Reflection: Faith, hope and love

Reflection: Faith, hope and love

__Remembering Leah Sharibu on her 16th birthday.

A few days ago, on 14 May, Leah Sharibu spent her 16th birthday in captivity, far away once again from heartbroken family and friends. Most of you know, Leah was the school girl from Dapchi, Nigeria taken hostage from her school, by the terrorist group Boko Haram about 452 days ago. All of the girls kidnapped that day, except Leah, were rescued a month or so later.

Since I last wrote about Leah, I have remembered her and her family in my own prayers every single day, and will continue to do so. On the occasion of Leah’s birthday this week, today I want to share here a Tribute booklet we compiled for her, Alice Ngaddah (UNICEF aid worker), and the 100+ Chibok girls held now for more than five years. It includes thousands of heartfelt words and prayers to the captives and their families, written by you on this platform late last year.

It was beautifully put together (free of charge) by a company we work with, who wanted to do what they could to ensure that Leah and other innocents held as slaves or hostages around the world, are not forgotten (nor are your words and prayers). Please share it with others. Here’s the link: I am going to donate some hard copies to the Obasanjo Library next time I am there.

When you take a look through the Tribute booklet, you will see that the caring words of your fellow entrepreneurs on this page transcended all of the world’s diversity in belief, family background, ideology, socio-economic status and national borders. What united us was our care for Leah and other innocent children held prisoner.

__Love brought us together in that booklet, not hate. Think about it.

If we are to move our families, nations, and continent forward (and away!) from the intolerance and violence that is destroying lives, young and old, in many places… then we simply have do better.

# What are you yourself doing to make the world a more tolerant place?

By intolerance I mean bullying of every kind, including cyber-bullying on the internet. By intolerance I mean treating people with disrespect because you don’t happen to agree with their thinking or beliefs, whether religious, political or how they live their lives. By intolerance I mean showing disrespect (or worse) to people as if you are “better” than they are, because maybe someone once told you your side of the street or town or nation was “better”, or your tribe, or your car, or your faith tradition.

Treating people with cruelty, disrespect or disdain — physical cruelty or in words — just because you disagree with them for one reason or another, that is what I mean by intolerance. Not treating people equally because of the color of their skin, or their looks, or their shoes, which school they went to (or didn’t), that is also a form of intolerance. People are even intolerant of others who don’t like the same football team as they do, and it can get very ugly sometimes. Do you have the general idea?

Here’s a tough couple questions for you. Let’s learn from each other’s answers… the world will be watching and learning, too.

Taking into account all which sometimes divides us…

Why must we make a stand against intolerance? What can we do to build a culture of tolerance?

Our answers can be our 16th birthday present to Leah, and to future generations as well. Let’s talk.


(Please remember: No political statements on this platform. There are other places for that type of discussion, but won’t be allowed here).

Author:Strive Masiyiwa

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.

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