Rugby Tournament (part 1)

Sarah’s blog 7/10/23

Yesterday was an amazing day for the rural cluster of schools who have been learning to play touch rugby. All the schools came together for a tournament. These vulnerable children and young people will remember this experience for a very long time as they don’t get opportunities like yesterday.

On Monday, Jack Mphande Malawi Rugby Union’s Rugby Development Officer, worked with two teachers from each school to train them up to be able to continue teaching and coaching touch rugby within their own schools and to more students. This is in line with some of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals; #SDG3 Good Health and Wellbeing, #SDG4 Quality Education, #SDG5 Gender Equality and SDG11 Sustainable Communities.

We too are working towards some of these goals in all of the projects we are helping to support, keeping these in mind as we try to ensure that children have more to eat, have clean drinking water, quality education as the community works towards self-sufficiency. #SDG1 no poverty, #SDG2 zero hunger, #SDG3 good health and well-being , #SDG4 quality education, #SDG5 gender equality, #SDG6 clean water and sanitation, #SDG8 decent work & economic growth, #SDG10 reduced inequalities, #SDG11 sustainable communities, #SDG13 climate action, #SDG15 life on land are the ones we are concentrating on but all of them are relevant and important.

During the week, Jack visited each of the schools to work with the teachers and students and yesterday was tournament day! Each school taking part was given a new (to them) sports kit that we had sent via Bananabox Trust who organise the container. We have had several individuals and clubs who have generously donated sports kit to us to share where it is most needed. This is extending the life of the sports kit and keeping it from landfill. Also, it is making the recipients extremely happy. Some people to thank for the kit I can see in these photos (and please do let me know if I have forgotten anyone); Merchiston Castle School, Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club (via Wear a Sports Shirt Day), Fakenham Town FC (via Wear a Sports Shirt Day) Seafar Villa Cumbernauld (via Paul Goodwin). Many thanks for these donations. As you can see your generosity is making a big difference to these young people.

It was important to us that all children taking part in the rugby development had something to eat and drink. There are no organisations feeding children in primary schools in this area in the north. All of these children are hungry. Many are suffering from malnutrition. Thanks to the generosity of individuals who have supported this initiative to introduce rugby in the far north of Malawi, we were able to send money for the children to have snacks and water each day they were playing at their schools. Yesterday, at the tournament, all children and young people had a nutritious, cooked lunch, a snack and bottled water. They were also given some pens and pencils as a gift to take back with them.

All of these things, we take for granted; easy access to sport, new clothes, food and clean water, school supplies and organised events. For these children, none of this is taken for granted. None of these things are ‘normal’. So yesterday would have meant the world to them. So we thank you all very much for enabling yesterday to happen. All children and young people should be able to learn new skills and take part in sports and we are very glad that Jack Mphande was able to visit and give these vulnerable children new opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.

So, this is far more than just a few games of rugby. It is someone spending time with these children who (until recently) were largely ignored. It’s making them feel special. It’s helping their self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s about teaching them new skills and discipline and teamwork. It’s about having fun with their friends. It’s allowing them time to be children and forget about the trauma they have experienced with family members passing away and the extreme poverty they are living in. And the fact that they have had a good lunch and pens and pencils to take home…. we cannot possibly know or understand how much yesterday meant to these children and young people.

Jack, thank you for your hard work and enthusiasm. We look forward to your photos from next week when you repeat this week with different schools. And, on your next visit, it will be interesting to see how rugby is developing and how many young people are enjoying playing rugby regularly in school and also as a pass time with their friends. Thank you so much, Jack, for investing time in the children and young people we help to support.

By the end, everyone was tired but happy. There was no transport to get everyone to the tournament so all had to walk there and back as well as playing which is another reason we wanted to ensure they were well fed. Also, I just wanted to remind people that although these are primary schools, some of the young people are teenagers desperate for an education. They have missed lots of school to work for a pittance to buy food. The older they are, the poorer their family.

Enjoy the photos and videos and thank you again everyone who supports us to support these vulnerable children and young people, Sarah x

The tournament winners – Malawa Primary
Chambo Primary
Chisenga Primary
Kayilizi Primary School
Kalanga Primary School

Chambo Primary has clean water!

Thanks to The Kitchen Table Charities Trust, Chambo Primary School now have a clean water supply.

