2014 Hermann Gmeiner Award Nominee: Tafadzwa Nyamuzihwa

The loss of his eyesight five years ago made Tafadzwa Nyamuzihwa, 29, ‘see’ that people are limited by their attitude and not their disability. He was not going to let that happen to him. In fact, it became his mission to empower the blind in Africa.

Tafadzwa is the founder/director of the Shine On International Trust, a nonprofit organization that trains the blind to use computers, educates them on HIV/AIDS, makes it possible for them to participate in sports, and advocates for their rights. He also presents a weekly radio show called ‘Shining Star’ which inspires communities of people to rise above their challenges.

“I believe we are all winners one way or another,” Tafadzwa said.

“Some people are doctors and others are drivers, cleaners or policemen, based on their different abilities and capabilities. Having gone through tough times and emerging stronger, I am motivated to assist others to realize their potential.”  

Since Tafadzwa founded the Shine On International Trust in 2012, it has trained 21 blind people in the unaided use of computers. Tafadzwa also regularly receives positive feedback via telephone, Skype, Facebook, and e-mail from the estimated 3 million Zimbabweans who listen to his radio show.

He is proud to be an acknowledged motivational speaker in Zimbabwe.  And although he lives independently, cooking and doing household chores unaided, he regularly returns to SOS Children’s Village Waterfalls to encourage children. It was in this SOS Children’s Village that he grew up in after police found him alone and crying at a bus terminus at the age of four.

His SOS Children’s Village mother, the late Chipo Zengwa, gave him some of the best advice of his life when she told him SOS Children’s Villages is there to support him, but “all the effort should come from you.”

She would have been proud to hear him speak on national radio, see him participate in the 2012 UN African Youth Conference, watch him walk to raise funds for children with cancer, and train blind young men and women to hear the text on their computers.

“Tafadzwa’s inspiration lies in the gentle challenge he lays before anyone who crosses his path to be more than they are and to do more than they have done in the past. This is his example,” Gary Birditt, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe, said.

>> See the other 2014 Hermann Gmeiner Award nominees