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!

Gifts for the staff

Sarah’s blog 13/09/22

Some of the boxes have been opened and clothes are being sorted into age groups so they can be given out at the weekend.

One box that we had sent was for the staff and volunteers. I had found a large quantity of blue adult t-shirts in a sale so I bought them and boxed them up for the adults. Levison gave out some of the t-shirts this morning and everyone was pleased that we had thought about them.

In the video, Alice, thanks us for remembering them and for their gifts. To us, a t-shirt is just an ordinary item – nothing to get too excited about. However, when you aren’t used to receiving gifts, and don’t have many clothes of your own, it means a lot to them. I hope you enjoy the photos and the video, Sarah x

Levison distributing t-shirts to staff and volunteers
Levison with the female staff and volunteers

Nakaonga – the sewing instructor with Loveness
Alice thanking us for the t-shirts
Mrs Domingo and Nakapenda – the nursery cooks
Alice, Loveness and Jean
Alice, Loveness and Jean

– the nursery teacher

The Nursery

Sarah’s blog 23/04/22

As the rainy season hasn’t finished yet, there were less children at today’s nursery session. I always say that the nursery caters for 50 of the most vulnerable children. However, Levison has recently told me that there are now 75 children age between 4-6 coming to the nursery. None of these children are turned away as they are hungry and suffering from malnutrition.

As you can see, the children are in their red t-shirts that have been sent, a few are still wearing their stripy waterproofs that they were given at Christmas and one little girl, Flary, whose mum volunteers to cook for all the children, is wearing a Riverside Primary School Jumper.

Levison and I decided that when the children start nursery would be a good time to give out a care package so we know that everyone has received their gifts. As I am an Early Years Educator, I’ve got a special interest in making lives better for these children and helping them achieve their potential. We have put together the following for each child as they begin nursery; a gym bag with, two red t-shirts, two pairs of pants, toothbrush & toothpaste, soap, a blanket and a picture book. Now I know that there are 25 more children, I am collecting and putting together some more bags to send on the next container. We always need soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, pens & pencils, children’s pants etc so if you find these cheaply while you are doing your shopping we would be very grateful if you’d donate some for the children.

We are also putting together pencil cases for each child leaving nursery and starting school, so if your child has asked for a new pencil case and their old one is still ok, could you donate it to send to the children please?

The nursery meets 3 times a week and the children play and are given something to eat. Periodically, Feed The Children Organisation bring some bags of porridge. The Foundation is grateful for this donation. These are only to be used for the nursery children. The porridge doesn’t last for many servings so the children are fed from money our charity sends and also from the crops grown at The Foundation when available.

This is one of the reasons that planting fruit tree saplings is so important, so children like these have more variety and vitamins in their diets and any extra fruit will be used as an income for The Foundation. Levison and team want a huge orchard with lots of different fruit trees. They want to keep bees too when the saplings start growing bigger. Obviously, planting hundreds of trees will be good for our planet as well as providing a sustainable future for the community. Fruit tree saplings are a way out of poverty and malnutrition for this village.

If you’d like to buy some fruit tree saplings they are £10 for 4. You can get in touch by email contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com or via the website form. Please also get in touch if you’d like to help support the nursery in any way. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

Can you help Tamara please?

Sarah’s blog 26/2/22

Sometimes things happen that can’t be helped. People’s circumstances change and, much as they’d like to keep sponsoring a child through us, sadly they aren’t able to do so. That’s what has happened in this case. Tamara’s sponsor kindly stepped up to sponsor her and pay her fees for her first year at secondary school. Unfortunately, their circumstances have changed. We thank them for what they’ve done for Tamara this year as, without them, she wouldn’t have been able to take up her place at secondary school.

So we are looking for a new sponsor to help Tamara through secondary school please. It’s £25 per month and you can share that cost with a friend if that helps. It’s less than £1 a day to us but means the world to a sponsored young person. If you can help then please contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com and if you can’t help financially then please consider sharing posts in order to help find potential sponsors. Thank you for reading, Sarah x

Tamara is in 2nd year at Chisenga Secondary School
Tamara, in her new uniform, about to start Chisenga Secondary School last year

A Generous Donation

Sarah’s blog 23/2/22

It’s been another busy day at Changing Lives Malawi HQ (our house) and the Logistics Manager (my ever helpful husband, Stuart) has been kept extremely busy and I’ve been busy helping him.

At 8.30am this morning we had a delivery of 22 large boxes of school uniform. Most of it is new. Very sadly, a school closed and all of this is their excess uniform. I saw a post on a fb charity site so made contact. The lady that has collected and sent all this uniform was determined that it wasn’t all going to go to landfill.

We are only about a third of the way through repacking it in stronger boxes but here are some photos of the lovely clothes and bags that will be on their way to Malawi very soon. There will be lots of very smartly dressed children who will be delighted to have the gift of brand new clothes. We will, of course, post lots of photos when things eventually arrive at The Foundation. Many thanks for your generosity. Thanks for reading, Sarah x

The Gift of New Clothes

Sarah’s blog 15/2/22

The hundreds of orphans and other vulnerable children in Malawi were wearing rags and very old clothes before The William Stewart Foundation was able to gift clothes to them. Their self-esteem has improved, as has their attendance at school, as they have nice clean clothes and they know that someone cares about them. Thank you to all who have donated school uniform. We’ve had even more schools involved this time. Can you spot any familiar sweatshirts? There is still some more uniform to give out another time so there will be more photos another time. The photos of individual children….only Chisomo is sponsored, so if you wanted to sponsor one of the others or an older child then please do get in touch. contact_us@changinglivesmalawi.com As always, thank you for reading and supporting, Sarah x

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