Feature: Orphan-turned millionaire sets up trust to help the needy in Botswana

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GABORONE, March 28 (Xinhua) — Driven by the desire to help the needy, the Chief Executive Officer of Barmlo Investments, Banabasi Marambire has registered a trust.

Growing up in Zimbabwe as an orphan with 8 siblings, Marambire often had to endure cold hungry nights. The consequent lack of nutrition saw him suffer from kwashiorkor disease at the age of 14.

Now that he is a multi-millionaire, he hopes to help those less fortunate through his trust, so they don’t feel abandoned like he once felt.

“You feel like no one cares. Your pockets are empty. You don’t have food, you don’t have clothes, you don’t have anyone to tell you that my son it shall be okay. When people in the community look at you, they act as if you don’t exist,” says Marambire.

To ensure his survival and that of his siblings back then, Marambire started selling beans, sweet potatoes and other vegetables in his early teens.

Once he got his passport in 1994, at the age of 18, he left Zimbabwe for Botswana, a country whose beauty and economy had been lauded by his countrymen. In Botswana, he continued to sell sweet potatoes, groundnuts and beans among other crops.

“Soon I got tired of the tedious and challenging process of applying for permits to bring the agricultural produce across the border. So, I settled in Botswana and worked as a herd boy,” he said.

For him, this was not giving up, but a stable way to earn, save and invest in his childhood dream of becoming a renowned businessman who would sell more than just vegetables.

Though his minimum herd boy wages only amounted to an equivalent of 15 U.S. dollars per month, Marambire saved enough to register a company. “That’s when I registered my first company ever in Botswana at the age of 25, specializing in aggregates for construction,” he explains.

Today, Marambire runs a group of five companies. That is Barmlo Investments which specializes in building material supplies, Barmlo Construction which specializes in construction and logistics, a cargo fleet, a food processing and packaging company, and he is a co-owner of a private school.

With an annual turnover of 32 million U.S. dollars, his companies have since created jobs for hundreds of people in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.

The man wants to do more than just assisting the poor with food, clothing and personal development opportunities such as mentorship, while even protecting and taking care of orphans whom he says may grow up into influential people.

“I want to stand up for the voiceless, the poor, the underprivileged,” he explains.

Currently, Marambire, who has since authored a book on his journey from rugs to riches titled ‘The Herd boy’, is contemplating the pursuit of university studies that he could not afford when he was 18 years old. Enditem

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