The less privileged are his heartbeat
MOTIVATIONAL speaker and authorcum-philanthropist, Mr Rabison Shumba, uses social media to harness donations in cash and in kind for the less privileged members of society across the country. While some individuals use social media to interact with friends and family members and others for the proliferation of political ideology, Mr Shumba sees this platform as an important vehicle in initiating social change and development.
Others have engaged in cyber battles which have torn apart social fabrics, breaking relationships and homes.
In other countries, hash tags on social media have been used to address serious issues such as racism as was seen with the case of South Africa’s Penny Sparrow, a white estate agent, who referred to Durban’s black beach-goers as monkeys on Facebook.
A charge of crimen injuria was laid against her and a complaint about her statements lodged with the Human Rights Commission as South Africa tries to quash racism in the country.
However, Mr Shumba is using social media as a platform to engage the world, which has become a global village since the advent of information communication technologies, to chip in and assist the less privileged.
Through social media, he has over the years encouraged his friends, business associates and any other willing soul to donate to various charities across the country.
Donations have been distributed to institutions as well as individuals and families who need help.
The #TouchingLivesInitiative is raging like a veld fire as people, even those he has never met in person, have caught on to the initiative to lend a helping hand.
Mr Shumba says the goal of the Touching Lives Initiative is to turn around the fortunes of the underprivileged in society.
The initiative has given and continued to give groceries, clothes and money towards making the lives of others easier — motivated by a hashtag and a call for help by one person.
“Touching Lives started about three years ago when I turned 40 and realised I needed to celebrate my birthday differently. I needed to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Mr Shumba.
When he started, he gave books and other reading material lbf before realisingl theh need d to clothelh and df feed d theh beneficiaries of the information sharing exercise.
“I decided to feed and clothe these people but realised I couldn’t do it by myself so I used social media to reach out to more people. While the idea was to give them educational resources initially, I realised there was a need to look after the whole person in their totality. The goal was to encourage other people to do the same. Everybody owns the initiative,” he said.
Instead of waiting on an overwhelmed government, he said, it is essential for people to see the needs of the people in their communities and lend a helping hand.
“We’ve visited a couple of homes so far – this is just the beginning. The long term plan is to build sustainable projects.”
Donations, Mr Shumba said, are short term and crippling.
“We want to train people how to make their own money. You know what they say about training a man how to catch a fish? He can feed a whole village. We will create markets and train them as well as give them the necessary resources to kickstart the projects such that they’re able to run them themselves,” he said.
So far, under his Touching Lives Initiative, Mr Shumba has partnered different people and organisations to donate to Home of Peace, Ekuphumuleni Geriatric Nursing Home, Bulawayo Shelter, Jairos Jiri Harare, St Joseph’s House for Boys, Matthew Rusike Children’s Home and Maunganidze Children’s Home, among many others.
“While I’ve given from my own coffers which are limited, I’ve got stuff from my online friends. Most of these friends I wouldn’t have met before. I also get a lot of help from businesses and non-governmental organisations — the list is endless. They’ve stepped in in such a big way,” said Mr Shumba.
Through this initiative, people can be encouraged to get involved in voluntary work.
Mr Shumba says everyone has something to donate. He says those who do not have material things can donate their time or labour.
“I want people to do stuff in their own communities. Donations don’t have to come through me. You can help as a volunteer or donate in cash or in kind — clothes, food, and money — anything that can be used in the home. You can even donate your time and help fix things around a home or be involved in gardening. I want to encourage voluntarism. People need to learn that it’s not all work that they have to be paid for,” he said.
Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain. It is also renowned for skills development, and is often intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life.
Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment and thereby encouraged in countries all over the world.
Besides harnessing donations for the less-privileged, Mr Shumba is a renowned inspirational author, international speaker, executive coach and trainer. He is also a corporate strategist and business consultant who has helped a number of corporates within and outside Zimbabwe.
Mr Shumba has over 20 years of corporate experience at various managerial and executive positions in businesses that include ICT, manufacturing and mining sectors.
He said: “I’m passionate about issues pertaining to people’s livelihoods and upkeep, an area I pursue through various non-profit initiatives.”
Mr Shumba is also the founder of the Greatness Factory Trust, a mentorship and training organisation as well as director of Simba Arts Trust.
His published works includes the following books — The Greatness Manual: Recipes for Perpetual Success, Fountain of Inspiration Vol. 1: Incredible Power Statements for Success and Fountain of Inspiration Vol. 2: Incredible Power Statements for Success.
In partnership with Oceane Collection Mr Rabison Shumba (right) presents goodies to Bumhudzo Old Peoples Home in Chitungwiza Mr Rabison Shumba receives Sanitary pads from GirlsRUs Director Sandra Moyo Mr Rabison Shumba makes a donation to Ekuphumuleni Geriatric Nursing Home in Bulawayo Mr Rabison Shumba (right) donates to St Josephs House of Boys in Harare