Sisters are taking on a marathon challenge for a charity they built from scratch to help poor children in Malawi.

Alice and Nina Pulford from Brighton started the Tilinanu Orphanage in 2009 when then-17-year-old Alice was so shocked by the poverty she witnessed in Africa she felt compelled to do something about it.

She and big sister Nina, 31, built the orphanage.

The plucky pair will be making their way around the Brighton Marathon course alongside 35 friends and supporters of the charity in April and they are busy training for the 26- mile slog.


Nina said: “The training is going great – harder than it looks. The hours you need to put in before it are crazy.

“We have had some injured runners and reserves jumped into fill the spots.

“There are 35 of us doing it.

Most haven’t run a mile since school, so it’s a real challenge.

“We decided to run the marathon as we are all so passionate about what we do and the difference our actions can make.

“It’s a lifetime achievement to run a marathon, but the difference it will make to lives in Malawi is life-changing.

“Having moved to Brighton it seemed like the perfect challenge and the right way to start the new year.”

The orphanage now houses, educates and feeds 34 children thanks to the Pulfords’ partnership with the local Mkandawire family.

Nina added: “To see the difference to the lives of the girls at Tilinanu and the surrounding communities is incredible; to see how far we have come as a charity and what can be achieved in such a small amount of time.

“It’s amazing seeing how the actions of our volunteers give people the chance to create their own future, not offering aid but education and skills for people to help themselves and create their own future.”

As well as looking after 34 girls Tilinanu also feeds 175 children every day, has vaccinated 70,000 people, helped build a school offering education for 900 children, offers medical advice and assistance, skills workshops and micro-loans.

In 2014 with the proceeds from the marathon the sisters plan to build a primary school and make Tilinanu self-sustainable.

Their proud mum Yvonne Pulford, who is also a trustee at the orphanage, said: “It’s going to help for the funding to get other people involved and really it’s a project for younger people – it’s personal.

“I’m so proud of both of them.

“They do all sorts of stuff all over the world to raise money and to do the marathon on top of that is amazing.

“But nothing they do anymore surprises me – they absolutely love a challenge and they’ve managed to rope friends and supporters with them this time as well.”