“It is more important to leave a Legacy rather than just a Heritage for our children. I believe to achieve this legacy, we also have a responsibility to give back to the environment that we live and work in and to those who are less fortunate than ourselves!” - Ken Sharpe, 2012
We’ve all heard of the old adage, “to teach a man to fish is better than to give him a fish” however my view is that in Africa you cannot “teach a man to fish” if there’s no pond to fish from. Therefore you need to TEACH them how to build the fish pond first, and how to stock the fishpond with fish and then provide the means (capital) to ENABLE them to do it.
I want to make a difference that will last far beyond my time. My life’s not so much about leaving an inheritance, but more about leaving a legacy for my children. Being a game changer in the world. Leaving a stamp on the earth by doing something different. Times are changing in this world; especially in Africa. The way of “giving” these days isn’t “let me give you a dollar and you go and spend it,” but rather “let me give you something that can help transform your life so you can invest into it and become sustainable…” I personally feel it is demeaning and disrespectful for a human being to continuously receive “handouts.” It makes no difference if the handout is food, or things that people need or want; why should someone feel like the have to beg for food in this day and age. I feel it’s much more empowering and restores their dignity when you give someone them a "hand up" and ability with the capital to enable them to start a business and create employment for themselves; to feed themselves, clothes themselves and support themselves and their families.
My wife greatly taught me the importance of giving back to the less fortunate in our community. A few years ago we set up a foundation called “Kusimbisa Trust” (Kusimbisa means “uplifting the people” in Shona) and we decided as a family to back that trust with a large portion of our wealth and will continue to do so as we progress and monitor it’s success over the next decade. My wife Joanna is the patron of the trust. Our hope is to help communities throughout Zimbabwe access funding through the Trust. We believe this is possible through micro-finance; we can invest into home and cottage production based businesses that can be produced using local materials (agriculture, clothing, wood products, stone products and the like). Capital in the Trust can loan these ambitious entrepreneurs small amounts - US $100 to $1000 (but no more than $5000) as loans. Preference will be given to young adults and women who bring projects to Kusimbisa. The profits of these businesses are split 50% to the entrepreneurs and 50% to the Trust. The 50% that comes back to the Trust will be used to feed vulnerable, impoverished and needy children; taking care of orphans, giving them clothes, food, medicine and education; like a perpetual fund, as well as investing further into the needs of women. The more we invest the more profits that come the more income we’ll have the more investment we’ll make… Read the “Kusimbisha Trust” Mission Statement.
"Leaving a heritage and legacy"
Inspired by how my wife has a giving nature, our daughter Tatiana has also launched her own trust fund “Tariro Nevana“ (“hope for the children” in Shona) which helps “street” children get off the streets and into a shelter where they can eat, sleep, are educated by volunteers.
Since taking up my role as the Family Philanthropy Network Chair for YPO which is a significant and influential network of around 600 YPO/WPO members in the Social Enterprise Network (SEN)... “Family Philanthropy Network” of the YPO.