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.

31 Days in May – Sarah’s Challenge – Day 24, 25 and 26

Sarah’s blog 26/5/22

7am. So glad I am nearly at the end of my challenge. It’s tough because I am thinking about the food that I will be able to have next week and it’s making it harder to keep going with all the vegetables and rice!

As I had done 20km on my bike that I mentioned in my last blog, I decided just to do 10km on my bike for the next couple of days as my legs were sore.

I’ve been eating rice with mixed vegetables, lots of roasted vegetables, soup and a waldorf salad. Trying to drink enough water and finding that quite hard to fit in an extra couple of glasses. As I was out a lot yesterday, I did have a shop bought pack of melon and mango which tasted amazingly sweet and delicious.

6.30pm Just cycled another 20km and really pleased with myself! Never thought I’d be able to do that at the start of this challenge… I was struggling to get past 5km. So I will definitely try for at least two more 20km before I finish.

I decided to do this challenge for the following reasons;

  1. To raise money to build a much needed school as there are not enough places in the local secondary school. If you don’t get picked for a place in secondary school then you don’t go. Education should be available to all. It is the children’s way out of poverty to build themselves a better future.
  2. To raise awareness of the Feeding Programme and what the children have to eat. I am eating rice (instead of maize flour) and vegetables. I am fortunate that I have a choice. I am fortunate that I am eating more than once a day. I am fortunate that I am only doing this challenge for 31 days in May. The Feeding Programme feeds 500 children and young people once a week with a substantial and nutritious meal. As there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in that area, some children are walking from 20km away for this one meal a week. There will be some children who do not eat every day. Teachers have said that children are able to concentrate better and their grades have improved since The Feeding Programme was implemented. It’s not enough but better than it was. We would love to be able to send money to feed the children more often.
  3. I set out to cycle 10km a day on my exercise bike to represent how far the younger children are walking to and from school (approximately 5km each way). However, some days I have been able to cycle 15km and have even done one 20km. I will try to do another couple of 20km before my challenge ends.

If you think that all children deserve an education please donate to my fundraiser https://gofund.me/ca9c1629 Please help me help the children.

The Second Sunday in Advent

Sarah’s blog 5/12/21

The second Sunday in advent is traditionally about peace and waiting. I have had no choice this week. I wasn’t going to write this but I think it’s important and I would be very grateful if you would be patient with me whilst I write this.

I have been in a very large hospital since Tuesday morning. On Tuesday afternoon I had some of my right kidney removed using robotic assistance. If this operation had taken place at my usual hospital, they would have removed my whole kidney. So I am thankful for the opportunities I have had. Everyone has been so lovely and kind and I have felt precious and cared for.

I am very conscious of the differences between my opportunities here and the lack of health care opportunities in Malawi, something we need to try to work on next year.

I feel I am being ‘asked’ to write this and believe me I am double and triple checking things as I am on a lot of medication for pain relief and my concentration isn’t good. At least I’ve kept my eyes open! My care,post op, has not gone to plan. My oxygen levels have been extremely low and, I spent two days in high dependency. Yesterday was my first day since Tuesday with no additional oxygen…again the comparison isn’t lost on me that Malawi doesn’t have enough oxygen in hospitals.

So without you having to know all my aches and pains, I am here to wait and recover. To recover from the big operation I have had but also the stress of 2021 which has been huge.

Every day has been a worry about where money will come from to feed children, to sponsor them, to provide for them. I have been volunteering 7 days a week. I can’t continue at that rate. It’s not going to do me any good, therefore the charity any good, if I don’t start putting myself first. I don’t know what the new working hours will look like but, for now, I will wait with peace and listen. Of course, I couldn’t have worked so hard without my husband who is my biggest supporter.

All of this would have been hard enough but there have been people on social media trying to destroy our charity. People who have never met me. People who are happy to side with others without knowing facts or thinking about the consequences of their actions. I cannot apply for grants for our charity at the moment because the awful things that have been written. People might not like me or like what I say (and that’s ok) but every decision I make is to benefit those hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children to make lives better for them.

Of course, I should have been at home this last week sharing posts; getting children sponsored, selling paintings for Christmas or lovely cards; sharing the links for e-cards and e-gifts and generally working as hard as I can for every £1 to help make a difference in Northern Malawi. Hopefully, people do find the items via our website and please share posts if you can. Hoping I will be home in a few days although this week away, courtesy of the NHS, has been amazing. I couldn’t have asked for better care.

So instead of being busy selling, I’ll wait patiently for what’s going to happen next. It might be that you decide you want to help, it might be a magazine wants to write about our work… who knows? But I do know that 2022 is going to be a better year and we hope that you will continue to journey with us http://www.changinglivesmalawi.com thanks for reading, Sarah x

My room with a view of the helipad

Lost Property

Sarah’s blog 7/6/21

Sorry for not blogging for a while but there has been so much going on! We’ve now matched 60 children with sponsors which we are absolutely delighted about. That’s a massive achievement and we are very grateful to everyone who has committed to change a vulnerable child’s life and give them hope for a brighter future.

Chawanangwa Chisale who is 12 had to borrow his sister’s clothes yesterday to go to the centre where gifts were being given out. His own clothes were just rags. Look how smart he looks in new school uniform donated by Riverside Primary School in Stirling. He is in desperate need of a sponsor as he is suffering from malnutrition and also will not be able to go to secondary school unless his fees are paid. Could you be Chawanangwa’s sponsor for less than 85p per day? please do get in touch if you’d like more information.

Now to go back a year……

Riverside Primary School in Stirling, is a large primary school and as well as the mainstream classes it has excellent additional facilities for gaelic language and an autism provision. So in June last year there was a great deal of lost property. The unclaimed items were donated to us for the children. Our car was absolutely full and the washing machine was put to good use washing everything in batches and drying it on the line. I had to pick my days carefully as not every day was a sunny one! Everything was boxed up and we started taking boxes to Dundee to the Bananabox Trust’s warehouse at the end of July. Covid and Brexit had a big hand in delaying this container…. with the container only being able to leave Scotland at the start of March and arriving in Ekwendeni near Mzuzu at the end of May.

I can post some photos and some more information about collecting the boxes another day. Yesterday was all about the younger children receiving preloved school uniform and other clothes…a huge task as there were approximately 600 children there. But they managed and all children received something so we are very, very thankful for the donations and the partnership with local schools…this time Riverside Primary. look at those lovely, happy, smiling faces in the group photo….teamwork is a great thing….if we all do a little act of kindness we can make a big difference. Hopefully, my washing line may be full again at the end of June and through July again this summer and the sun will shine on my washing line! thank, Sarah x #changinglives





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