A life-changing journey

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and more than two-thirds of the population lives in extreme poverty.

Despite the everyday hardships faced by most of its population, Malawi is often called the “Warm Heart of Africa” for the extraordinary kindness of its people.

Reto Buholzer, Training Manager Operations at Roche Diagnostics in Rotkreuz, found this to be true during his visit there in 2014. Having been a very successful fundraiser for many years for the Children’s Walk, he was selected as an Ambassador to experience first-hand the impact of funds raised for the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP). Among other projects, ECPP supported the development of seven HIV/AIDS orphan centres in rural southern Malawi, and a Technical College, where students could learn practical skills enabling them to get a job or start their own small enterprises.

“The visit to Malawi was very inspiring for me,” says Reto. “It was the first time I had ever left Europe. The poverty within the country was clear, but so was the enthusiasm and the great ‘joie de vivre’ of the people I met. I will never forget the contagious laughter of the people, especially the children. That touched me very deeply.”

Together with other Ambassador colleagues, Reto visited several newly-built centres, developed by ECPP or UNICEF with funds generated from the Children’s Walk. They visited two children’s day-care centres, a primary school, the Comboni Technical College, and a teacher training college, which was still under construction.

“These projects weren’t just building new centres and schools, they were building new futures for so many children,” says Reto. “I am very proud that our company has been leading the Children’s Walk initiative for 20 years. For so many children, it offers a chance of a meaningful future and a dignified life in addition to the direct help of food and education. This is a wonderful example of sustainability. Every cent is very well invested.”

Reto is one of over 120 Roche Ambassadors who have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the impact from funds raised by the Children’s Walk.

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