Work hard, do right by others, get to a level where you are self-sustainable

“Jimmys ambition for Kwera is to help as many students as possible through a self-sustainable organization.

This should also be your ambition. To help not only yourself, but also others by becoming a self-sustainable individual.

By helping yourself, you enable yourself to help others.

Of course, no man – or woman – is an island so being self-sustainable does not mean not receiving a helping hand from others. It means that you have the ambition to take care of yourself

By helping yourself, you enable yourself to help others.

Lykke Ogstrup Lunde
Board member and impact investor at Kwera

This is my first time in Malawi, and it is also my first time meeting Student Climbers and Kwera staff.

What I see is a group of young, ambitious people who share the vision of Kwera – work hard, do right by others, get to a level where you are self-sustainable.

You all have a love for your country and all of you whom I have spoken to want to advance your beautiful country.

When you are on an airplane, they tell you as part of the security briefing that if the cabin pressure drops, a panel will open above your head and an oxygen mask will appear. And here is the crucial part of the safety instructions: please ensure to put on your own mask before helping others.

In Kwera we say – please ensure to finish your education, go through the skills program and get a job before you start paying back into the Kwera system, so that your payment on the loan can help the next student climber. By finishing your education and getting a job and paying back you are actually helping new students lining up in your footsteps. You become the donor, the investor, because the money you pay back on your loan is an investment into a new student and hence a more educated and wealthy Malawi.

Be or become self-sustainable. Do not rely on help or aid from others. Help might come and it might not – by working hard and being self-sustainable you never have to worry whether help is coming or not. Because you already know the person to rely on – yourself.

If Jimmy had relied on somebody to come help him build Kwera – we wouldn’t be here today. He has gotten out of bed and put on his shoes every day for many years now to go out and knock on doors asking people to support Kwera. To support you. With money or with knowledge, with computers or phones or just give their time to make Kwera happen. Jimmy sold everything he owned to make Kwera happen. The shirt of his back. And he put his skin in the game. Which makes him very convincing. We want you to do the same. The harder you must work for good grades, for upkeep, for sticking to your ambition the more convincing you are. Is it an easy thing to do? Obviously not.

I have been on the Board of Kwera for almost three years. And I have also seen Jimmy when things were very hard for him, and he was almost about to give up. We all have that feeling once in a while. Life is hard – ambitions can feel too high – one is tempted to either give up or at least lower the level of ambition. Before you do that – reach out to your fellow Kwera students – because they know how you feel. Jimmy hasn’t given up. He got up and kept going.

Get up – help yourself first and then help a fellow Student Climber. And while you do it know that not only your family and friends are proud of you and look up to you – so do we. A bunch of strangers from Denmark who are immensely proud and impressed with your efforts.

Know that we speak of you and tell people about you and your achievements”.