Camara CEO John Fitzsimons with Desmond Tutu and other ICT4D Alliance members

Camara CEO John Fitzsimons with Desmond Tutu and ICT4D Alliance members

On Wednesday 19th Nov, Desmond Tutu flew in to Brussels from South Africa for, what he says, will be the last time, to launch the Camara-led ICT for Development (ICT4D) Alliance, who to date have collectively impacted 24 million children in developing countries.

This body of organisations, which also includes Computer Aid, Viafrica and Computers for Schools Kenya, all have the same goal – to improve ICT in developing countries. Camara was represented at the event by CEO John Fitzsimons, and he was in awe of the guest speaker – Desmond Tutu – patron of Close The Gap. John takes up the story of what was an amazing day.

Today was one of the best days of my life, and I would consider that I have a pretty good life. It wasn’t because of the 4.30am alarm clock call, nor was it due to the 6.30am Ryanair flight. It was because I spent several hours in the company of a special man. That man? Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

People always ask why do I do what I do. Why does Camara give me such satisfaction? More specifically, what is the lure of Africa? It is a question that I often struggle to answer. Today I got a large part of the answer. I, and Camara, passionately believe that we must serve those with less. We believe that where you are born should not limit your potential or your opportunities. But it always felt more than that. More than a good feeling. Listening to a living legend today, I realised that while we in Europe have knowledge, we don’t have wisdom. The kind of wisdom that oozes from the likes of Archbishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela. In return I hope we can in some way trade the wisdom we get with the knowledge we share (electronically) with Africa. I know who is getting the better deal.

You might well ask, ‘what of this wisdom?’ Listening to the ‘Arch’ I heard a man contented like no other man. His secret? Laughter. Not only did he repeatedly turn a room of corporate types into a giggling mess, he laughs from the belly. They say you should never meet your heroes, well if they are truly heroic, do. So as I board the return flight, here’s my lesson. Laugh deeper and laugh more.