Interview with Bisila Bokoko - 1 of 10 hispanic women with most influence in the States
Bisila Bokoko(37) is an extraordinary lady, she is the executive director of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in New York and one of 10 hispanic women with most influence in the States. She started the project called BBALP Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project that provides the African people with books. A fund raising gala on the 26th of November in Puente Romano called African Gala dinner will also help to boost this project. i-Marbella had the opportunity to interview this fabulous woman!
Spanish and Equatorial Guinea origin Bisila is a Business Development Strategist & Philanthropist, who travelled to Africa (Ghana) and fell in love with the people and place. "Also like many who have gone before me, I returned home with a desire to help Africa grow and develop. As with any developing country there is a need to build schools, hospitals, and other areas of infrastructure. Ultimately I have chosen to help Ghana develop by supplying something that is very close to my heart: Books!" she says
Bisila has always loved to read, and she wanted to give the people of Ghana the gift of inspiration and new ideas as well. The impact that books can make in Africa is seen with William Kamkwamba of Mali. This young man’s family could not afford to continue to send him to school. However after reading a book about how windmills can be used to create energy, William Kamkwamba was inspired to build a windmill which created enough electricity to power his house and eventually his village.
1. Where were you educated?
In Spain, Manchester and US. I attended CEU San Pablo University in Spain, I did Law and Economics, then I went to the University of Manchester to get a certificate in Law in English, finally I obtained a MA in International Relations at The City College of New York.
2. How important is education in your opinion? How can education change a person?
For me education is the key to freedom and to succeed in life. I have witnessed many times how education has turned people lives around. Also, it provides you with self-confidence.
3. Why did you choose Ghana?
I believe there are more young men and women like William Kamkwamba in Ghana, and I would like to supply them with books that can inspire them in similar ways. As a result of this, I have decided to start the Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project, with the goal of building libraries in Africa, with the first one in a town called Kokofu (in the Region of Kumasi in Ghana).
4. But why Kokofu?
Because the Chief of Kokofu, Barima Offe Akwasi Okogyeasuo II granted me with the honor and title of Queen Development Mother. With this title Chief Okogyeasuo II gave me a piece of land, where I decided to build the first library. The Chief also named me Nana Akwa Serwah. I know that being an African born in Europe give me the chance to have access to education and also, I grow up in a family environment where books and intellectual stimulation where extremely important for our personal development, therefore I would like to help others to achieve the same fortune!
5. How big has the project in Ghana grown over the years?
The project in Ghana only have 1 year and a half years but we have experienced tremendous success. We have worked with schools and we have built our library in Kokofu village.
6. What kind of books are most read in that library? How many books do you have there?
The most read books are the ones about personal development, history, biographies, and literature. Right now we have about 3500 books in Ghana that have been distributed around. Also we have sent around 4000 to Equatorial Guinea.
7. How can people send books to Ghana? What else can they people do to help?
In the US we celebrate book drives and people in different states organized events and they sent the books to us. In Spain we had successful campaigns as " Do you want to read with me" with the chain Roomate Hotels. People have been donating funds in order to support us to build up the libraries and transportation cost of the books to its destination.
8. Have you been in Marbella before? What's your impressions of this town?
I was in Marbella a few months ago as a guest speaker of the Club International de Marbella. I had a wonderful time and I met great people.
9. How do you spend your free time?
With my family and friends, reading, writing and organizing solidarity oriented events.
10. What is your favourite book?
I read everyday and several books at the same time. I like biographies and philosophy books.
11. What are your plans for the future?
Our plans are to expand our project around Africa, in 2012 our project goes to Zimbabwe, and Kenia.
More info about her project: http://bbalp.org
Bisila's project will also come to Marbella with the help of the Black and White association, Coastfield Projects, Rotary Club Marbella, and Damaris Eventos are presenting an African Gala Dinner at Hotel Puente Romano. The gala is a fund raising event to support the Bisila Bokoko Literacy project in Africa, which builds libraries and fights illiteracy. The gala will be held on November 26th 2011, in the glamorous location: Hotel Puente Romano along the Golden Mile in Marbella.
During this Gala, there will be a representation of African artists performing and displaying products of various African companies which will give the audience a great show as well as enlighten patrons in order to raise funds with support from The Puente Romano, The Rotary Club , Coastfield Projects, Damaris Events, and The Black and White Association.
The gala entrance is 95€ per person which includes a welcome drink and a 3-course dinner with a half bottle of wine. A raffle will also be included with wonderful prizes to which all proceeds go to the Bisilia Bokoko African Literacy Project in aid of helping to ease the struggles of every day in setting up libraries throughout Africa.
The event also will feature guest appearance by Boyoyo Bokoko
Visit our facebook: The African Gala Night
For more information, contact Saeko Hamada or Wendy van der Veen
Saeko Hamada firstname.lastname@example.org
Black and White Associate Wendy van der Veen
Tel: 952 58 09 76 , 699 186 127
By: Tene Sommer
Buy the entire gallery
See you all at the Black & White Gala 26th of November at Hotel Puente Romano. Please book your table now. SAEKO HAMADA Coastfield Projects email@example.com (+34) 639 213 956 Thank you very much. Looking forward to see you.
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