Saturday, November 26, 2011

TEDxDAR: Susan Mashibe

"When I was four years old, I took my first flight..." and that is how Susan Mashibe fell in love with flying. She used to watch planes at Dar es Salaam International Airport back in the days when they allowed it, and she's right: there is nothing like the thrill of watching a Boeing 747 landing, or take off.

Having gone through the public education system, Susan wasn't able to learn all of the skills that she needed initially to pursue her dream... yet. Particularly poignant was her statement that she had to imagine bunsen burners in class and imagine the experiments because her school wasn't well resourced. The government had planned a teacher's life for her, but at 19 years of age she managed to go to the united States and flight school. Where she had to re-learn English to be able to communicate with the control tower. And so a step at a time Susan got close to her dream of a flying career until...

September 11 changed her dream. Her future of as an airline pilot died that day. Her student visa was expiring, the industry can't justify a foreigner when Americans don't have jobs. In 2003 she formed her company in Dar es Salaam and started her company. Her companies pay 1/2 a billion TShs or more in corporate taxes per year. She has her dream: she can fly, she can maintain aircraft, she has her aviation company. Now it is time to give back.

Susan talked about philanthropy, the practical kind, and her practice is to make sure that she supports the education sector through voluntarism at ward-level schools. I just want to note that there is a wave of quiet philanthropy that's becoming part of Vanessa's lifestyle- sometimes redistribution isn't material. When asked about ATCL, Susan answered that 'things started going wrong when we let politics determine the welfare of our country.' I love that statement.

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