community builders:with Kennedy Nyavaya
Having to walk up to 5km to school on bare feet and a tummy longing to be filled was what young Alson Darikayi had to endure growing up in the hot district of Zaka in Masvingo.
At the time, being eldest boy in a family of six meant he had household chores and the responsibility of his siblings also contesting for his time and he could not afford to compromise on any.
However, hope and determination that somehow he would make it out of the humble surroundings, he says, was what fortified him to stay strong.
Over the years the multi-award-winning business mogul-cum-philanthropist whose interests cut across corporate management, communications, agriculture and tourism, among others, has been climbing the ladder of success and gaining positive influence in vast spheres.
With the universe finally rewarding his toil, Darikayi — who harbours an ambition to be in the next generation of multi-millionaires — has committed a significant portion of his wealth to assist the underprivileged across the country.
“I am not a multi-millionaire as yet, but I believe that for me to get there I cannot run away from God’s principles that we should give and it will be given back to us in good measure, pressed down and shaken together,” he told Standard Style in an interview.
Darikayi recently registered the Alson Darikayi Foundation, which is solely focused on offering full scholarships and other related needs for disadvantaged children at his former schools, Mutsambwa Primary School and Wasara Wapata High School.
“It is targeting disadvantaged children on merit, meaning those good at school, but cannot afford school fees, then it targets the girl child mostly and other disadvantaged children without access because I personally believe it is a basic human right,” said Darikayi, who has been nominated in the top 100 most influential young Zimbabweans for eight consecutive years.
“I just thought I should not start with interventions in other provinces when charity should begin at home so I decided to start with my own home area.”
Currently paying fees for 120 children, the number is set to double this learning term as he moves “to give back and bless other people” in the build-up to building more schools in the area come 2022.
“My heart bleeds when I see children who do not have access to education. Right now as I sit here I am actually thinking in the next two years I should have my own schools under the Alson Darikayi Foundation from ECD learning up to tertiary,” he disclosed.
Although he boasts of how his humble background made him the go-getter he is today, Darikayi says his mission is to make sure that children that come after him do not suffer the same hardships, particularly pertaining to access to education and sport where he also funds competitions.
“My efforts are to say to the children who are in Zaka and other communal areas at the moment, you can do much better than me in the future, so all I am doing is giving them a chance to change their lives for the better,” he said.
A firm believer in the Word of God, he also advises young people to adhere to principles and a good work ethic if they want to reach higher levels in life.
Meanwhile, rehabilitation of a local clinic and other infrastructure are part of his plans for the year.
“I am also looking at the challenges that women in my community are facing. You know, especially during maternity, there are no ambulances to transport people and I am promising that by the end of this year Bvukururu Clinic [in Zaka] will be developed to high standards,” he said.
“I am using this opportunity to plough back into the community and spread the same to all the communities across the country.”
Despite his philanthropic work endearing him to his community, he describes it as purely out of benevolence and the wish to better the lives of the poor without ulterior motives like vying for political offices as it could be perceived.
“I am not trying to impress anyone and I have got no intention whatsoever to pursue politics, I have no appetite for that and I will leave politicians to do what they can do, but I am not interested because it is not my calling,” he said.
“I have that calling to give back and bless other people.”