The less priv­i­leged are his heart­beat

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/feature - Yoliswa Dube

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

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