Happy New year

Happy New Year!  And just like the blink of an eye, we are in 2024.

2023 was a phenomenal year for Great Minds Bright Futures with some amazing achievements.

Achievements like providing over 40,560 meals to our orphaned and vulnerable children in Malawi.  We also provided over 1,248 hours of activities for each child, from sports and games to singing and dancing.

We also funded two students to go to high school.  Not just school fees, but school clothes, accommodation, food, pens school bags and shoes.

During the year, personally I visited twice in March and October, and along with my UK and Nigerian visitors we were able to take 34 children to Lake Malawi for a day out.  The children ate pizza for the first time ever and splashed in the water for hours.  They toasted marshmallows and played on the sand.  One child said, “am I dreaming?”

Every orphan received a Bolton School bag containing many items including soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and books, pens and pencils.  It was such a pleasure to see their faces when they started to explore what was inside their personalised bag, including a letter from students in the UK.

We built one orphan daycare building (10m x 30m).  This huge and impressive project provides a safe space for children to eat and play every day, it was opened in October.

During 2023, we distributed 3,200 exercise books to our Chunzu Primary School children.

Each of our orphans received school uniforms in March and October, locally tailored and helping the kids to look smart and fit in at school.

In total over 400 tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes were distributed along with over 600 bars of soap.

We collected and distributed over 130 pairs of shoes and trainers for our children.

Plus, over 1,000 pens and pencils distributed and countless balls, toys and games.  We even distributed netball nets and bibs for the children to use.

We also maintained a team of 7 to guide the orphans at Great Minds Bright Futures in Malawi, including cooks to feed the children.  Plus, we had up to 15 labourers working on our construction project.  The latter is not to be underestimated since providing a livelihood for local people is crucial to help families escape poverty.

Initiatives like educating children regarding agriculture and taking nine visitors over to Malawi to inspire the children are not to be underestimated as an achievement in 2023.

We filmed and created a short film showcasing our work, narrated by movie star Noel Clarke.  We showcased the film in July in Manchester.

Naturally, I am immensely proud of what our team have achieved in 2023 and I am excited as to what we might achieve in 2024.

In September in the UK, my company was able to employ a full time individual and her time is donated to the charity for free, to support our team, help with Charity Commission compliance, fundraise and grow our social media content and audiences.

Speaking of which, our TikTok account has now got over 58,000 followers – one video alone recording over 540,000 views and both our Instagram and Facebook are growing too!

And did I mention we appeared on Malawi TV when the Rt. Hon Madalitso Wirima MP, Minister for Education came to visit and inspire the children in March?

What are our plans for 2024?

We have physical building projects like the new computer school, business workshops and Great Minds Bright Futures offices (with a flushing toilet) and solar panels to power the site.

Here it is hoped we will create much needed business space for local businesses to flourish and create a learning environment for our orphaned children.  The computer school will open, and a curriculum will be established to help orphans gain valuable skills to help them in future life.  With good internet access and training, there is no reason why our children cannot get involved in careers in a digital World.  Classes will also be made available to every Chunzu school child (1,600) so that nobody in Dowa get left behind.

Our official offices will give a place for staff training and ensuring accounts can be formally administered.  We plan on receiving many visitors at our new offices.

We will then move onto building a technical college to give much needed skills in carpentry, construction and other technical skills.  Maybe one day solar panel installers will have trained in our very own technical college, and they will be installing on our buildings.

We also intend to provide at our new orphan daycare village, toilets, fruit drinks factory and emergency accommodation, some of which will be completed in 2025.  We also need a wall around the site for security and safety.

From the UK, we will continue to work with our donors and reach a wider audience through the opening of a charity shop in Bolton, bid writing, fundraising events and building a Mission Malawi 2025 team, who will head off to take part in a charity challenge in 2025.  We will support this team, helping them reach their ambitious targets.

We will also collect aid, sort and pack and ship a container in 2024, filled full of goodies for the children but also items for Mission Malawi 2025.

The container will also include many more items to help with activities in Malawi, including the three piano’s that have already been donated.

Another of our initiatives is to create a sponsored visa place for a talented individual to come to the UK for 12 months and help at the charity.  Here we will train and support the individual so that when they return to Malawi, they are well equipped to support our Malawian team and help our children.

In order to do all these things, we need the support of volunteers here in the UK and in Malawi.  Please, please step forward and offer your help so that we can continue our great work in 2024!

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us info@greatmindsbrightfutures.co.uk

If you are interested in donating, then please use our website Great Minds Bright Futures

Thank you and enjoy 2024!

Dave Armstrong – Founder, Great Minds Bright Futures

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