Trish, I Jaricha had a chance to meet with Dr. Chipato. Dr. Mejury Chipato is a multi-talented lady who holds the titles of Medical Doctor, Microbiologist, Pastor, Businesswoman, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Leader, and Author. She is the founder of Patience of Hope Foundation, a non-profit charity organization that aims to pay school fees for underprivileged children. We spoke with her about how the Patience of Hope Foundation came to be, its goals, and the challenges they face among others. The interview was done in question and answer as below:
Tell us about yourself and your Charity Organization.
My name is Dr Mejury Chipato. I am a medical doctor, a microbiologist, a businesswoman, a published author, a Pastor, a Mentor, and a Life & Business Coach. In 2019, l founded a non-profit charity organization, Patience of Hope Foundation whose aim is to pay school fees for orphans and underprivileged children in remote areas of Zimbabwe. The vision of the foundation is to pay school fees for orphans and underprivileged children. Our mission is to advocate, promote and ensure that every child has equal access and opportunity to quality universal education. Our motto is “Better build children than repair old men.”
What motivated you to start the Patience of Hope Foundation?
I was motivated to start the charity organization by my childhood background. l also experienced problems with school fees when growing up so l wanted to provide or become a solution to this issue. I also have a strong passion for helping people as l am someone who grew up in an impoverished community. I desire to see children grow up to realize their dreams and have a bright future. Children are our future and legacy and l am responsible for leaving behind a legacy that can be continued by future generations and to ensure a secure and better world around me. I believe in becoming the change that l want to see.
Who is your role model and why?
His Excellency, Ambassador Uebert Angel, and his wife Madam Beverly Angel are not only my role models but also my Spiritual Parents and Mentors. They are one of the biggest donors in Zimbabwe and Africa with their Charity Foundation: Uebert Angel Foundation which has helped to pay school fees for many thousands of children & university students and provided food to many poor families over the years it continues to do so. Important to mention is my mother, Patience Chipato; she is a giver by nature and she has installed in me the principles of giving. She has helped many people in our community as well. I named the foundation Patience of Hope Foundation in her honor.
What is in the background that prepared you to lead the Patience of Hope Foundation?
It is embedded in my story being someone who comes from a humble background; having faced issues of school fee debts at some point in my life and having experienced the negative implications of this, as well as the pain of walking long distances to school only to get chased away because of owing school fees. I want to help pay school fees for as many orphans and underprivileged children as l can thus allowing them to access education which is the key to success and a brighter future.
Tell us about the programs that your foundation has done or is doing and what differentiates you from other foundations like yours?
Since the founding of the foundation, we have paid school fees for many students in different primary and secondary schools in Zimbabwe. We also made food and clothing donations to an old people’s home, in China and to orphanage homes in Zimbabwe. During the Covid-19 pandemic pick, we donated food to some families in the community of Mbare, where l come from, as a way of giving back to my community. What differentiates our Foundation from others is the fact that we are effective, honest, and transparent and we give feedback with proof to our donors of what their contributions have done, thus instilling trust in our contributors. Our foundation consists of professionals who are dedicated to the running of the organization. We have a clearly defined mission. We raise awareness about the foundation and the importance of making our world a better place through helping others and giving.
You are a medical doctor, writer, founder of this charity organization, and businesswoman among others, you have won several awards for some of your work: How do you manage to balance all this?
I try to integrate my roles as best as I can. I apportion a specific amount of time to each responsibility and ensure that I handle what is presently demanding my focus with as much excellence as I can muster at any given moment. When it’s time to be a doctor, my patient gets my undivided attention. When it’s time to handle business and the foundation’s affairs, I try to delegate to my teammates the tasks that do not require my personal input or automate them as best as I can so that I can reserve myself for my best use and do what I can do at the highest possible level of excellence.
How does your foundation fit into your line of work (medical doctor)?
One of the objectives of the foundation is to promote the health and well-being of orphans, and vulnerable and marginalized children and also to promote HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness in Zimbabwe. We aspire to promote the training of health workers and other professionals involved in hearing impairment and deafness in Zimbabwe. The foundation fits into my line of work by serving as an auxiliary aspect of my medical work.
