Cyclist Stewart Kambewa has become the first Malawian to climb on top of Kilimanjaro Mountain in a record four days instead of the planned six days in fundraising aid of Friends of Mulanje Orphans (Fomo).
Fomo founder and Executive Director Mary Woodworth said in an interview with Nyasa Times on Thursday that they are happy that Kambewa has broken the record in conquering Kilimanjaro Mountain while helping raise funds for Fomo.
“Kambewa and his friends will start cycling back to Malawi tomorrow [Friday]. Please let us hold hands and support them,” said Woodworth.
“When they arrive in Mulanje, they will hike the Mulanje Mountain up to Sapitwa Peak and descend, so I am asking all well wishers to support them,” added Woodworth.
Fomo targets to raise about K20 million to build an academic centre at Mangani in Mulanje to support vulnerable and orphaned children in the district.
Fomo is a community based orphan care programme supporting over 3,500 children through a network of 14 centres in Mulanje district and covers all aspects of the children’s welfare including health through its outreach clinic, formal and informal education, food security and production.
The programme also covers pre-school, out of school activities and further learning through its play schools, computer, driving and tailoring schools. The programme also covers the provision of school materials, personal items (Soap, clothes, blankets, and mosquito nets) and community much more.
Some of the orphans Fomo has supported since its establishment in 200 have gone up to finish tertiary education and are now independent.
Meanwhile, over K1.2 million has been pledged by several benefactors both local and from abroad.
The foreign online account that people abroad can donate to iswww.wonderful.org and it has already been utilized by Gillian Coxhead at £62.50 (K56,563); Brendan Rendall at £31.25 (K28,281); Susan Bretherton and Keith Woodworth at £25 (K22,625) each; Paul Brant at £250 (K226,250) and Francesco Dommet at £12.5 (K11,313).
Locally Dossani Trust has donated K500,000; Office Mart at K300,000 and Agnes Jazza at K100,000 — all totalling K1,267,657 by close of business on Sunday.
In comment attached to the pledges, Rendall — who came to run the length of Malawi to raise funds for FOMO Secondary School back in 2016, said: “Good Luck! One of my inspirations!” while Coxhead said: “Thank you for caring and having big hearts. Praying for you all the way.”
Bretherton said: “Wishing you a successful challenge for a very worthwhile cause.”
FOMO’s bank account details for local sponsors are: First Capital Bank Mulanje, Savings 0034502000204 and National Bank Mulanje, Current 477478.
Sponsors can also use mobile money services on Airtel Money (0995 006 776) and TNM Mpamba (0883 339 669).
Kambewa shot to fame together with his colleague, Kwame Kaira when they cycled 1,149km in 8 days from Nsanje to Chitipa in September 2016 to raise funds towards building boreholes in some communities of the country.
The two cyclists, who have an assistance crew of two, target to cycle at least 180km to 200km a day if they do not encounter any setbacks on their bikes.
And as backup, they have with them four bikes so that should they have a breakdown they should continue on their journey up to the point where they could have repair services.
Kambewa added that those interested can join them hiking up the Sapitwa from Likhubula Forestry offices at a fee towards the same cause.
His connection with FOMO dates back in 2016 when Briton Brendan Rendall’s charity run along the length of Malawi in aid of FOMO, the orphanage which looks after over 3,500 children whose ages range between 2-16 years through a network of 14 centres covering over 90 villages in Mulanje.
Having connected with FOMO’s founder, Mary Woodworth, Kambewa decided and succeeded to cycle 30.4kms saddle-less up the Masasa-Golomoti escarpment route from Salima M5 road junction to the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road in April.
This challenge was asking the public to donate clothes, shoes, school materials and toys that their kids no longer use and the consignment of the goods that was donated was presented last month.
Other daring challenges he has done include a 10kms uphill from Zomba City Central up to Ku Chawe Inn cycling saddle-less that took him in just under 45 minutes on September 9, 2017.
He did this to raise funds to pay fees for two underprivileged secondary school students from Mulanje and Chiradzulu while in December 2017, he also cycled for fun for four days from Senga Bay in Salima, heading for Lilongwe where he headed along the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road up to the junction for the Khwekhwerere route all the way to Monkey Bay.
From there he headed to his base in Blantyre through Mangochi, Liwonde and Zomba road, covering 663kms.
In between, he has also done a saddle-less cycle up the Chikwawa escarpment from downhill at Thabwa police roadblock all the way to Blantyre, which he dubbed ‘Chikwawa Hills and Meanders Challenge’ covering 20km in 1:6:11hrs.
He also took part in the Nation Publications Mother’s Day Charity Fun Run by volunteering to cycle 311kms from Blantyre to Lilongwe September 8, 2019, in 13:45hrs and the proceeds from the donations he received went towards the Safe Motherhood charity fund set up by the Nation newspaper.
Kambewa said he decided to join hands with FOMO because the institution’s founder Mary Woodworth has been an inspiration and motivation to his life in the past 3-4 years and the impact that FOMO is making to the lives of the children and the community at large.-Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira, Nyasa Times.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :