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Joining the journey to Chipata

Sue Higginbotham.
Sue Higginbotham.

Supporter Sue Higginbotham recently decided to take on SOS Children’s challenge to ‘Walk to Chipata’ to improve the lives of vulnerable children growing up in Zambia. To help complete the 9,000 miles between the UK and Zambia, she committed to a 100-mile sponsored swim over three months and has already raised nearly £700.

Sue has been swimming her miles over three months in the lead up to World Orphan Week, which runs from 4-11 March 2013. The week highlights the number of children around the world growing up alone. This year, the challenge is to collectively ‘Walk to Chipata’ – taking part in a sponsored walk, run, swim or row, to virtually cover the 9,000 miles between the UK and Chipata in Zambia.

In 2012, SOS Children opened a new Children’s Village in Chipata to provide a loving home and a family for orphaned and abandoned children. The awareness and funds raised through World Orphan Week enables SOS Children to change the lives of more vulnerable children and ensure they grow up with the love, care and security of a family.

Sue is a long-term volunteer for SOS Children, often helping out in the Cambridge-based office. During a holiday to Africa in 2012, she had the opportunity to visit the SOS Children’s Village in Lilongwe, Malawi, where 120 children with no one else to care for them have found a new home and opportunities for a brighter future. Sue says her visit to the Children’s Village inspired her to get involved in the ‘Walk to Chipata’: “It was a fantastic experience - the staff were totally committed and the children and young people we met were a credit to the whole organisation. The resources of the Children’s Village – the health centre, school, special needs centre - are also used to support the wider community. I think it’s brilliant that the children are brought up in a family environment – and the outreach work with the local community is a great bonus.”

After attending a volunteer coffee morning and learning about SOS Children’s new projects in Zambia, Sue was inspired to take part in the Walk to Chipata. A regular swimmer, she signed up to complete 6440 lengths, the equivalent of 100 miles, in her local pool over the next 12 weeks. Although she was swimming two or three days a week before the challenge, she now swims almost every weekday to ensure that she reaches her milestone by the end of World Orphan Week on 11 March.

Sue says that she has been motivated by the incredible support she has received: “Friends and family have been very generous, so I had the added incentive of not wanting to let them down.” Thanks to her determination, Sue is on-track to complete her 100 miles by the end of World Orphan Week, making a significant contribution towards changing children’s lives in Zambia.

Join the Chipata challenge

World Orphan Week is your chance to reach out to children who do not have a family to care for them. Whether you would like to get involved as a school, an office, with your friends, or would like to take on a challenge individually, find out how you can help Walk to Chipata and change the lives of children in Zambia.