Train up a child….to solve the problems, we cannot solve.

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

by Leave a reply

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *