The William Stewart Foundation

Our News

Update - December 2019

Our name has now been changed officially to The William Stewart Foundation. The words ‘hope for the hopeless’ have been omitted from the title for several reasons, the main one being that now the people of Ibuluma have hope which we intend, as time goes on, to spread on a wider scale.

The website will be revamped as soon as practicable after electrification of the Resource Centre takes place.

Update - November 2019

The Big Switch On has been delayed while the Electricity Board gathers in details of all those needing to be put on to the system. But it’s coming and we hope that there will be light before Christmas. That would be a wonderful present for the Foundation.

Special Birthday Celebrations

For Emma Buchanan

Emma was a very courageous girl who lived with her parents and elder sister in Balfron. She was a real fighter, but she lost her battle with cystic fibrosis at the age of 15. On 17th November she would have celebrated her 21st birthday.

Her school had a partnership with one in Northern Malawi and Emma had learned a lot about the country and the problems of poverty which her African peers had to contend with. It had been her wish to go to Malawi and do what she could to help. Sadly, this was not to be, but her family gave some beautiful wording to accompany a fundraiser for the Foundation, which was replicated in an article in the Stirling Observer and so a party was held in Emma’s honour, to celebrate her heavenly birthday.

Emma’s photo is already in the Skills Shed and a rainbow had been painted above it, so the children already knew a little about her.

On the day they learned a lot more; they were saddened to hear how she had died at such a young age and their sadness can be seen in the photos, but they were made happy again when Levison said that he was sure that Emma would know that her friends in Malawi were celebrating with her. Some of the girls went and collected hibiscus flowers for her.

The children had a party and had a special treat of doughnuts as well as their main meal. They all sang happy birthday to Emma; they held their banners proudly and they hope that you enjoy seeing how they celebrated the special day of the girl from Scotland who, although she didn’t get in person to Malawi, will be remembered because her name will live on, in the Foundation’s Library.

For William and Mary

At the end of September there were celebrations for the birthdays of William and Mary. A little under 700 children from far and wide walked in to wish them a happy birthday. By 10.00 am there were over a hundred. They trickled in, in groups of twos and threes, and by lunchtime there was a multitude. We fed them all and then the gifts remaining from the huge Christmas delivery were handed out, and more soap and exercise books purchased locally, so that each child had a present.

After lunch they played games, sang and danced and all had a wonderful time and another day to remember.

Second update - August 2019

Let there be light

We couldn’t resist giving a couple of clues in the last August update. We have been so excited, in Malawi and the UK, that electrification is finally going ahead. Please see the Special Newsletter for how this has all happened so quickly.

The dream is fast becoming reality and we look forward to the next update - The Big Light Up event.

The coming of electricity

Update - August 2019


There are some very exciting happenings currently at the Resource Centre and we will enlighten everyone about these as soon as we’re able. In the UK and in Ibuluma we’re alight with activity, hence the brevity of some of the updates to the website. We will keep all our Foundation friends in the dark no longer than we must.


Friends of the William Stewart Centre Malawi

The UK charity now has its bank account, and the necessary documentation has been sent to HMRC to register for tax relief/gift aid. This is likely to take some weeks. In the meantime we have amended the Donations section (Get Involved) to reflect the changes.

The charity has a facebook page to highlight the work it is doing to raise awareness and to fundraise for the Foundation.

Granted Charitable Status in Scotland

We said in April that The Friends of the William Stewart Centre, Malawi had applied for charitable status and are delighted to learn that this has been granted, the charity being registered on 28 May 2019 under the number SCO49329. All the paperwork will now be prepared to open a bank account, apply to HMRC for Gift Aid and then more funding applications will be able to be made and donations can be given straight into the account.


During next year’s rainy season, the Ibuluma villages will be very colourful – there will be what we call our ‘daffodils’ and our ‘purple crocuses’ – Foundation children wearing ponchos to keep them dry as they walk to school, many trekking long distances and through difficult terrain.

Some yellow ponchos were kindly donated last year by M & D – Scotland’s largest theme park – more photos of the children wearing them can be seen in Gallery 5. Someone said the children look just like daffodils. It’s apt because the children are blooming.

Some of the daffodils

Recently, we have been gifted an amazing number of purple ponchos by Chestertons, a very old established estate agency in London, now an international property company and who are our newest Corporate Friends of the Foundation.

When Giles Milner, Marketing Director, learned from Sarah about the work which is taking place to support the children, he sent two boxes, each containing 250 ponchos. Because Chestertons have undergone a rebranding, he also sent some of the newly branded ones. These went out by air so that photos could be taken, and the others will go by sea.

There are more photos of the ‘crocuses’ in Gallery 5. When the rains loom next year welook forward to bringing you photos of all the children proudly wearing their ponchos, and keeping nice and dry so that they don’t have to sit all day, soaked to the skin, in unheated schools.

Thank you, Chestertons

Some of the purple crocuses

Our Newsletters

Nasenje’s / Nkhazi’s News

In the News

January 2019

Opening Day - 31 December 2018

Yesterday the Foundation was officially opened. It was a wonderful day and even the weather was kind to us, and the rains stayed away. The Foundation was opened by the Group Village Head and the event was attended by Foundation trustees, the other Chiefs, Chiefs from other areas, the Primary Education Adviser, members of the police, clergy, social welfare, teachers and many more people who came to witness what was an historic occasion in the Ibuluma villages. And there were just over 600 children; all the orphans came.

The Chiefs from other areas had no idea what had been achieved by the Foundation and were amazed at the building work which had taken place; some of them had tears in their eyes. They all gave their thanks to everyone who has helped to make this dream a reality.

This poem was written for the occasion, and was read by Deborah Munthali. The cheers were very, very loud.

Today is our Foundation’s opening day
Where the children gather to eat and play
We want to thank our friends from far away
And wish you all a happy Hogmanay

William, Granddad, Gogo to girls and boys
You gave us Santa, sweets and Christmas toys
Nkhazi, from Scotland you hold our hand
One day we hope that you’ll come to our land

Sarah and Stuart have been working hard
To buy us goats and hens for our farmyard
So many people, too many to name
But we know who you all are, just the same

We’ve been given items of uniform
To wear to school so we keep nice and warm
To Balfron, Cambusbarron, Strathblane,
Buchlyvie, Killearn, Blanefield, our thanks again

To all of our Friends near and far away
We wish a very happy New Year’s Day
As we shout three cheers – and it will be loud
We’ll work hard this year to make you proud

Hip hip hooray
Hip hip hooray
Hip hip hooray.