Matt Napier will be supported by his wife Wendy during this year’s Walk To A Better World. Image – Ben Houston Photography.
Thousands of Australians who travel the world say there are a certain few countries that leave a lasting impression on them – on top of the list are nations like India, Cambodia, and Uganda.
Canberra native Matt Napier was one of those young travellers, packing his bags and flying more than 30 hours to visit a friend in Nepal back in 2007, but instead of enjoying the holiday as much as he should have, Napier came home a changed man.
“It was the first time I had seen extreme poverty first hand, children as young as four or five begging on the streets,” he reveals.
“Walking down the street, I saw people literally dying of starvation.
“It was on the flight home I thought to myself, why should I be so lucky to come back to my privileged life when the only difference was the country we were born into?”
It was from that moment Napier made the life changing decision to dedicate his existence to being a voice for the world’s poor, and so was born his Walk To A Better World campaign.
And now it seems the 38-year-old can’t get enough of raising awareness, having already cycled from Perth to Canberra in 2012 and then walking an arduous 4,500kms from Perth to Sydney in 2013.
For his next adventure beginning in June, Napier will walk 2,250kms from Namibia through to Botswana and Swaziland, ending in Mozambique, where he will hope to have connected with people across the globe.
Africa was the chosen continent for this year’s campaign for a variety of reasons.
“That’s where extreme poverty is at its worst,” he says.
“All 10 of the countries with the highest level of poverty are located in Africa, and one in three Africans are chronically undernourished.
“I want to tell the story of some of the world’s poorest people, and by doing this I want to give Australians a better understanding as to why the world’s poorest can’t break the poverty cycle.
“Living on $1.50 a day while doing this is going to be tough.”
Napier will be ‘taking it easy’, aiming for 35 to 40kms a day so he can spend quality, valuable time in villages talking to locals and kicking around a football to connect with them.
With him will be his wife Wendy, a documentary filmmaker and two local guides assisting with logistics and cooking; there will be one support vehicle between them and the plan will be to camp every night to cut down costs.
“I believe we should leave no stone unturned in helping our fellow humans out of extreme poverty,” Napier reveals.
“Thousands of children are dying, and if I can inspire more people to join the movement to help, I feel as if I’m doing my job.
“I’m just an ordinary, every day person but I’m also someone who refuses to give up; to me, failure is not an option.
“There were times I was walking across Australia in temperatures as high as 46 degrees with blisters covering both feet, suffering from severe sunburn, yet I refused to give up.
“I just thought to myself there are so many people out there in wheelchairs that would love to get blisters from walking too far, so it didn’t matter what I was going through because there were always people out there worse off than me.”
Napier was asking Australians to take a pledge for his Walk To A Better World campaign by committing one per cent of their income to help alleviate extreme poverty.
You can make a pledge and help Napier by visiting Walk To A Better World.