Hi. I’m Miranda.
I’m now a 17-year-old high school senior. Starting a non-profit at the age of 13, I had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was that saw an opportunity to help the people in iNzinga, and was determined to do that. I was quickly introduced to a world of marketing, PR, strategic planning, budgeting, email etiquette and public speaking ten years before most people are. It’s been a strange and wonderful journey! Most importantly I have been able to spend my time and energy on a cause that I care about and have passion for. I have been able to direct that passion into creating something amazing, and I am so thankful.
I remember the first night we arrived in iNzinga and the Zuma family’s small mud huts, I was shocked and overwhelmed, and I was sure I would never make it a week. The thing that kept me there and helped me keep going, and helped me to see the beauty and hope in the poverty that clouded my vision when I arrived, was a two year old girl named Amahle. She called me Isipho, the Zulu word for gift. As we were leaving, I knew I couldn’t simply leave iNzinga, Amahle, and all of the other people I had grown to love with the small hope of returning in ten years. So in a magical moment in the Cape Town airport that would change the rest of my life, my father and I claimed the domain name Isipho.org.
My high school years have been spent juggling school, a part-time job, learning to drive, social life and running a nonprofit organization. Not exactly what most teens dream of for their teenage years, and it’s difficult to accomplish, but possible because I am passionate about what I love. And I love the people of iNzinga. I love the children who live there who are just like me, but don’t have the opportunities I have. And I love knowing I am helping them be able to feed themselves with fresh vegetables that they grew with their own hands.
When I bid on the vacation to South Africa at a fund-raising auction, I knew an experience like that had the chance to be life-changing for Miranda, and I worked hard to make sure we both had the opportunity to really understand how different so many millions of lives are from the rather privileged life we lead. I’ll admit that I had no idea what life in a poor rural African village is really like, as no one can from just reading about it and watching TV. When I saw how our time in iNzinga affected Miranda, and how determined she was to make a continuing difference, I knew I had to take on the extra task of working nights and weekends to help her make this happen. But I also knew we would need help, and luckily I knew just where to turn…
My name is Sheri Lynch.
I’ve been married to Tom for 25 years, so I know how driven and focused he is when he sets his mind to something. And it was immediately clear how much Miranda cared about the people in Nzinga. I add 11 years of previous non-profit management experience to Tom’s determination and Miranda’s passion. I serve as Executive Director of Isipho, managing day-to-day issues and administrative duties.
The three of us volunteer 100% of our time working on Isipho, which guarantees almost 100% of funds go directly to our programs.