Malawi Cycle Ride Provides Boost for Microloan

Three Chiswick based friends raise £5,000 for charity

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Anyone interested in getting involved, who has any fundraising ideas of their own can contact: If your wish to discuss the trip or Malawi as a tourist destination you can email Tom Porter at and anyone who would like to donate funds can go to

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Three Chiswick-based friends have recently completed a four-day cycle ride along the shores of Lake Malawi in Africa to raise funds for local charity The MicroLoan Foundation, at the same time fitting in visits to the projects that the charity is helping to fund. So far they have raised £5,000 and hope to reach their target of £6,000.

The three cyclists - Jamie Allen, Tom Porter and Jamie Coleman - met at Chiswick School and have kept in touch through university, travelling and careers.

The MicroLoan Foundation is a charity that delivers small but very effective loans to people in Malawi, allowing them to start their own businesses – a real step towards making poverty history.

The cycle ride started in Salima and day one took the volunteers to Nkhotokota, with many children waving and shouting encouragement along the way. The cyclists then spent two days with the MicroLoan Nkhotakota team.

Tom Porter said, "This was a great way to see parts of the country tourists can’t usually reach and a chance for us to see where the money we had raised was going. We were often received with a specially composed Microloan song followed by an introduction to the work of the group and an offer to sample their wares."

The following three days of cycling was very hard work with plenty of steady climbs as they worked their way north along the coast of the lake to Chinteche Inn where the sponsored ride ended.

The cyclists self-funded the trip with all monies raised going directly to MicroLoan. All the cyclists felt that the experience we had was well worth their efforts over the past year and highly recommend Malawi as a tourist destination. They would welcome the opportunity to discuss the trip with anyone who would like to know more.

The MicroLoan Foundation is a London based charity established in 1998, mainly run by volunteers who fund most of their own expenses. Its aim is to provide small loans, basic business training and on-going mentoring support to people in the developing world to enable them to develop self-sustainable livelihoods, feed, clothe and educate their families, and work their way out of the poverty trap.

To date, over 7,500 loans have been made in Malawi. Thanks to careful nurturing, the vast majority of projects supported are commercially viable and 97% of the loans are repaid in full. This allows the capital to be recycled into new ventures and to go on working for many years to come.

October 28, 2006