Sarah’s blog 20/08/23

Another great news story!

Months ago we applied to The Kitchen Tables Charities Trust on behalf of Chambo Primary School. The criteria for their grant was to help primary schools and, as most of the younger children we help to support attend Chambo Primary, we decided to try to help them.

There are 8 classes at the school and only one classroom has desks and benches. There are no latrines and no clean running water for the students to drink or wash their hands. Chambo Health Centre is a short distance away and we paid for a survey to be done to ensure it was viable to tap into the Health Centre’s water supply and pipe it to the primary school.

We were awarded a £6,000 grant to be split between clean water and supplying desks and benches for another couple of classrooms. The water project is almost complete…just the concrete bases to put round the three taps at the primary school. It was such hard work digging the ditch from the Health Centre to the school. It is the dry season now so the ground is hard. They had to wet the ground to make it a bit easier to dig. Some of the young people wanted to help, as you can see from the photos, and also some of the apprentices were paid to help with digging the ditch.

We feel very humbled to have been able to help in this small way. All we did was fill in the grant application and the hard work has been carried out in Malawi. Thank you so much to The Kitchen Table Charities Trust for entrusting us to carry out the work to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in rural northern Malawi. They may not have anyone feeding them in school yet, but having clean water to drink and wash their hands is a great start in changing their lives for the better.

Enjoy these photos and videos – I’m sure there will be more to come once the children start back to school on 11th September. Now the clean water project has been completed, Levison will engage carpenters to make the desks and benches with the remaining grant money. The plan is that the apprentices will be allowed to help the carpenters with some of the easier tasks.

Gracious Nyondo, who is in p8, is the boy in the video who is thanking the donors for bringing clean water. Mr Enock Nyondo is the headteacher. As well as thanking the donors he says that they used to have to draw water from a well or the river and is delighted that they no longer have to do this and that the children have clean water to drink.

Things we take for granted make a HUGE difference. We are so happy to see that things are changing, bit by bit, for the most vulnerable children. They deserve so much more. Thanks for reading and supporting us, Sarah x

Levison (blue Maple Leafs t-shirt) discussing the height for the taps with the plumbers
Gracious Nyondo, in p8, thanks us and the donors for the clean water at Chambo Primary
Enock Nyondo, Headteacher at Chambo Primary is thankful for clean water at the school
Enjoying clean running water

Thank you Allander Rotary

Thanks to Allander Rotary Club for their generous donation

Sarah’s blog 30/07/23

I was invited to speak at a meeting of The Allander Rotary Club last month and the response to the photos and videos I showed was really positive. They were really interested in the progress that is being made in Malawi through the various projects we help to support.

One way that they have been able to help us is by donating a laptop and three ipads, all of which are nearly new. These were delivered yesterday along with some football kit.

We are extremely grateful for this support and the laptop and ipads will be used to support learning at Bright Futures Secondary School.

Our fundraiser for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School is and if you can spare a few £££ towards the next classroom and toilet block to ensure the next intake of vulnerable students have a classroom we would be very appreciative. Thanks for supporting us, Sarah x

Some orphans learning how to use the computers in Emma’s Rainbow Library at The Foundation. The laptop and three ipads will be great additional resources.

More Football Kit

Thank you for the donation of football kit

Sarah’s blog 22/06/23

We had been offered football strips by a club in northern England who had unfortunately had to close. The next problem was how to get the kit to us in central Scotland. Various conversations happened and arrangements were made. A man travelling north for work kindly agreed to bring the kit to meet us at the motorway services at Stirling. Another volunteer who works a few minutes from there agreed to collect the kit and bring it to us. We are so grateful for the kit and the help received.

Thanks to the kindness and thoughtfulness of several people, the kit will be on it’s way to Malawi on the next container. Levison will be able to share it with local clubs as well as keeping some for the young people whom The Foundation supports.

To those involved with Wearhead United FC, we are sorry that your club has closed. Thank you though for passing on all these kits to us to help support grassroots football in rural northern Malawi. We will get photos of the new recipients who will be delighted to receive these kits. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Thank you to The Souter Charitable Trust

Sarah’s blog 30/05/23

This morning, when the post came, I had a really great surprise. It was a really good boost to morale. There are so many charities, all chasing the same grant money so there are plenty of rejection emails. Charities are struggling with the cost of living crisis so any grants applications that are successful really do make a big difference.

