Thousands benefit from literacy project

More than 3,000 local schoolchildren from disadvantaged backgrounds have benefited from the initiatives of the African Literacy Project - brainchild of Spanish-born philanthropist Bisila Bokoko-Echols.

The project pays school fees for 25 children in Chirumanzu.
The project pays school fees for 25 children in Chirumanzu.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean recently, Bokoko-Echols pledged her commitment to the empowerment through education of impoverished youngsters in several African countries.

The project has helped distribute more than 30,000 books to schools and libraries in Zimbabwe since it was established in 2010. These have impacted directly on thousands of schoolchildren in remote areas, a major boost in view of government’s lack of capacity to acquire material for the learning centres.

In addition, through the Bisila Bokoko Zimbabwe Rural Scholarship, she pays for the education of 25 intellectually-gifted but impoverished youngsters at Maware Primary School in Chirumanzu rural community.

The organisation plans to establish a community library in Chirumanzu in collaboration with Zimbabwe Youth Development Foundation Trust. The facility, which would be the first in the area, is poised to improve education standards.

“I am an Afropolitan and I love the continent. I feel passionate about these projects because we also created employment and we helped young people to find a career as librarians. The key for success in life is education and that is why BBZRS makes it a priority to have access to books,” Bokoko said in an interview from New York, where she is now based.

“What inspired me to start BBALP was my first visit to Africa in 2009. It was magical and I fell in love with Africa. I never had the chance to travel before to my continent. I was in search of my identity and I realized all the privileges that I was granted in life, and the benefits of access to education. I love reading. Due to my professional lifestyle I travel a lot and I spend lots of times in airports and hotels, but I never feel lonely because I always have a book with me. I wanted to share with others the gift of ideas and the pleasure of reading. This project was inspired by what I saw in rural areas in Africa. I wanted to help fill the gap,” she said.

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