---MORE ON ALFRED CHIDEMBO---
Dr Alfred Chidembo learnt to write in the sand. Born into an impoverished rural village in Zimbabwe, Alfred attended a primary school that had no books for reading or writing in. Without books, his opportunities and ambitions were without hope. Alfred's parents were desperate to improve his educational outlook, so when he was just seven years old, they made the difficult decision to move Alfred and two of his six siblings to the city of Masvingo, more than seven hours away.
Alfred desperately missed his family, but it was here that Alfred discovered a library-and its power-for the very first time. In the pages of the books he read he encountered people and places his imagination alone could not have invented. Every page was a portal into another reality, and every book empowered him to see and believe his own potential.
Alfred's remarkable journey has seen him courageously cross continents and defy herculean barriers in pursuit of his dreams. He now holds a doctorate in materials engineering from the University of Wollongong and is the founder and CEO of Aussie Books for Zim, a charity that rescues books from Australian landfills and sends them to villages just like the one he came from. He has also recently accepted a consultancy position at global change-maker, ThinkPlace.
Having had time to reflect on his achievements, his setbacks and his opportunities, Alfred is now on a mission not just to give back to his community, but to build a brighter future for all of us by sharing his inspirational story with the world. He still gets his hands dirty in his beloved Zimbabwean homeland, but instead of tracing letters in the sand, he's building libraries, raising literacy rates, and giving hope to thousands of children.
Alfred's extraordinary story teaches us about the intrinsic value of learning and opportunity and connection to community. His challenges remind us of our own barriers, especially those we impose on ourselves, and his achievements empower us to see-and breach-our limitations.