The Souter Charitable Trust gave us a grant for the third year in a row. This time we asked for money for solar panels and also solar torches for the students. It gets dark year round at 6pm so how can a teenager study or even read a book for fun if they have no light source?

In Emma’s Rainbow Library are rented computers. There is mains electricity but it is expensive and only on for a few hours a day. Having solar power means that it will be free of charge and available during the day and in the evenings.

Thank you so much to The Souter Charitable Trust for believing in us and supporting us in the work we are doing to help the most vulnerable in rural Northern Malawi. We are delighted that you’ve trusted us again with our third grant, Sarah x

Sports Kits donations & team sports

We are grateful to receive more sports kit to send to Malawi for teams that do not have matching kit.

Sarah’s blog 31/3/23

We have been very fortunate to have had several individuals and organisations donating sports kit and equipment to us for use by the vulnerable young people we support in rural northern Malawi.

Strathendrick Rugby Club and Merchiston Castle School have very kindly donated kit, boots and rugby balls and there will be some other donations coming soon from other supporters.

Via Julian Chenery from ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’ there has been hockey kit from Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club, and numerous football kits as well as Christmas Jumpers and Christmas hats. Julian spends nearly every weekend collecting preloved kits from clubs to pass on to a variety of charities. Sports kits then are able to be reused by teams who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford to buy matching kit.

Julian messaged me the other day to say that he has sent football kits kindly donated by Swale Ladies Football Club and Borden Village Football Club which made it in time to be loaded onto the Bananabox Trust container which is now on its way to Malawi. We will, of course, show photos when those arrive.

Julian also met with Mark Meekings who runs ‘Kitz4Kidz’ who have donated kit they have collected for use in Malawi. Thanks to Julian and Mark and to those who donated kit – photos to follow when the kit arrives in Malawi. Thanks also to the volunteers at Bananabox Trust for their hard work ensuring everything is recorded and packed safely into the containers.

During the two week Easter holidays, we are facilitating the running of an Easter Study School for the 66 p8 students at Chambo Primary School and the students at Bright Futures Secondary School. Lessons will run Monday – Thursday during the first week and Tuesday – Friday the second week. On Good Friday and Easter Monday, the young people will be playing organised team sports.

For 10 days during the holidays all these students will receive a substantial, nutritious cooked lunch. This will probably be their only proper meal of the day. This meal might be the only food that they eat that day. We would be very grateful for help towards providing this food. You can email me at for bank details or you can text FEEDING to 70480. Every £5 or £10 donated will make a huge difference to these vulnerable students and help them concentrate whilst they study. Thank you, Sarah x

Easter Holiday Exam Preparation – Changing Lives Malawi

Sunday lunch – Changing Lives Malawi

Thank you to Swale Ladies and Borden Village football clubs who have donated their kit through Julian at ‘Wear a Sports Shirt Day’

Julian from Wear a Sports Shirt Day (left) with Mark from Kitz4Kidz
Students at Bright Futures Secondary School with rugby kit donated by Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Kit from Bromley & Beckenham Hockey Club kindly donated via Wear A Sports Shirt Day
Fakenham Town FC kit kindly donated via Wear a Sports Shirt Day
Can you please help us feed vulnerable students during the Easter holidays?

An Amazing Quiz & Band Night!

Thanks to everyone who supported our very successful fundraiser for the next phase of Bright Futures Secondary School.

Sarah’s blog 25/2/23

Thank you to everyone who came along last night….it looked like everyone was having a brilliant time! The quiz that Douglas did for us was great fun! He’d put in a lot of work to prepare it and present it – so thank you so much Douglas!

There were so many raffle prizes that had been donated – thanks so much to everyone. We are very grateful to the following businesses; West Group Technical Services Ltd who donated a firepit made by Foldaway Fires, a cycling jacket from Endura, a hamper from Endrick Trading Ltd, vouchers from Tir na nog Holistic Centre, Milk & Honey Artisan Ice Cream, The Woodhouse, The Kitchen Window, Briarlands Farm, Wellsfield Farm, Ticketyboo Hair Design Buchlyvie and Exceptionail Buchlyvie. We had some wonderful prizes!

