International Day of the African Child – some of the projects which are helping the most vulnerable children

Sarah’s blog 16/6/22 (I wrote most of this post on 16th but as it was a very busy day I ran out of time so had to add the photos this morning 17th)

Today we remember all the vulnerable children in rural Northern Malawi who are supported by The Foundation and those who will require support in the future.

We want all children to have the best possible start in life and be the best they can be. Unfortunately, life has been very difficult for the community we are helping The Foundation to support. Through a variety of projects, these children’s lives are changing for the better. We are passionate and committed to continue Changing Lives Malawi. Here are some of the ways life is improving for the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children that The Foundation supports.

  1. Mother & Baby project. We have received beautiful hand knitted blankets and baby clothes as well as lots of generous donations of preloved baby clothes. This is an ongoing project with the health centre local to The Foundation. Mothers are given some clothes and a blanket for their new born baby. They can return at a later date to receive some more baby clothes. This gives staff at the health centre another chance to have an informal check up of each new mum and her baby.
  2. Agriculture – The Foundation grows a variety of crops and the children and young people help with planting, weeding, harvesting. This gives the children skills for their future and also provides some food to be used at The Feeding Programme.
  3. The Feeding Programme – many of the approximately 500 children who attend every weekend do not eat every day, or eat very little. They are given a substantial, nutritious meal once a week using food that has been grown at The Foundation if possible. Lots of maize and soya beans and vegetables still have to be bought as 500 children is a lot of mouths to feed. We wish we could afford to send money to feed them more often as there are no big agencies feeding children in schools in the far north of Malawi. Some children are walking up to 20km to have their food and 20km back home again.
  4. The nursery – was set up for 50 of the most vulnerable preschool children. It now has 75 children meeting three times a week. They are fed at each session. Feed the Children occasionally provides some porridge for the children to help but it only lasts a couple of weeks each time. All nursery children have been given clothes, nursery uniform, shoes, a blanket and a waterproof jacket. In future, all children starting nursery will receive a bag containing; a blanket, 2 red tshirts (uniform), 2 pairs of pants, soap, toothbrush & toothpaste, and a picture book.
  5. School Uniform & preloved clothes – all children supported by The Foundation receive preloved or new clothes. We have sent lots of shoes but not enough…more shoes are needed in all age groups including adult sizes. Children are more confident and have better self-esteem now they aren’t wearing rags. They are warmer at night time because they have warm clothes. Eventually we won’t need to send so many clothes as they can start making their own as we have sent vintage hand turn sewing machines. The aim has always been to give a helping hand towards self-sufficiency.
  6. Period Poverty Project – why should teenage girls have to hide in shame at home for one week every month and miss out on lessons at school? Why should there be such an inequality just because of gender? Some girls have been making drawstring bags containing; 5 reusable sanitary towels that they have also made, 3 pairs of pants, soap and a health information leaflet. These have been given to every girl who needs one and will be an ongoing project. A small project making a very big difference.
  7. Apprentices – some teenagers are learning all about agriculture as Levison has a degree in this subject. They are learning about animal husbandry, making bricks and building, carpentry and other skills. These skills will help them with future employment.
  8. Child Sponsorship – currently there are 90 of the most vulnerable children and young people who have been matched with sponsors. They receive a monthly food parcel, clothes, a blanket, welfare checks and their school fees are paid.
  9. Sports – the children love playing team sports; football, netball and rugby. Generous people have donated sports kits/balls/equipment to enable the children to learn and play these sports. They are learning new skills, being part of a team, being healthy and active and able to forget their problems whilst having fun with their friends.
  10. Library and School Literacy Project – previously the children had little or no access to books. How are children supposed to learn to read without having books to practise their reading.
  11. WASH – (water, sanitation & hygiene) Latrines, a clean water supply & a shower block have been built at The Foundation.
  12. School – we have started fundraising to build a much need secondary school. There are not enough places for students in the nearest secondary school, so even if children have passed their primary school leavers exams and have a sponsor to pay their secondary school fees, if they don’t get picked for a place at secondary school then they don’t go. The young people know that education is vital as it is their way out of poverty. We want education to be available to all.
  13. Eco stoves are being made for the villagers. These are safer than open fires, retain more heat and use far less fuel.
  14. Fruit tree saplings have been planted as a future source of food and income and are a way of helping towards the climate crisis. More trees will be planted each year.

