On the 24th July, 2016 I will be embarking on my 300 mile Walk Across Zimbabwe to celebrate the charity’s 13th Anniversary. I’ll be doing this together with Liam Garcia of the Long Well Walk and Thandi Haruperi – my mentee and contributor of the Walk With Me along the Thames fundraiser in 2014.
In preparation for this charity walk, I went to Zimbabwe this April. This was because I wanted to present my book to women entrepreneurs in Harare via a networking group – Proweb. Of course, I wanted to gain exposure for my book, which I did, plus sponsors for the walk, which I did and walkers to walk with me in July, which I need. This all went really well and exceeded my expectations – all in all a great success!! This all made me even more excited about walking 300 miles across Zimbabwe, starting at BUMI HILLS, passing through Matusadona National Park and finishing at St. David’s School in CHIHOTA.
Before I flew out, I was deep in thought about how the trip would go. I was excited about meeting great women who I knew would inspire me and add impetus to my planned walk. But one of the most interesting things I experienced was hearing Vimbai and Blessing’s stories – these are the young people we are sponsoring to finish University. Their education is part of what Vana Trust, and indeed my walk, is all about. Since it was created, Vana Trust has championed and promoted empowerment through education, enriching the lives of vulnerable children and young adults in the UK and in Zimbabwe. This is why I was deeply touched by Vimbai and Blessing’s appreciation of our help and their efforts to develop their skills, improve their education and seize their opportunities.
Another source of inspiration for me and also one of the most interesting people I met on this trip to Zimbabwe was Nyasha Mutonhori, a butcher in Harare. I found her incredibly interesting as you do not often come across butchers who are women, in any country, let alone in Zimbabwe, so she really was toughing it out in a man’s world. Truly a great young woman. This reminded me of Cherie Blair’s comments about Vana Trust: “It is also involved in supporting women through training and micro-financing.” It is exactly women like Nyasha Mutonhori whom we want to empower and support.
The trip to Zimbabwe in April really re-affirmed for me why I am so happy to be doing this charity walk – using my effort, albeit humble in the grand scheme of things, to help others to change their lives, improve their living standards and realize their dreams and goals. The people I met were absolutely inspirational and I felt that I expanded my Zimbabwean network as a result of the trip – I will definitely be keeping in touch via Facebook and email. I am always humbled by women doing their own thing under difficult conditions, letting nothing stop them!!
I will see many of them again in July as some have decided to walk with me around the Harare area. If you would also like to join the walk and/or sponsor the walk to help young people and women make a difference in their lives and the lives of their community, please visit www.vanatrust.org.uk or the event page at https://www.justgiving.com/Nyasha-Gwatidzo1/