Press Release: Striding Out to Help Africa's Vulnerable Children

Date: 6 May 2015

A Manchester-based international charity is marking a decade of working to protect vulnerable children in Africa with a historic midsummer challenge.

Safe Child Africa works to improve the lives of abandoned children in West Africa, some of whom have been accused of witchcraft.

To mark its landmark 10th anniversary, it is organising ‘The Witches Way Challenge’ " a 23-mile forest and fell adventure, retracing the historic steps of the famous Lancashire witches as they made their doomed journey to Lancaster Castle to await trial.

The walk will take place on June 20 and the charity, which has a growing number of Manchester students supporting it, is organising transport from the city to North Lancashire for those taking part.

Lisa Atkinson, the Hulme-based charity’s fundraiser, is calling for more local volunteers to take on ‘The Witches Way’.

She explained: “The connection between the work that Safe Child Africa does in helping to protect innocent children, some of whom are abused due to witchcraft accusations, and the legendary yet tragic story of the Lancashire Witches is both compelling and unique.

“This adventure helps to both remember the victims of the past and also understand that such violent persecution still exists and we need all the help we can get in protecting these children.”

Safe Child Africa works to protect street children, including those who have been thrown out of their homes because they have been accused of witchcraft.


The charity is also involved in educational projects, as well as campaigning for the rights of vulnerable children. It strapline is: ‘No Child Should Live In Fear’.

Originally called Stepping Stones Nigeria, it changed its name at the start of this landmark 10th year. The charity has also featured in a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary.

Based in offices on Old Birley Street, across the road from the new Manchester Metropolitan University Students Union, a 50-seater coach will leave from there to take walkers to the start of the Lancashire country trek.

Lisa said: “We moved into our new offices last May and have received incredible support from students in Manchester.

“We’ve got a growing number of volunteers and are working with both Manchester universities to host placements for student interns. We’re hoping that we will be able to recruit 50 or so people to take part in our Witches Way Challenge.

“They’ll join our supporters in Lancaster, where the charity was founded, on what promises to be a challenging but fun day and a great way to raise funds and raise awareness of the work we are doing every day in Africa.”

To find out more about the ‘Witches Way Challenge’ and how you can get involved visit

Lisa Atkinson from Safe Child Africa is the FASS Enterprise Cente's NGO in Residence for the 2014-15 academic year.

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Associated departments and research centres: English and Creative Writing