Imagine combining the trip of a lifetime with the opportunity to make a difference both here in Plymouth and in one of the world’s poorest countries – that’s the opportunity St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is offering those who want to push their boundaries physically and mentally and use their skills to help global hospice care.

The charity’s Malawi Challenge 2019 combines an exciting physical challenge with helping people in the country known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’, while raising vital funds for the compassionate care St Luke’s gives and the special memories the organisation creates every day for patients and their families when time is short.

The eight-day challenge includes a two-day climb up majestic Mulanje Mountain – with the opportunity to run part of the route for those wanting to push themselves even harder – and visits to rural home-based clinics, as well as enjoying some of Africa’s most breath-taking scenery and wildlife.

Famously friendly, Malawi is one of Africa’s most beautiful countries, but it is also one of its poorest, with 60 per cent of its people earning less than 93 pence a day.

Participants in the challenge (6 – 13 April 2019) will see a different side to Africa and meet dedicated, passionate and inspiring people committed to delivering healthcare in a challenging, cripplingly under-resourced environment. It is an opportunity for people from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions to pool their skills for the benefit of Malawians in need of their help.

One of the first to get on board with the challenge is intrepid Ann Brady, who celebrates her 70th birthday this December.

A nurse with 50 years’ experience, Ann is widely travelled and has trekked the Great Wall of China but has never been to Malawi. She is keen to use her nursing skills to benefit those living in the cripplingly poor country, where life expectancy is low.

Ann, who was Marie Curie Nurse of the Year in 2006 and lives in Worcester, said: “A good friend works at St Luke’s and having heard all about the fantastic care the team gives, I’ve been inspired to sign up for this amazing challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting people from all backgrounds with knowledge and skills they can use generously to make a difference, whether they’re health-related or in another area.

“We’ll all come with different experience but share a common goal to help in whatever way we can. It’s also a great opportunity to see stunning scenery, and I’m looking forward to extending my stay so that I can enjoy a safari.”

While those from a medical or social work background can support or offer training workshops to Malawi’s Palliative Care Support Trust Blantyre, which provides palliative care for children and adults through clinics and home visits, those from different backgrounds can use their skills to support other organisations, such as those focussing on education, law and women’s rights.

Speaking about the challenge, Penny Hannah, Head of Fundraising at St Luke’s, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity – not only for the amazing trip and all the wonderful memories it will create but for people to share their skills, any skills they have, and work with Malawians within the healthcare and community care system.

“Everyone who takes part will be pushing their boundaries physically and mentally, joining a team committed to supporting global hospice care, and really giving something back at home and in the warm heart of Africa as an incredible global compassionate citizen.”

Those taking part in the challenge have the opportunity to extend their stay and enjoy activities such as scuba diving and kayaking at Lake Mulanje – or can simply relax in a hammock and take in the stunning surroundings. They can also travel into Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania or South Africa.

More information about the Malawi Challenge 2019 is available here.