“If man can get the heavy aeroplane up in the air, God can take him higher.”

This conversation between mother and son will forever be etched in the mind of Charles Miracle Lipenga, a social entrepreneur and architect from Zomba, Malawi.

This philosophy is the reason he wakes up every morning with a mission to uplift the most vulnerable in society. He was recently awarded for designing a social housing project for 2 000 families using locally found materials.

His mother’s words are his driving force; Lipenga conquered a childhood speech impairment to become a prolific motivational speaker and writer. 

He is concerned that most young people go through the motions of finishing school only to end up with an unfulfilling job. “They end up being frustrated due to low wages or lack of fulfilment,” says Lipenga. Consequently, he designed courses that introduce the four-layered circle of purpose: Passion, Mission, Vocation (Calling) and Profession. Lipenga says these pillar ought to be balanced if one is to lead a fulfilling life.

The organisation he founded adopted a government school and gave a full scholarship to all enrolled students in Malawi to introduce a global education citizenship approach to the curriculum.

“It focuses on a project-based learning system and offers more radical opportunities for personalisation, by allowing students to draw from their passions, skills, and interests in order to create work that is meaningful to them and the communities at large. This approach goes a long way in addressing global issues of a social, political, economic, or environmental nature,” he says.

Infographic by TYI

Lipenga is building a voice for Africa’s economic, social and political revolution through his establishment of Maestros Leadership Team. Its teams are coalitions of social, technical and commercial leaders in 18 African countries.

Together, they solve persistent global challenges that limit communities’ abilities to survive and thrive. They do this by leveraging a global network of leaders to develop and deploy community engaging, high-thinking solutions.

“We engage communities in promoting quality and inclusive education opportunities by annually providing 1 000 scholarship grants, sanitary hygiene products and, services,” Lipenga says.

He and his colleagues distribute over 1 000 packs of uniforms in primary schools to reduce school dropouts, and they provide schools with sporting equipment and materials to promote participation. The United Nations awarded the youth-led organisation for empowering young people in Africa by providing a humanitarian and environmental flood-resistant solution to communities of more than 250 000 people.

Lipenga featured among the top global social entrepreneurs of 2018 by a British-based company, The Collective. He is listed among top global talents by the Danish Innovation Lab known as UNLEASH. He was also chosen as the Commonwealth Youth Champion for Africa and Europe for his excellence in development work towards achieving the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

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