By Harris Chimatiro
Lilongwe, Mana: Malawi Vice president, Dr. Saulosi Chilima on Monday joined a group of 10 young people dubbed ‘walkers’ who have been trekking for 10 days from Blantyre to Lilongwe in a bid to raise funds for the training of 100 tour guides.
The Vice President joined from Bunda Turn Off and walked a 13 kilometre stretch in a sizable crowd to the Gateway Wall via bypass road.
Speaking to reporters in Lilongwe, Chilima said he joined the race because the initiative is of paramount importance towards the tourism sector and economy.
“Everything is possible, if you want it to happen it has to begin with us. Therefore, this initiative will help government in boosting the tourism sector as it is the backbone of the economy,” Chilima said.
He , therefore, thanked the people who have sponsored the initiative such as TNM and urged them to increase the sponsorship to K10 million.
“You are not giving the money to walkers but it is for the training of tour guides who are useful for the development of the country through tourism sector,” he added.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Dr. Michael Usi, expressed gratitude to the Vice President for gracing the occasion saying the gesture is in line with the Tonse Agenda of developing the tourism sector so that it becomes a source of employment.
“We as Malawians should not wait for the outside people, but we should take the initiative ourselves as it is a noble course and to join the walkers as the money from this initiative will help in boosting the tourism sector,” he said.
TNM Chief Channels Officer, Phyllis Manguluti, said as a company they are committed to work with the government and communities.
She congratulated the walkers for the good job they have done.
“We sponsored the walkers since TNM is a Malawian company. We have a responsibility to invest in Malawi because whatever comes out from this will benefit all of us,” Manguluti said.
One of the organisers of the walker’s initiative, Yangiro Yangiro, disclosed that the walkers have managed to beat their target of K7.5 million.
“The journey has been tough because we had casualties along the way and also we tried as much as possible to save up on the money so that we don’t spend much,” Yangiro said.
He added that the people were breaking down sometimes even not having enough food but still the whole team has reached Lilongwe.
“We have been camping along the way sleeping in schools, churches though it was not simple but the team supported us and remained united,” he added.
The initiative involved 10 walkers who took a mega walk from Blantyre to Lilongwe covering a distance of 314 kilometres to raise money amounting to over K7.5 million for the training of more tour guides in Malawi.