Dr. Miriam Farai Siwela (née Jabangwe) is the CEO and Co-founder of Teach For Zimbabwe. Miriam’s formative years were characterized by extreme poverty, as she lived in one of the most impoverished parts of Zimbabwe. The tides turned when her father received a scholarship to study in the United Kingdom. Life changed overnight for Miriam and her family, who all joined their father. This was the first time Miriam realized that her life was "different" and that there were some children who had access to more than others, and the idea of the existence of inequalities was planted in her head.
Following years in the diaspora, Miriam came back to Zimbabwe to complete high school and took various roles (as Head Girl and first female Student Council Representative) in schools and university, where she championed the needs of the less privileged. Miriam worked as a Senior Economist for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Zimbabwe and held other roles in private organizations. She has a BSc in Economic Honors degree, a Postgraduate Tertiary Diploma in Education, and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Zimbabwe. When Miriam’s passion for addressing educational inequalities became even stronger, she decided to change careers and went back to obtain a PhD in Education and Leadership from the University of South Africa.
As Miriam was exploring how she could make a difference in supporting children in underprivileged communities in Zimbabwe, she was introduced to Teach For Zimbabwe in its very early days and became its Co-founder and CEO. Miriam strongly believes that leadership developed through the teaching fellowship and lifelong alumni community is what Zimbabwe needs right now. Like most other African countries, Zimbabwe is characterized by the persistent cycle of poverty, high levels of unemployment (over 80%), and inequalities due to income disparities and under-development. The volatile socio-economic instability has resulted in underfunding of essential social services, particularly in education, where the resources invested are chronically insufficient.