Now booking for The Women's Challenge May 2020 Expedition. https://www.orbis-skills.com/womens-challenge

I have just returned from the most incredible 7 days in Malawi. I thought it would be a chance for me to check out the work we are doing and tick a few work boxes but it was one of the best weeks of my life....here's why I LOVE our Women's Skills Sharing expeditions. 

The Women's Challenge 2019 Team

We came from many different backgrounds, ages, countries and experiences. We were a mix of ladies who all took a leap of faith and grasped every challenge as a new experience. We were bonded by the mountain we climbed, the workshops we ran and the sights, sounds and experiences we went through. It was a small team but with a huge wealth of skills. A real honour to be part of. Between us we brought skills in business, finance, digital marketing, teaching and engineering/architecture. And there goes my Whats App...another message from my team, new friends now!

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Women in Business Workshops

It really feels like we are beginning to nail the format of these workshops! This time we worked with 7 Malawian women in business. All had their own companies and they had outlined for us the key areas of business they would be interested to learn more about. We spent the day running workshops on finance, marketing and the best of all was empowerment: How to get your voice heard and motivate your staff and the people around you. The discussions, the buzz and the small group nature of the work was inspirational and a learning exercise for us all. The space, at our office in Malawi, The Travel Barn, is so conducive to this style of workshops and we found everyone, from both teams, opened up and the level of conversation after such a short time together was incredible. Challenges of business, being women in business, and the juggling of career, family and cultural pressures/expectations were all discussed and we finished the day all feeling heard and supported. 

NB Many of our Women's Challenge Team were part funded by their companies- this is wonderful to see and I hope the way forward to make our expeditions more accessible to all women- find out more about getting your business involved

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My Highlight- The Mulanje Mountain Hike

Hiking Mulanje Mountain with The Women's Challenge team was my highlight of the week. Trek Mulanje, led by David Majeweta, expertly guided us up the stunning Chapaluka Path to Chambe Hut. The path wound gently up to Mulanje's plateau- taking in the stunning landscape of woodland, rivers and valleys. We stopped a lot, which was amazing, as it allowed us to all truly experience the beauty of the mountain. I loved the challenge of the steeper bits, the fear of falling off the rickety bridges and the wonder of seeing such remote, beautiful landscape from such height. I adored seeing the milky way around the camp fire and reading my book by candlelight. I am now determined to put together a 7 day hike on Mulanje Mountain, taking in as many peaks and routes as possible! I can not praise David and his team at Trek Mulanje enough. We use them as our local supplier for all our teams and will continue doing so, they were exceptional.

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Rainbow Hope Secondary School

'Come on Kate, let's go!' I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay for a whole week. It was such an incredible day. The workshops we ran, the students we worked with, the teachers we met...the story behind RHSS and the passion with which the teachers and Joseph bring to the school is infectious. It really feels like you are part of an ever evolving story, a project that is rooted in CISER, rooted in the students, their parents and their community. The challenges are HUGE and MANY but the will, determination and collaborative approach will surely win through! We are committed as a company to continuing with this approach and more and more of our clients are too. STEM classroom being finished this week!! Watch this space...

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In reflection I could write on and on about the incredible moments of this past week. The fact I got to read half a book on the blissful beach at Mumbo Island, the joy of waking up and running through Satemwa Tea Estate before delicious breakfast on the lodge khonde, the joy of seeing a group of elephants splashing in the river at Majete. The trip offered me everything I love about travel- it pushed my senses, it made me ache with the physical push of Mulanje, it made me laugh, and cry and it lit up a passion inside me to keep pushing these trips to women like me - women who strive for their adventures to have meaning, to explore further and to be part of something extraordinary. 

Want to find out more: Come with us on our next Orbis Skills Expedition in September: https://www.orbis-skills.com

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