Who needs a bath? An amazing story about a boy who just wanted to be clean

rubber duckDid you know that 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper water and sanitation globally?

Of these 2.5 billion people, 450 million live in Africa and 5 million of them live in South Africa. So a lot of people in the world are not able to wash themselves, which in turn allows certain diseases to spread that could have easily been prevented if these people were able to take ‘a bath’.

Now I recently heard the story of Ludwick Marishane, a young entrepreneur from South Africa. He grew up as one of the children who had no access to proper water to wash himself in the morning. It frustrated him so much that now, 15 years later, he has invented a cheap, clean and convenient solution to this problem called: DryBath.

It’s a waterless bathing lotion and millions of people around the world who have limited access to water are using this product to bathe themselves.

This is such a positive story and a great example of “to every problem, there is a solution”.  Maybe this inspiring story can serve as a positive light in this messy world. It certainly offered me inspiration for what the future holds if more people like Ludwick Marishane stand up.

See his TED talk on: http://www.ted.com/speakers/ludwick_marishane

Have – Do – Be or Be – Do – Have ?

rainbow_ocean_by_vietzie-d5jj6rd

There are many things I’d like to say or give you as food for thought – but after all this blog is only just partly my personal “wonderwall”.

What was my wonder this week?  What was the cause of my feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable?

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things over the past few weeks as usual… but my personal question and its answer came around last Monday, namely “What does over the rainbow means to me?

For Lesley and Sandy the rainbow is strongly connected to their mom’s death 10 years ago. For our designer Helene and rainmaker Michelle a rainbow was in the sky when they had a car accident. But for me, I do not come from the Rainbow-Nation and do not feel very strongly connected to the rainbow (to be very honest).

I have not found what the rainbow means to me, but I do want to give you something to think about.

So have you also noticed that most people live with a Have-Do-Be perspective of life?  Meaning that they believe that if they will “have” what they desire, they can “do” the right things, and only then will they “be” the person who they deep down want to be and “be” happy.

This is also related to material things, and relationships, health and can also have a big influence on the emotional state of people.

For example:  If I only had more money, then I could do what I wanted and I would be happy.

Now maybe it is a good way for you to live with this mantra, but I’ve learned something different over the last 3 weeks. This is a more empowered paradigm: Be- Do- Have. 

Be positive, and be who you want to be from the start (be), that will lead to actions (do) and in the end the desired result (have).

This world is changing rapidly and I’m not saying that be-do-have is a better way to go about things, but it does offer a different perspective on things.

Have a great week!

Entrepreneurs and the 7 steps to their pot of gold ~ 2 weeks in Cape Town

Entrepreneurs are people who want to make a difference, are their own boss, work hard, and want to live a lifestyle that they want. It is a lonely path to take at the beginning and probably for most the hardest thing to do (start your own business) in their lives.

They are people who dare to be unique – dare to keep a promise to themselves and have make their ideas are reality.

Now you must be thinking why am I telling you this?  Well, this information is vital for my work and my lifestyle at the moment because I am an entrepreneur. As part of the recent start-up company called Over The Rainbow –Empowering Entrepreneurs- I am conducting research and writing chapters, which are going to be part of a book and webpage, that form part of educating entrepreneurs by letting them follow the 7 steps in how to start and maintain a sustainable business and help them find their pot of gold (at the end of the rainbow). We have only been working on this project for the last 6 months and for me personally the last 2 weeks and we launched our business last Wednesday.

What we have discovered is that entrepreneurs lack the education, especially here in SA, as to how they can even begin to start a business and make sure it becomes a successful business. Some hard facts on this point:

  • The SA total entrepreneurial activity stands around 8 % at the moment
  • 70% of the SA small businesses fail in their first year.
  • 9 out of 10 new businesses do not last five years

When you compare these facts to the Total Entrepreneurial Activity in Brazil (15%) and Mexico (13 %), South-Africa has a relatively small entrepreneurial community. This situation is alarming within a society where the gap between rich and poor is now one of the highest in the world. But why are entrepreneurs so important for a developing country’s economy?  Firstly, entrepreneurs create new businesses and result in new employment. If their businesses thrive, their employees are likely to receive a better education and training so they can develop further and the business can grow (providing even more employment). All of this is beneficial across a broad spectrum of the economy of the country. Aside from the economic benefits, entrepreneurs break away from tradition, so to speak: they can contribute to creating social change, and be an example that it is possible by creating a successful business. Entrepreneurs are also a part of a major network of other entrepreneurs who nurture each other and give back to society. Think about Bill Gates, who uses his own money to support good causes.

Taking all of this in consideration, it is of great importance to educate and help entrepreneurs in SA.

Think about this quote by Nelson Mandela:

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

This is the core mission at Over The Rainbow and my challenge is to find a way to speak to and educate entrepreneurs and thereby empower them to find their pot of gold.                                                                                                                    11998778_10207654679273145_1085351841_n11998012_10207654684393273_830422064_n11995703_10207654680993188_1204178435_n

As for being in SA for 2 weeks now:

The division between the poor and the rich seems even bigger and more out in the open than when I was here 3 years ago. This division offers even more motivation to continue with a career within developing countries and wanting to make this Over The Rainbow business succeed. In my spare time I’ve been surfing, walking around in shorts (yes in September! ;)) and enjoying that liberating feeling of being in a stunning part of the world. I wake up every morning, walk to my bedroom window and see the sun come up over the Table Mountain – I feel so privileged to have been studying in Oxford last year and now being involved in an inspiring and valuable project in the Rainbow country                                                        11945007_10207654684273270_165358686_n

From Oxford, to Rotterdam, to Cape Town

Wow! What a year!

From start to finish- being a part of the post-graduate community at Oxford University has given me wings to fly to new experiences in all parts of the world without fear! I am blessed with friends all over the world and it will be difficult for me to keep in touch with all of them. So one of the reasons I’m writing a blog every week is to give you all a window into my experiences and possibly inspire others to also spread their wings.

So next stop: Cape Town. And by next stop I mean that I am flying to Cape Town tomorrow evening to start my internship with Over the Rainbow. This is going to be a project in the form of a book focused on “to give small businesses the tools and support to make a meaningful contribution to the South African economy”.  Now what does this mean exactly?

Good question which will be answered in due course. I will be conducting research on the subject of entrepreneurs and the steps they need to set up a business. Think about a good business plan, a brand, core mission, values, market plan, networking, using media, building a reputation etc…

A completely different topic and new adventure for sure!