My Connection to Munhu Inc (www.munhu.org)
I’m donating a portion of sales for Lessons From My Grandmother to Munhu Inc, a non-profit organization that was was founded in 2004 by my friend Sipho Gumbo, and serves orphaned children in rural areas of Zimbabwe. Munhu is focused on providing opportunities for education to underprivileged students, a cause that is very close to my heart. I have been a non-paid volunteer for the organization since 2008.
I currently serve as Munhu’s Chair of the Board starting in 2010 and as Executive Officer from 2014 to this year. My roles with Munhu have given me responsibilities for the day-to-day operations of the organization, including developing strategic plans to fulfill the foundation’s mission and fundraising for our programs. Seeing the gap between available funds and what is needed to meet the growing needs of children we serve is what prompted me to donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of Lessons From My Grandmother to Munhu.
I strongly believe in helping others to help themselves. I also passionately subscribe to the ancient philosophy of teaching others to fish so they can feed themselves for a lifetime; as opposed to giving them fish to eat for only one day. Following the teachings of this philosophy, I initiated Munhu’s community grant program that provides seed money to poor families taking care of orphans. The seed money is used to start income generating projects such as raising chickens, pigs, and rabbits for sale. Starting in 2010 with one project helping four families, Munhu’s community grant program has expanded to a total of 62 income generating projects. Of these, 59 projects support about 130 families. Three of the projects are based at schools, and are run by students and teachers. The profits from these school-based projects are used to pay tuition and buy uniforms for the orphans who attend these schools.
I personally benefited from grants and scholarship programs that allowed me to earn a BSc Honors in Biochemistry from the University of Zimbabwe and a PhD in Biochemistry from Cambridge University in UK. This prepared me to join the workforce and contribute in my own way. During the course of my career, I have worked at academic institutions including the University of California at San Francisco and The Scripps Research Institute, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies including Structural Bioinformatics, Cengent Therapeutics, Kendle International, Valeant, and Amgen.
I currently spend my time writing and volunteering my time to organizations whose missions inspire me. In addition to the work I do for Munhu, I’m also the founder and Chair of Chengetai Trust, a Zimbabwe-registered charitable organization that assists villagers living in the Murambinda rural areas of Zimbabwe.