & sanitation, #SDG10 – reduced inequalities, #SDG11 – sustainable communities, #SDG13 – climate action. Please be part of the team that helps these vulnerable children towards a brighter, sustainable future? Thanks, Sarah x

Maria was in real danger of being married at age 11 as her grandparents could not feed her. We found her a sponsor and now she is thriving. Could you sponsor a young person like Maria?
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School planting sweet potato vines as part of their Agricultural Classes… could you commit to £5/£10 per month to provide food security?
one of the lemon tree saplings that was planted two years ago and is growing well…can you help provide more fruit tree saplings please?
Children at the weekly feeding programme. Could you commit £5/£10 p/m to support food security please
These two older siblings carried their one year old twin siblings a long way to the feeding programme so they could all have nutritious food. Their parents are peasant farmers and, despite working very hard, cannot earn enough to feed their family. Can you help us either by sponsoring one of the older children for £25 p/m or by helping support the feeding programme for £5/£10 per month?

Fruit Tree Saplings – planting a sustainable future

Sarah’s blog 12/11/21

Imagine a community without enough to eat. Not much energy to work as they haven’t eaten enough, not much work to go around as everyone is after the same jobs doing piecework. Children missing school to walk long distances to the nearest maize mill carrying heavy burdens. No water to drink, no food to eat.

Thankfully, things are improving in Ibuluma where The William Stewart Foundation is. However, the situation was so bad that there is a lot still to do. The task is daunting but we know we have people supporting us to raise the money needed to fund the projects. We are very grateful for the group of people who contribute funds, goods, their time and effort. However, we need to do more. How can we reach more people? How can we increase our regular income? Who could donate or fundraise? Please have a think about these questions as just maybe you might have the answer.

These are some of the ways that lives have improved so far for the hundreds of orphans and other vulnerable children supported by The Foundation. Remember, there are no big charities in the far north of Malawi feeding children in schools….The William Stewart Foundation is all these extremely vulnerable children have. We need to ensure more food for their future.

  1. The Feeding Programme – at least 600 children are fed once every week, maize and vegetables from The Foundations crops are used where possible.
  2. The Foundation Nursery – 50 preschool children meet 3 times a week to play and are fed porridge or other food at each session. The nursery children have all been given a blanket each and a uniform. There are waterproof jackets for them that will be given out once the rains start.
  3. The Mother & Baby project – thanks to donations of baby clothes & blankets and beautiful knitting that has been donated, Levison was able to visit the maternity ward at the local health centre. Babies will be warm and, if health professionals tell the mums that they can return for more clothes for their babies in a few weeks, that gives the health experts another chance to interact with the mums and babies and have another chance for a check up.
  4. Thanks to lots of donations of preloved school uniform, other clothes and shoes, all children and young people have had new clothes to wear and their self-esteem is improving.
  5. Thanks to several sports clubs and generous people who have donated for The Foundation, children now feel like proper football or netball teams and have a sense of identity and belonging with their friends. They can forget their problems whilst learning about and playing football, netball & other sports.
  6. 70 of the most vulnerable children and young people now have been matched with sponsors, enabling them to have a monthly food parcel and their secondary school education paid for them…an opportunity which would not have been open to them without support from their sponsors.
  7. Several orphans have been helped to find homes with foster families following bereavement. These kind families have also received support to accommodate an extra mouth to feed.
  8. 20 plus teenagers are on the apprenticeship scheme, learning agricultural skills as well as bricklaying, making eco-stoves and animal husbandry etc.
  9. Children and young people are learning life skills like gardening and growing crops, animal husbandry, sewing, knitting and carving.
  10. Period Poverty Project; each girl who needs one is gifted a drawstring bag with 3 pairs of pants (donated by charity Smalls for All) 5 reusable sanitary towels, soap and a health information sheet. They now no longer have to miss one week of school each month. They have dignity and do not need to hide in shame. There are a group of girls using the hand turn sewing machines to make these as well as masks for everyone for protection during the pandemic.
  11. School Literacy Project; local schools are being gifted boxes of books to help children practice and improve their literacy levels.
  12. Emma’s Rainbow Library has been built, giving children access to a variety of books and we are adding more as time goes on.
  13. Most importantly; The Foundation has a clean water supply making a huge difference to this community. The shower block has recently been completed as the second part of the WASH project.
  14. Fruit trees are being planted, helping the planet but also providing food for the people…planting a sustainable future…we need support with this as we are just at the start of this project.

I’m sure there are lots of other things I haven’t mentioned, and as soon as I’ve finished typing I will probably think ‘oh I forgot to say that’….but as you can see there have been many changes and improvements but lots more work to do. We’d love more people to support us….it’s all about playing a small part of a team and together we can continue #changinglivesmalawi. Thanks for reading, Sarah x