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A Minster Law employee has returned from visiting a new health clinic in Zambia, which is being funded by the BGL Group. Stuart Hanley raised more than £6,000 over the past nine months towards the new medical facility, and was privileged to visit the centre and see first-hand what impact it has had so far on the people of Kapiri.

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Stuart used his love of sport to help raise funds for the trip and even ran the gruelling Brass Monkey Half-Marathon in January dressed as Star Wars’ Darth Vader! He and two Minster Law colleagues, Amanda Parkinson and Jamie Lyons, joined 15 staff from across the BGL Group and travelled to Zambia to see the medical centre, which consists of an outpatient clinic, under-fives clinic, HIV testing/TB clinic laboratory, pharmacy and a maternity unit.

Despite many months’ planning and preparation for the trip, the journey didn’t go without a hitch. On arrival in the country, the team discovered that their rucksacks, including  clothes, sleeping bags and other supplies, had been left on the runway in South Africa! Luckily the team managed to share as many items as possible and source essential provisions from a nearby shop before the bags arrived the next day.

The new health centre, which was built in conjunction with charity partner Build It International, will enable the residents of Kapiri and surrounding areas to access medical services and provisions that they were previously unable to, such as treatment for malaria. Before the new centre was built, the nearest facility was several hours’ walk from Kapiri.

Built It International focuses on sustainability in Zambia, transforming local communities by training unemployed young men and women in construction skills, then working with them to build high quality schools and clinics, like the new health centre in Kapiri. Now the village has a medical centre with trained and qualified workers who are better able to find work and provide for their families.

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Stuart Hanley, Solicitor and Manager in Minster Law Corporate Services, said: “It was a privilege to visit Zambia and see first-hand the new health clinic and maternity unit and hear about it already saving lives. During the trip we gave a young girl and her mother a lift to the new clinic, saving them a walk of several hours. Sadly the girl’s malaria test was positive, but thanks to the new clinic, she received vital life saving treatment and medication.

“The trip was a real experience and it will never cease to amaze me how stoic some of the families are, despite the hard life the population faces. I’ll never forget the fantastic welcome we received – people singing the Spider-Man theme and a Zambia Rasta performing a tightrope act dressed as Spider-Man! The whole trip makes my charity run dressed as Darth Vader worth it!”

Click here to read more about their journey.