18-year-old Kupakwashe Matangira is using her creative skills to help end poverty and educate girls! Her enterprise began with only $70. Now, she’s financing scholarships for orphans in Zimbabwe.
After touring Europe advocating for youth, Kupa wanted to give back to the community in her own way. She wanted to start her own enterprise, so she picked up extra shifts at her part-time job. “I had no idea what kind of products I wanted to sell. I just knew I wanted to raise funds for charity,” she says.
She started to research and brainstorm, and eventually, she discovered the art of making and decorating notebooks! Her enterprise, Kupa For A Better World, has been running for almost eight months and she’s loving every day on the job!
“The notebooks looked terrible in the beginning,” Kupa says, but she was determined to make it all work. “I was busy making notebooks at odd hours of the night. As I kept making them, they got a little prettier each time!”
As a year 12 student, Kupa doesn’t have a lot of time on her hands, so she makes her notebooks by order. “But juggling senior school and running an enterprise poses its challenges”, Kupa says.
“Sometimes it’s difficult, I won’t lie. There have been several times when I’ve wanted to give up. What has kept me going are the people who encourage me to do something that changes someone’s life.”
Kupa’s heart for advocacy began with her writing letters to politicians, presenting speeches and speaking to other advocates on the state of the world. Just last year, she represented Australia on the Young Diplomats Tour of Europe, where she met with politicians and consulted with NGOs (Non-Government Organisations).
While on tour, Kupa says she couldn’t help but think of girls her age who were not in school. She made it her goal to get every girl into a classroom. “The effect of education is powerful. Like Confucius said, ‘Education breeds confidence, confidence breeds hope and hope breeds peace.’”
Kupa recently became a youth ambassador for Save The Children, where she’s sent all over the country to lobby the Australian government to create real change. She just visited Canberra to urge the government to take greater measures to protect children both in Australia and around the world. Kupa also gave a speech at the Kids Off Nauru rally, calling for all children to be evacuated off the island.
Her advice to anyone who has a dream? “You can change the lives of people and impact communities around the world. Do what is in your power to preserve hope and fight for the world you want to see. Never let yourself be discouraged.”
You can find more of Kupa’s story in issue 12, pages 16 & 17.