There was also a bottle of single malt whisky donated by one of our trustees, David Bell, to use as a prize for throwing £1 coins at….the nearest coin wins the bottle. There were so many coins being thrown and someone’s coin touched the bottle whilst lots of people were still waiting for a turn. So David, very kindly offered to buy a second bottle of whisky so everyone else got a turn to throw their £1 coins… this and the amount of raffle tickets that were purchased made a lot of money for our charity.

Then there is a huge thank you to local band, Acoustic Station, who gave their time and talents free of charge. Stuart, the drummer, is one of our trustees (and my husband) so I am slightly biased but they were amazing and people were up dancing all night!

After a very late night, I counted all the money this morning and added what was already paid directly into the charity bank account. £1,503 is the grand total! An amazing start to our fundraising for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School. Thank you for buying tickets, raffle tickets, donating raffle prizes and being so supportive of what we, as a small group of volunteers, are trying to do. 100% of the money will go towards building the next phase of Bright Futures Secondary School. Thank you so much to those who helped set up and tidy up and, as always, it’s been amazing teamwork.

I hope you enjoy the video clips of Acoustic Station from last night. The link to our fundraiser is and, as always, if you want to get in touch then the email address is Thanks again, Sarah x

Bright Futures Secondary School – desks, chairs, uniform & exams – Changing Lives Malawi

Merchiston Castle School – another rugby donation – Changing Lives Malawi

We had some amazing donations for our raffle!
Bright Futures Secondary School – Phase 2 Fundraiser
Acoustic Station – River Deep Mountain High
Acoustic Station – You Never Can Tell
Acoustic Station – I Think We’re Alone Now
Acoustic Station – Proud Mary

It’s all about the babies….

Sarah’s blog 5/2/23

As you may know, The Mother and Baby Project was started with a view to giving staff at the health centre additional opportunities to interact with new mums and their babies.

We send lovely donations of baby clothes, knitted hats, knitted cardigans and knitted blankets to Malawi which Levison then takes to the maternity ward at the nearby health centre. When a baby is born there, the staff can give out some of the donated baby clothes. If the mum and baby return for a visit a few weeks later for another visit to collect something else for the baby, it gives another chance for the staff at the health centre to interact with each new mum and her baby. This is an opportunity that they wouldn’t previously have had and will hopefully be of benefit to both mothers and their babies.

I’m really looking forward to being able to see more photos from the health centre when these donations arrive. These photos of lovely baby clothes and knitting are donations from the congregation at Torrance Parish Church – so thank you to all involved. There were also four big boxes of baby clothes arrived at my house yesterday courtesy of one of our sponsors. We are grateful for all these lovely things and for the time and love that has gone into the knitting.

Many thanks again to all who support our projects, Sarah x

Bright Futures Secondary School -Naming the classrooms

Sarah’s blog 5/12/22

We couldn’t help the hundreds of orphans and other vulnerable children we support without the help of our wonderful supporters. We always say it’s about teamwork and we each have our own skills and ways that we can make a difference. That might be volunteering your time, your talents, sponsoring a child or making a one off or regular monitory donation. We need each and every one of you. The children need you. They now have hope and a brighter future because of you. Thank you.

We have been overwhelmed with the support we have received when fundraising to build phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School. We said that if anyone donated £500 or over towards the building of the school, they could name a classroom if they wanted to. The two classrooms have been named; Form 1 is named after a girl called Shona and Form 2 is named after Professor Derek Knottenbelt. Thank you very much for your support and help with enabling phase 1 of Bright Futures Secondary School to be built so quickly.

We currently have a new latrine block that needs sponsoring….would you like your company advertised on the wall? And the staff house needs to be named after someone or a business… as the house is split in two, there are two opportunities to have your name painted on one of the walls. If you would like to donate £500 or more, we would be very grateful, and you can let us know what name you would like to be displayed on your behalf.

The fundraiser for phase 2 of Bright Futures Secondary School is open and we would welcome any donations

Also, here is the link to our fundraising calendars, cards and gifts Christmas Cards & Gifts – Changing Lives Malawi

Thank you for reading and for all your support. It really is a team effort, and we couldn’t help so many vulnerable children without you. As there are no admin costs or salaries in our charity, 100% of what you give goes to the projects we support. Therefore, despite always being on a shoestring, we make the most of what money we have. That’s why your support is vital and very much appreciated. Thanks, Sarah x

A busy & successful day

Sarah’s blog 30/10/22

At the start of last week, Levison carried out telephone interviews for staff for the school. The ones that were called for second interviews came to The Foundation this morning to have a look round and be interviewed. So now Bright Futures Secondary School has teachers and teaching assistants! Another huge step forward. Many thanks to Ndongolera Mwangupili from the Department of Education for his help with the interview process.