They are very much complementary, one to the other. They are not diabolically opposed. Serving as a medical Doctor helps me be on the front line and feel the pulse of the local community as pertains to their health and my foundation allows me to help uplift people in ways that are otherwise beyond the scope of my jurisdiction or capacity as a medical Doctor. Serving a dual purpose by running a foundation helps me meet needs that go far beyond treating a patient and being a doctor allows me to ensure that people are healthy enough to sustainably live a meaningful life. They compensate for each other’s gaps.
What type of revenue sources do you attract, and who or what are your major sources of revenue?
We receive charitable contributions from individual contributors. Individual contributions are the largest source of charitable donations. We also receive corporate funding; these are companies that help in cause-related marketing and sponsorship. We also sell goods or products to generate revenue (income generation). We also receive services whereby people volunteer to offer their manpower (skill contribution). We also receive donations in the form of clothes, shoes, food, pads, stationery (material contribution), and the like.
What are the most important issues facing your foundation? What plans are in place or are being developed to address these challenges?
One of the major problems we face as a foundation is the lack of enough funding. There is so much to be done yet we have inadequate funds. There is also increasing demand for services. We also face the problem of public trust issues. With the rising cases of fraud, donors require more scrutiny and transparency. It is within the scope of our goals to establish big projects and income-generating businesses to fund the ever-increasing needs of the growing foundation and attain self-sustainability. We consistently give feedback [with proof] to our donors of what their contributions have done thus instilling trust in our contributors.
We also intend to start partnerships with big international companies and organizations such as UNICEF, WHO, etc. We wish to have been able to do a lot of sight fundraising, host events and have a bit of community engagement to boost the foundation and its purpose. However, as an organization during this Covid-19 period it has been a bit hard to quite do so, hence those are some of our major challenges. To curve these major challenges, we have opted to try conducting virtual events however this has not brought about the expected amount of exposure we would have wanted.
Tell us about the members of the leadership team. What capabilities and experiences do they bring and what are their roles in your organization?
As for our team, we have a team with a strong background and generally great love for the foundation. They bring into the organization, their personal life experiences are good or bad, they also bring the ability to think on their toes and try by all means to bring the best out of what we are building. I would say we all have the same roles though placed in different departments, what I love about our team is we work together on everything.
Our manager of the Foundation, Natasha Danielle Gumbanjera is an advocate by profession. Not only does she manage the overall activities of the foundation, but she also stands as an advocate in terms of legal issues concerning the foundation. Our event coordinator, Patience Chipato (my mother) who is also a trustee of this foundation is responsible for all the fieldwork activities. Her passion for helping people and the experience of dealing with children [as she is a teacher by profession] is an added advantage.
What are your goals for the next 5 years? What will help you achieve them? What barriers do you think you are likely to face?
As a foundation, we hope to grow, expand and start operating at bigger levels beyond Zimbabwe, in different parts of Africa and Asia. We would like to establish the premises of the foundation in Zimbabwe. This includes offices for the foundation and the training centers for training the health workers and other professionals who will be involved in the foundation. One of our main goals is to be able to assist and provide certain or rather major resources to a target audience for the longest period we can. We hope to be able to get sponsorship deals with schools, grocery stores, uniform manufacturers, companies, and the like.
We desire to extend our services of Patience of Hope Foundation, to focus on Women and Youth Empowerment, which l believe is what is needed for our community, our country, and even for our continent of Africa to go to another level. As they say, “If you empower a man, you have empowered an individual but if you empower a woman, you have empowered a community,” l believe women empowerment comes with a positive impact on our communities which includes the proper welfare of children.
Lastly, how does this make you feel, about giving back to the community?
Giving back to the community is rewarding beyond measure. As indicated in my debut memoir titled; “I’m in Charge of my Narrative” which l published last year, I know what it is like to lack and not have access to certain basic opportunities. Experience is the best teacher. I am inspired when I give back because I know I am playing a small role in helping make children’s dreams come true. I am a firm believer in the phrase: “Education is the key to success” and like what Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” It’s an honor and a rare privilege to be involved in the process of changing the world.