The William Stewart Foundation

Sponsor a Child

In Malawi, primary education is free, but secondary education must be paid for.

Children dip in and out of school according to what can be afforded. That is why there are pupils of 18, 19 and even 20 who are still struggling to complete their education. Even at primary level, although there are no fees payable, if the children haven’t got food, or such basics as soap with which to wash clothes – or clothes themselves – or a notebook or pencil, they can’t go to school.

And so many of them – or their parent/s or grandparent/s with whom they may live – try and get piecework. It becomes a classroom carousel – in and out.

We have revised our document Sponsor A Child – Save a Life. All the young people in that document now have sponsors. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown by people who have sponsored other children, too.

There are now 50 able to achieve their dream of completing their education.

Just what a difference this makes to the self-esteem and the happiness of the young people can be seen in this compilation of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos.

We have asked Sarah Black, our sister charity’s Development Manager, to write a piece for the website about sponsorship.

All of the children the Foundation supports are living in extreme poverty. They are fed a nutritious and filling meal once a week but some children might go several days without food. They miss school as they have to work for a pittance to try to help their families. Most of the time the children live with either one parent or, more commonly, grandparents.

Sponsoring a child means they have hope. They know someone cares about them. They have a brighter future. They will continue to have access to the feeding programme and will get a monthly food parcel and soap for their family. This isn't enough for the whole month but will help supplement their diet. We want to give people the helping hand they need but not be totally reliant on food parcels. They would love to be self-sufficient and that is our aim too.

A sponsored child will also have new clothes and a blanket, soap and stationery supplies for school. Once they get to high school, their fees will be paid, uniform bought and any other supplies they need.

50 children age under 6 attend our nursery (paid for by a monthly donation). The nursery runs three sessions a week and these children are given porridge at each session. They have also had a new nursery uniform donated for all the children.

If you would like to get involved, or have more questions, then please do get in touch with us. Sponsorship is £25 per month per child and you can sponsor as an individual, family or two friends can split the cost of sponsoring a child.

You will hear from your sponsored child at least twice a year and you will help a child have a much better future. We have lots of children of all ages needing a sponsor to improve their lives. There are photos on the website and our Facebook page has photos of those most in need or you could ask about a particular age group. Together we can change lives.

Sponsor an Apprentice

The Foundation is at the start of a new initiative – Foundation Apprenticeships – and this is a piece by our Executive Director, Levison Mlambya.

This is a new initiative for 2021, in conjunction with our sister charity which organises it for us, as it does with sponsorship.

Some of our young people will be in their early twenties by the time they leave secondary school if they are lucky enough to have sponsors. This is fine for those who wish to pursue more academic studies but many of the young people would prefer to learn a trade.

So we have decided on a two-year apprenticeship – sponsored in the same way as the school sponsorships.

While the shower block build is still taking place and until enough funds are available to employ other tutors, we are starting with agricultural education and animal management apprenticeships. As a qualified teacher with a BSc in agricultural education, I will be the tutor.

As the year progresses, the Foundation will be able to encompass more skills – bricklaying, carpentry, and tailoring as examples.

The courses will be open to both boys and girls. Some of our girls want to be farmers; we have one who wants to be an electrician. Others of the girls may wish to learn more traditional female skills such as dressmaking and crafts and we wish to give them those opportunities too.

Sponsorship will be £25 per month, the same as for the school sponsorship, and will give access to the feeding programme, clothes, a blanket, a monthly food parcel for the family, and some pocket money for the teenagers while they learn.

Some of the sponsor money will pay for professionals to teach trade skills and hopefully for someone to be able to supervise the whole apprenticeship programme.

Simple articles made during the apprenticeship – clothes, baskets, wooden stools, for example, can be sold at market and the profit split between the Foundation and the teenager.

The aim of the apprenticeship initiative is to provide the youngsters with skills; to keep the boys, in particular, out of trouble and for the girls to prevent them having to go into early marriage through a lack of hope for their future. It raises self-esteem and self-worth, provides them and their families with some food and a little pocket money.

We must stress, however, that because education is prized in Malawi, the Foundation will still be working to gain sponsorship for those young people who wish to complete their education.

If you are able to consider sponsoring for school or apprenticeship please contact us via the contact form or email our sister charity: [email protected]