These are just some of the ways the most vulnerable children are being supported to have a better future. We are grateful for all the support we have had so far but, unfortunately, all these projects require funding. If you can donate we would be very grateful and please share our posts so others can learn about these amazing children in rural northern Malawi. Self-sufficiency is always the end goal and Levison and team lead the way on what is appropriate and most needed in their village. Thank you for supporting the children and enjoy the photos, Sarah x

some of the chidren at the weekly feeding programme
a donation of books for the school literacy project from Arnprior nursery
thanks to a donation from Strathblane Guild, the children received a meal at their Christmas party
the apprentices were sent some work clothes and also gifted other clothes

a borehole was dug and clean water is now available

17 boxes of books for all age groups/reading levels were gifted to Chambo Primary School to help improve literacy levels. More books are on the way to be gifted to other primary schools.

Younger children received waterproof jackets (paid for by a supporter), lollies and pencils at the Christmas Party

Some of the most vulnerable young people have been matched with sponsors who pay their school fees. These are some of them at Chisenga Secondary School. As it is too far to walk each day, these children need to board. There are not enough places at secondary schools for everyone which is why we are fundraising to build a school for all at The Foundation.
Many boxes of donations are sent via The Bananabox Trust Container. It costs £15 per box on the container and Levison has a long trip to collect them. Thankfully, he no longer has to hire a truck thanks to a donation that went towards the purchase of this truck.
A library has been built and books sent. It now has some computers (although no internet yet) so the children are learning computer skills.

The young people are delighted with all the sports kits that have been donated. They love playing team sports.

Eco stoves are being made for the villagers. These are safer to cook on than open fires, retain more heat and use far less fuel.

Lots of fruit tree saplings have been planted and are being cared for by the children. These will provide food for the future, create an income and provide sustainability for people and planet. More will be planted next year.

young people enjoyed learning new skills at a recent rugby camp
baby clothes and blankets have been gifted to the maternity dept at the local health centre as part of the Mother and Baby project
Children in the nursery have been given uniform, clothes, blankets & flip flops. Here they are investigating the new train set/roads/trains & cars that have been gifted to them.

Young people are learning to grow their own crops at The Foundation

Children have fun with their friends at The Foundation

Mwiza has additional needs. We, and his sponsor, have sent books and toys to stimulate him and encourage him to use his muscles. He is also benefitting from new clothes, soap and food. His mum has noticed a big difference in him now he has more food as he is more alert. Mwiza’s younger sister has benefitted from Mwiza’s books as she has been allowed to start school at age 5 instead of the usual 6 years old.
The new shower block and sinks are making a big difference to the lives of the young people
School uniform donations. Children are more confident now they aren’t wearing rags and are warmer at night. Eventually, they will make their own clothes as we have sent vintage hand turn sewing machines.

An amazing homemade guitar!

young people learning basket weaving

Some young people have been learning to use the sewing machines that have been donated. Reuasable sanitary towels are being made for all who need them, enabling girls to be at school all month like the boys. They no longer have to hide at home for a week each month missing out on vital schooling. Tailoring lessons have also started.

Madalitso made himself a fantastic bike out of scraps he found.
Asante made himself some shoes and a backpack from cardboard. When a mother and daughter saw my post they were so impressed with his ingenuity that they both decided to sponsor him, splitting the monthly cost of £25 between them. They also sent him a lovely backpack of his own filled with practical gifts.
Singing and music making with a homemade guitar
Great dance moves from these children. You can’t help but smile when you see them enjoying themselves.

Rugby videos

Sarah’s blog 6/4/22

We’ve paid to upgrade our website so that we now have fancy features like being able to show videos. David, one of our trustees, very kindly provides technical support so I have been trying out a few new things. So here are some videos from the recent rugby coaching camp led by Jack Mphande, Malawian International rugby coach. We were so lucky that Jack was able to spend some time with the children. Just look at all the fun they are having whilst they learn new skills playing a team game they’ve never even heard of previously. Obviously, a big thank you to Jack for coming to teach rugby in the far north, to Community Sports Leaders Africa for facilitating Jack’s travel north, Strathendrick RFC for providing rugby balls that we sent out and a huge thank you to our supporters who donated money to enable the rugby coaching to happen for so many children. Enjoy the videos, Sarah x

Having fun whilst on lunch break at rugby camp
Practicing whilst waiting for lunch
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