British prime minister honours Masiyiwa and wife

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BRITISH prime minister Theresa May has recognised billionaire Strive Masiyiwa and his wife, Tsitsi, for their exceptional voluntary service providing education to underprivileged children in Zimbabwe, by awarding them with the Points of Light award.

The Points of Light award recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements. The Prime Minister makes daily announcements of the winners to celebrate, encourage and promote volunteering and the value that it brings to the country.

Tsitsi and Strive Masiyiwa are the founders of the Higherlife Foundation, a non-profit organisation that is empowering vulnerable children through education and creating opportunities for highly talented young people.

Through one of the largest scholarship programmes in Africa, the Foundation pays the school fees for 20,000 students annually in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Burundi who they call their “history makers”.

In 2013, Tsitsi and Strive established a $6.4 million scholarship fund that sends students to Morehouse College in the United States.

They have developed an online platform, ‘Ruzivo Digital Learning’, which provides digital learning opportunities for thousands of students every month aligned to the national curriculum.

They also co-founded ‘Muzinda Hub’ in 2014, the fastest growing tech hub in Sub-Saharan Africa which is tackling unemployment in Zimbabwe by training 1,000 young coders in digital skills and IT programming.

Theresa May praised the Masiyiwas for their philanthropic endeavors in a private letter.

“By founding the ‘Higherlife Foundation’ you have demonstrated your shared commitment to improving the learning opportunities of children across Africa. You should be enormously proud of your tireless work supporting hundreds of thousands of children to improve their life chances by accessing quality education and training,” May said in her letter.

Responding to the letter, the Masiyiwas received the award on behalf of their children, Econet Group and Higherlife Foundation.

“We are just the face of the incredible work done by the Higherlife Foundation team and all our partners, whom we consider the true heroes in spearheading this work,” the Masiyiwas said.

“Helping the orphans and the socially and economically distressed in our communities is anchored in our faith which reminds us that it is a blessing to give and that to whom much is given much is required.

“Through Higherlife Foundation we have managed to directly and indirectly impact over 250,000 Africans with plans to do much more. We envision an Africa in which young people find their vocation and are positioned to develop their communities for global impact and we believe this can be achieved in our lifetime.”

Tsitsi and Strive are the 925th and 926th winner of the Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA.

Over 6,000 Points of Light have been awarded in the USA, and former Presidents have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK. There is a similar cross-party approach to the UK programme and MPs from different parties often present their constituents with their Points of Light awards.

Strive Masiyiwa is Zimbabwe’s first billionaire and has a net worth of $1.96 billion.