It’s not every day one wakes up to the realisation of your dream by one day meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but Mavis Elias has managed to do exactly that. Just ten days ago, Elias undertook a journey of a lifetime to the United Kingdom after having been named as one the Queens Young Leader’s for the year 2018, representing Namibia.
The Queens Young Leader recognizes young leaders from across commonwealth countries who do exceptional work within their communities. Having started off with the EM Love Foundation five years ago, Elias was a wonder to behold on live TV as she received her award.
In an interview with The Lounge, an overwhelmed Elias was more than willing to share her experience in the UK. This visit, she noted was one that has shifted her paradigm and the views that she held of the world.
For the most part of the journey until this point in life, Elias encountered a series of challenges, she deemed unachievable because the world seemed like such an overwhelmingly large place. However being granted an opportunity to meet the Queen gave her the push she needed in believing that all things were indeed possible if one only was to put your mind to it.
“This has put my world view into a much clear focus, through it all I have learned that the world may be such a big place but everyone’s dreams are valid, including mine. For as long as we sell our abilities short, we rob the world of what we truly have within us”.
She describes her experience of having had the opportunity to receive the award as a career highlight, which she claims to have truly humbled her.
“I felt incredibly blessed because so much work goes into both foundations, EM Foundation and the One Economy Foundation that I serve. Both these foundations address poverty eradication within Namibia and we have learned the art of being a helping hand to those who are less fortunate”.
Elias highlighted that during her time in the UK she learned a lot during the residential week. Subdivided into two elements the week consisted of a course at Cambridge University in Cambridge and the meetings in London.
The courses each had their own highlights but Elias identified her time in Cambridge as having been exceptionally fruitful.
“This course equipped me and others in becoming better leaders who are self-aware. This also created the opportunity to network and meet world leaders such as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland”.
Elias also had the opportunity to experience a one on one interview with BBC Africa during her time there during which she noted that she was currently working towards eradicating poverty in Namibia.
“As difficult as eradicating poverty may be, the core mandate of the EM Love Foundation is to ensure that it plays an impactful role in poverty eradication combined with the core mandate of the One Economy Foundation which is to bridge the poverty gap and provide access to the less fortunate to opportunities and self-betterment.
When we speak on poverty eradication it is deemed by many in Namibia and the world as an impossible goal, and in truth it is a problem that defeats many governments. However, I am of the belief that one needs to start somewhere and ensure that there is a shift in the dynamics of poverty”.
Making reference to the First Lady, Monica Geingos, Elias stated that it remains the duty of each of us to lift someone out of poverty and because of that undertaking she will ensure that she plays her part.
“I will continue to work tirelessly to be effective and be the wave of change that gives hope where hope is lost. It is my hope that the work we have been doing will one day yield results and that it is not short lived – I believe the impact will be visible for generations to come. In the interim, I will serve the Namibian people in the best way I know how to by rendering the works of my hands to the less fortunate”.
Elias concluded her interview by sharing that there are currently several initiatives that are taking place, that all speak about breaking the stranglehold of poverty.
“The concept stems from the understanding that there is a poverty cycle that pulls in generations after generation. We aim to empower people by providing access to opportunities and challenging the mentality of our people to bring forth poverty cycle breakers.
The initiatives are Lend-a-Hand which funds scholars who are struggling with day to day expenses, the Street Store Package which empowers those living on the street to become a part of the job market.”
One of Elias’ greatest ambitions at present is to open up a home called the House of Love which will practically address the breaking the poverty cycle. This is an idea she holds close to her heart and in due time it will be properly launched.