Harrogate charity's challenge: Walk from UK to Malawi to help save children's lives

The public are being invited to walk from the UK to Malawi for a children's charity based in Harrogate.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:51 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:54 pm
Children in Africa being supported by Harrogate-based charity Open Arms Malawi.

Open Arms Malawi, is gearing up for a virtual fundraising journey like no other as they travel from their Harrogate office to their infant home in Blantyre, Malawi.

They are calling for people to get involved or spread the word.

The challenge will take place from April 1 until June 30, 2021 and it is open for all to join at any time.

The challenge involves a whopping 12,361km journey and the charity aims to raise £12,361 (£1 per km) to fund the entire food and medical costs of their infant home for at least six months.

These early medical and nutritional interventions save lives, as they help vulnerable babies combat the implications of early years malnutrition and other preventable health conditions.

Open Arms Malawi is a small, independent charity based in Harrogate.

The charity has been transformed by the town’s historic connections and commitment over the last 20 years.

The support of Harrogate has helped fund a successful NGO in Malawi, providing medical attention, shelter, food and love to Malawi’s orphaned and abandoned children until they can return home to their communities.

The challenge has been designed to celebrate this connection as participants can walk, run, cycle or swim the journey while fundraising for the charity.

There are three ways the public can join in;

Take part as an individual and set your own goal

Set up a team with colleagues, friends, family, or your community group and take on the whole distance as a group

Join team Open Arms Malawi and contribute your distance to our team.

A dedicated route has been produced in partnership with the World of Walking, a global charitable platform.

The custom route starts in central Harrogate and takes you all the way to Blantyre, Malawi.

To mark the charities 20 year anniversary, there are milestones that plot the history of Open Arms Malawi and the country itself through the years. Supporters can set up their route, link to their Fitbit and create their fundraising page all within the site and it’s app.

Claire Collins, head of fundraising at Open Arms Malawi, said: “We’re delighted to host this event and have over 70 people signed up already. This year, we’re seeing a 40% drop in funds as all events and visits are paused.

"This is extremely worrying as we rely on these funds to provide essential services to children in Malawi.

"In the current climate, new fundraising initiatives are vital and we’re really excited to create an event to celebrate everything Open Arms Malawi has achieved in and around Harrogate”.

Factfile: Open Arms Malawi

Malawi is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is also one of the world’s ten poorest countries with up to 74% of the population living below the international poverty line.

Open Arms Malawi runs two infant homes in Blantyre and Mangochi, which provide milk, accommodation and medical care for 80 orphaned babies until they can walk, talk and eat solid foods.

At age two, when they are no longer reliant on milk, they return to be cared for by their wider family and community. Without our help, most of the babies in our care wouldn’t survive.

At its Blantyre and Mangochi infant homes, babies are cared for by a paediatric nurse-led team, providing medical care alongside food and development.

Each baby is assigned to a ‘Mum’ who becomes their primary carer until they leave at around age two.

The children receive milk and care to help them overcome the negative effects of malnutrition they may have suffered prior to arrival. Southern Malawi has the highest rate of stunted child development in the country.

Once a child returns home, the Open Arms' Outreach programme ensures they continue to receive support.

Each child goes home with toys, clothes, a mosquito net and food to help keep the costs to the family low.

Open Arms regularly check on the child’s health and development for the next three years, providing seed and fertiliser to help the family grow crops. If needed, we provide additional food parcels or small monthly payments to help the family provide care.

The charity has also set up nine community-based Nursery Schools, providing nursery care, education and a daily meal for up to 450 children from age two to five.

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