Over K1m already pledged for Kilimanjaro to Sapitwa charity cycling challenge

The target for the Kilimanjaro to Sapitwa charity cycling and mountain hiking challenge, which is being undertaken by Stewart Kambewa and his colleague John Moyenda, is to raise K15 million to build an academic centre for Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) and so far over K1.2 million has been pledged by several benefactors both local and from abroad.

Kambewa (left) with his guide (in red) and supporting crew
About to enter the Kilimanjaro National Park
Attachments area

Kambewa started the first part of the challenge yesterday, hiking up the 5,895m up to the peak of the great Kilimanjaro Mountain in Tanzania, alone for six days as the team could not afford the US$1,300 (about K962,000) each of the hiking fees needed to be paid.

The foreign online account that people abroad can donate to is www.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.

This time with Moyenda, the team of four left Blantyre on Thursday by car and arrived safely arrived in Moshi, Kilimanjaro region.

“We were warmly welcomed by one great gentleman whom I will tell a story of later on,” Kambewa said. “He is the one organising the hike and he gave us his guide to brief us on the Kilimanjaro hiking experience.

“The guide assured us of our safety, saying he has been up the mountain over a hundred times assisting clients. They checked our gear and certified it good to go.”

“We didn’t manage to get the whole fees for two because we carried with us just US3,000 catering for the whole trip and we just opted to have just me up the Kilimanjaro.”

When he joins Moyenda after six days, they will cycle from Moshi up to the foot of Mulanje Mountain (2,445km) to finish with a hike to Sapitwa (3002m).

The two cyclists, who have an assistance crew of two, were expected to sleep over in Karonga on Thursday night where they would continue to Moshi.

They envisage to cover at least 180km to 200km a day if they do not encounter any setbacks on their bikes.

“But we have four bikes so that should we have a breakdown we should continue on our journey up to the point where we can repair the ones that would break down.”

Kambewa added that those interested can join them hiking up the Sapitwa from Likhubula Forestry offices at a fee towards the same cause.

Kambewa’s 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.

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