Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Giving Back

This is a story of persistence and fortune. And the extra good news is that it comes from Zimbabwe. There, Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa, now Zimbabwe’s richest individuals, founded Capernaum Trust, to help orphans and children in need. The charity pays school fees for over 40,000 students and gives money for school uniforms and supplies. The couple has also established a $6.4 million scholarship fund for African undergraduates to attend university.

But all this did not come without difficulty. After having run a successful business, in 1993 Strive Masiyiwa challenged the Zimbabwean government in a bid to launch a mobile telecoms network that would rival the government’s monopoly on telecommunications. To pay the legal fees over the 5 years the case lasted, Masiyiwa had to sell his firm, and was broke.

Despite this reversal of fortune, the Masiyiwas decided to register Capernaum Trust. And finally in 1997, the Zimbabwean Supreme Court ruled in favor of freedom of communication and awarded Strive Masiyiwa a license to establish Econet Wireless, which is now Zimbabwe’s main mobile telecoms company. Needless to say, the couple struck gold.

If there is any moral to this story, it’s likely to be that standing up for what you believe in despite the odds can bring satisfaction and good fortune, and that persistence pays. Plus, there’s nothing like giving back and doing something that will bring growth and development to those around you who are less fortunate.

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