I learnt a principle from King David in the bible, which is that we must have the wisdom and courage, and above all the humility, to appreciate that there are some problems, which we can only address by educating, and mentoring the next generation, and then trust them, to go out and solve those problems, the right way.
Some of the things that seem so difficult for my generation, will be so simple for our children, to deal with, if we empower them now, and most importantly, if we trust them.
Louis Armstrong, used to sing this wonderful ballad, “this child will know, much more than I will ever know…what a wonderful world.” And its true, I never cease to be amazed at what my children know, that I do not know. It spurs me on to support orphans, and underprivileged children, wherever I go. In my own mind, when I send a child to school, I am solving problems, that I cannot solve myself.
I read somewhere once, how Winston Churchill’s father, helped a young man, with school fees, and that young man, went on to discover one of the most important medicines of the 20th century, penicillin.
Every year, for more than 10 years, we have sent 100 of the brightest young Africans, we could find, under the Joshua Nkomo Scholarship Fund, to universities, including to some of the best in the world, like Morehouse, Oxford, and Harvard. We also send over 40,000 orphans, at any one time to school,through our Capernaum Trust program, which employs more than 100 full time staff. We do this, because my wife and I are fully persuaded, that is how we can contribute to solving the problems, that we see around us.
When we send a child to school, in our minds, we are raising the next Nelson Mandela, and the next Joshua Nkomo; we are raising the next WangariMaathai; we are raising the next NgoziIweala- Nkonjo; we are raising the next Joyce Banda, and the next Kip Kaino. We are raising the next Pastor Chris Oyakilome; we are raising Africa’s next Mark Shuttleworth.
When we send a disabled child to school, I think of President Roosevelt of America, who led his country through the Second World War, from a wheelchair.
Doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, pastors, and even politicians… we are raising them. We are raising them in Zimbabwe, in South Africa, in Malawi, in Lesotho, in Botswana, in Kenya, in Burundi, in Nigeria, and Rwanda, because in all those countries, you will find a child on one of our programs.
There is nothing more urgent, concerning the future of Africa, than the education of its children, and providing them with skills to get jobs. Everyone of us, needs to get involved.
If you are 20 years or older, you need to be thinking about how you can help, just one child. It’s not just about money, your time is just as important. Even when you are unemployed yourself, you can set aside a few hours a day to teach children who are not in school to read or write, or to do maths. When you go to the Internet Cafe, take a child and show them how it works.
As I have said before, my wife and I did not start these programs, when we had money. We just started with one child, then it became two, and so on. Even when we were totally broke 20 years ago, we were still running programs for kids.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to be calling on some of the young people we have helped over the years, to tell you what they are doing to change their world.
Image Caption: History Makers at Morehouse College, Atlanta Georgia Class of 2016
From left to right: Takudzwa, Lovemore, Edmond, Prince, Jonathan, Prosper, Abel and Delight