In 2015 Levison helped a lady who was distraught after losing her husband and all that she possessed, in a disaster. He didn’t know whether he had said and done as much as he could and felt that he needed to learn counselling. He googled on his phone and up came The Institute of Counselling in Glasgow.
He contacted them and was granted a bursary. The tutor assigned to him was William Stewart, and that’s how their friendship came about.
After Levison studied for and was awarded the Certificate in Counselling and then the Diploma in Clinical and Pastoral Counselling, the two remained friends.
One day Levison was telling William of the extreme poverty in Malawi and the hopelessness felt by so many people, especially the children and the elderly. He asked if there were any place in the UK which provided second-hand Bibles. Levison is a man of great faith, as are so many in his country. William sent out 16 new Bibles, and there is a photo, in our Gallery, of Levison on his knees in gratitude.
Subsequent conversation led to the formation of the Foundation, named originally The William Stewart Hope for the Hopeless Foundation.
In its first years, the Foundation has gone from strength to strength, as can be seen from the Projects page and the timeline on the Archives and the name has been changed officially to The William Stewart Foundation, because now there is hope where there was hopelessness; joy where there was despair. The rays of the rising sun, depicting hope and freedom on Malawi’s flag, have been, and continue to be, spread to those in darkness. Our new logo, with the sunflower depicting light and hope, continues that theme.
On Sunday 10 January 2021, William left us, suddenly, in the early hours and sped to his forever home from where, we know, he will continue to look after the Foundation as he did when he was living.
Without William, the Foundation would not have come into being – we will continue to honour him, his name and his memory, and work hard to bring about his long-term vision.
The celebration of our Co-Founder’s life can be seen on his website.
We have been delighted to welcome so many Friends of the Foundation, from across the world, who are assisting in our aim of bringing joy to Malawian lives.
Before his death William had worked on restructuring the Foundation for its future - so that it becomes more Malawi orientated as it grows in stature towards more self-sufficiency.
Accordingly, we have respected his wishes and his wisdom. Levison Mlambya, our Co-founder, will take on the mantle of Chief Executive Officer. Mary Young will continue as Administrator with responsibility for the wellbeing of the Foundation as a whole.
The UK sister charity Friends of the William Stewart Centre Malawi is coming up to its second successful year, and Sarah Black will continue in her role as its lead trustee and Development Manager of the UK charity.
Over the next few months we will be bringing details of Levison’s support team in Ibuluma.