Seven youths who set out on a 362-kilometre 10-day charity walk from Lilongwe to Blantyre to raise K22 million (about $17 600), accomplished their mission yesterday as they reached their destination in the afternoon after raising K18 million ($25 175).
The seven—Wanangwa Msutu, Duwa Mvula, Milca Mphepo, Tiyanjane Kapalamula, Ruth Gondwe, Ivy Chilingulo and Kalolo Msaka—are members of a charity organisation Beyond You. They embarked on the walk on May 30 to raise money for the High Dependency Unit in the paediatric ward at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe.
However, despite receiving overwhelming support from organisations and individuals, including Cabinet ministers, members of Parliament (MPs), artists and footballers along the way, the welcome on arrival in Blantyre was rather lukewarm.
Rights activists Seodi White joined the walkers at Lunzu where they started off their last leg. In the course of the walk, final year business communication students from the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), joined them as did Airtel Malawi staff, whose company was one of the corporate sponsors of the walk.
Others, who heard about the seven were high on alert along the way to see them and give them a pat on the back for their sacrifice towards the children of Malawi. Cyclist Justin Kufakuwawa bought seven apples for the team members at Kameza.
In an interview there, Mvula, who is Beyond You executive director, said the trip has taught them that “for one to go far in life, go with people”. She said it felt great to be at Kameza because it was a far off place.
Mvula, looking tired but contented, said the support from Malawians kept them going.
She said: “Your legs, your feet, I think represent an ability that a human alone has. They can only take you so far, but when people come together and they support you and your cause, that is what pushes you to keep going.”
Support from Malawians of goodwill continued to be overwhelming along the way as the seven walkers walked from Kameza to College of Medicine (CoM), their final destination.
Some joined in the walk; others were waving and cheering them. Still others, on foot and in vehicles, were stopping to donate towards the cause.
Some minibus drivers and passengers also joined in to donate something towards improving the health care of the country’s children.
Contributions towards the cause, named Strides of Hope, were being made in cash, through bank deposits to Standard Bank, City Mall Branch, account number 01400369314000, account name Beyond You; through Airtel Money 0998 226 181 and TNM Mpamba 0885 636 070. People were being requested to contribute a minimum of K362.
Minutes before 5pm, the seven were welcomed at CoM by family, friends and other well-wishers. It was a moment of happiness, tears and joy as they celebrated their arrival and the accomplished mission.