By Duncan Mlanjira
Stewart The Cyclist’s is all geared for his daring charity adventure on Saturday as he is set to cycle 32.2kms saddle-less up through the meandering Masasa-Golomoti escarpment road, popularly known as Khwekhwerere route.
And Blantyre-based dairy food processing company, Kombeza Foods has come to his assistance by donating K50,000 for him to meet his logistical costs such as accommodation and food to be met a day before the event at Golomoti where he is going to starts off.
Stewart paid tribute Kombeza Foods Managing Director, Mdingase Chirwa, who he said has been very supportive before.
“I don’t take this support for granted. This financial support will go a long way in making sure this event is successful for the good welfare of needy children at Friends of Mulanje Orphanage (FOMO) homes.”
Kombeza Foods, whose main objective is to provide, convenient, nutritious and well packaged food products to Malawians, is not new in assisting the community as in August last year it sponsored the Southern Region Netball Committee with K2 million for a two-day netball tournament called ‘Kombeza Big 4 Netball Bonanza’.
Apart from providing nutritious and affordable dairy products since January 2018, Kombeza vows to combat issues of gender imbalance, climate change and corruption and also educating local farmers in some crosscutting issues.
Kambewa shot to fame when he, together with his colleague Kwame Kaira, 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.
And this time it is in aid of raising every day needs for FOMO such as clothes, shoes, school materials, toys and groceries for the institution’s children whose ages range between 2-16 years.
The adventure is dubbed ‘Kugwetsa Khwekhwerere’ and Kambewa says: “It’s going to be hard but hard does not mean impossible. I am all set and I am very grateful to all the support I am getting so far.
“What we are kindly asking for as well-wishers’ assistance in this adventure is to donate some stuff which their children stopped using but are still usable such as clothes, shoes, school materials and toys to be donated to FOMO. Groceries are also welcome and I pledge to earn that gesture by cycling 30.2kms saddle-less non-stop and most of it uphill,” Kambewa said.
The start point will be from Masasa-Golomoti turn-off on the Salima M5 Road all the way uphill through the meandering Masasa-Golomoti escarpment road to connect with the Blantyre-Lilongwe M1 Road.
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.
This is not the first time for Stewart The Cyclist to take up a challenge to cycle uphill saddle-less and for charity — he succeeded doing the same for 10kms uphill from Zomba City Central up to Ku Chawe Inn, taking 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 and he says he has upped the challenge this time around by adding 20 more kms.
In December 8-12, he also cycled for fun 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, 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.
FOMO was established in 2000 to aid growing numbers of orphans in Mulanje and from small beginnings it has grown and now looks after over 3,500 children through a network of 14 centres covering over 90 villages in Mulanje.
The institution 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 play schools, computer, driving and tailoring schools.
FOMO, which is run by a board of trustees in UK whose main work is to raise funds and awareness of the children’s situation, also covers the provision of school materials, personal items and much more.