I did not start out with a grand idea to set up a massive scholarship fund. It started about 25 years ago, when I learnt that one of my employees had died of what was then a new disease called Aids, and had left behind 3 small children.
So I started to pay for their school fees. As more and more of my employees died of this deadly pandemic over the ensuing years, I kept helping the kids. Then one day, my wife and I sat down and decided to widen the program to help other children and it just went on from there. We now have over 42,000 children getting assistance for education from Higher Life Foundation, at any given time, and we have taken it to other countries where we our businesses operate.
One of the unique features of our program is that we have never solicited funds from outside our own family and employees. For many years the program took up virtually all the money we earned from our businesses. But we really enjoyed doing what we were doing. It was like finding a calling.
If you are in business or simply working as a professional, you do not have to wait until you have lots of money, to extend a helping hand in your community. There is a simple dictum I use, “look for where the need is greatest, and help smallest”. There is no greater urgency than to send a child to school, particularly a young girl.
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa