Mrs Tsitsi Masiyiwa is an African philanthropist and social entrepreneur who has devoted much of her life to empowering disadvantaged children through education and harnessing technology to create employment opportunities for young people.
She is founder and co-chair of the Higherlife Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has invested time, money and resources over the past 18 years in sending tens of thousands of children to school in Central and Southern Africa. Masiyiwa co-founded Muzinda Hub, an entrepreneurship and innovation project based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Muzinda is an incubator lab for youth digital skills development and business mentorship that leverages technology to promote youth entrepreneurship.
The Capernaum Trust, one of the Masiyiwa’s investments, is also generously endowed and it invests its resources in an assortment of sophisticated financial instruments and property.
While the Foundation’s philanthropic work has had several successes, there have been a few disappointments.
“It’s not all roses. We’ve had cases where some of our girls got carried away and became pregnant out of wedlock, and then they had to drop out of school. We’ve had boys who left our programmes to head cattle and some girls have eloped to get married early,” she says.
But Capernaum’s success stories far outnumber its not-so-successful stories- a feat for which Tsitsi is thankful.
While the Capernaum Trust is Tsitsi Masiyiwa’s most popular philanthropic endeavour, it is far from the only one. Along with her husband, she is a co-founder of three other charities- the Christian Community Partnership Trust (CCPF), a charity that provides financial support for church and church organizations working in the least evangelized areas of rural Zimbabwe; the National Healthcare Trust Of Zimbabwe which provides financial support for medical drugs, human resources, transport in the event of a health crisis and the Joshua Nkomo Scholarship Fund – named after the late Zimbabwean nationalist which also awards scholarships to exceptionally intelligent Zimbabwean children.
These four foundations are part of the Higher Life Foundation, an umbrella organization for all the charity efforts of the Masiyiwas and Tsitsi Masiyiwa serves as Executive Chair.
For nearly two decades, Masiyiwa has dedicated her life’s work to orphaned and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Burundi and South Africa, supporting them with basic education and carrying them through to college and vocational training. She has also been involved in identifying and nurturing young talent by selecting hundreds of gifted African students, and offering them scholarships through high school to university, including top overseas universities such as Yale, Harvard and Oxford.
Her relentless efforts in promoting the use of technology to provide access and empowering children through education led her to create Ruzivo, a free online learning resource covering the key primary school syllabus modules in Zimbabwe. Piloted in Zimbabwe, Ruzivo provides critical access to hundreds of thousands of children through Higherlife Foundation’s Learning Hubs spread around the country.
Masiyiwa sits on the boards of PATH and the END Fund. She is also the founding member of the African Philanthropy Forum.