All being well, the teaching staff will arrive back at the weekend ready to start school next Monday 7/11/22. It’s very exciting to see it all coming together but there is still a lot to organise before then. If you are able to donate to help us buy more textbooks and build desks, then we would be very grateful

So that is the news from Malawi today. At Strathblane, the Ranger Guides were holding a Halloween themed bake sale. They were raising money for their unit and also making a donation to Changing Lives Malawi. We popped along and the cakes we bought were delicious. Julie, one of the leaders messaged me later to say that they’d nearly sold out and had raised the target they’d set themselves. They have donated £100 of it to our charity. Girls we are extremely grateful for your support and that you have been helping others as well as raising money for your unit. Thanks so much!

At Balfron Church this morning, I was able to talk about the projects we are supporting in Malawi and show photos too. I took some of our cards and calendars and made a few sales and someone committed to sponsor a child through secondary school. So, it’s been a busy and successful day! Hope you enjoy the photos, Sarah x

preparing for the interviews

The teachers relaxing after their interviews

There was a great turn out for the bake sale despite the rain!

Lots of lovely treats

Lots of smiles despite the rain

Thank you girls for raising money for Changing Lives Malawi

Our fundraising calendars for sale at £10 plus £2 p&p

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

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.

Getting ready for school

Sarah’s blog 26/7/22

As you know, we are trying our best to raise money to build the first block of a secondary school. Bright Futures Secondary School will be a community school for the orphans and other vulnerable young people to attend.

Education should be available for everyone. There are currently not enough places at local secondary schools. If you don’t get picked for a place, even if you have passed your primary leavers exams and can afford the school fees.

This is what happened to eleven of our sponsored young people this year. They are resitting their last year of primary school, hoping for better grades, hoping to be picked for a place.

As the local secondary school is a distance away the young people, who are sponsored and do get a place at school, have to board at school. This adds to costs and also means they aren’t available to help their families with chores.

A secondary school in the village would make such a difference to so many people. Education is their way out of dire poverty – their way to a better future for themselves and their families.

Bricks are being made…about 40,000 so far, and kilns are going to be built soon to fire the bricks.

There are people working hard in Malawi and here to try our best to help these vulnerable children. As well as education, a school will help prevent teenage pregnancies and girls being married off too soon. Already, The Foundation has proved that if the young people are kept busy and given opportunities then there will be far less teenage pregnancies. The young people’s self-esteem has increased as they learn new skills, play team sports with their peers and read in the library. They know people care about them. They have hope for a better future. We need to continue supporting the projects that support them. This is absolutely vital to protect these vulnerable young people.

Here, we are trying to raise funds and awareness. It’s really hard as we know that some people have less available cash. We need to reach a wider group of people and if we all give a little, that will add up to a lot!

Also, we are trying to source supplies to provide for the young people when the school is built. We need to plan ahead as the container takes approximately 3 months for its journey.

There are over 100 chairs at The Bananabox Trust warehouse that we are sending for the first phase of the school. Someone donated boxes of new laptop bags. We are sending 80 of these for the young people to use as school bags. Pencil cases and pens are in boxes too as well as some secondary school uniform.

Stuart, my husband, delivered some boxes and 72 rugby balls to Dundee today and took a photo of all the chairs to show Levison.

I also received a photo from one of our supporters today who put a shout out on her village Facebook page asking for preloved secondary school uniform. People have been very generous as she’s collected a great amount which will kit out some of the pupils who will attend Bright Futures Secondary School.

There’s still so much to do and so much money to raise but we WILL do this. The children are relying on us. So if you can spare a few £££ we would be so grateful. Thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

Donate here: or get in touch

The donations that Stuart took to Dundee today including 72 rugby balls from Annan rugby club and Merchiston Castle School. You can see that the warehouse is getting full.
The chairs that we are sending for Bright Futures Secondary School
We are grateful for this huge pile of secondary school uniform donations that we will send for the pupils when they start school