Published On: Mon, Apr 4th, 2016

Businesswoman’s passion transforms African education

Bisila Bokoko African Literacy ProjectJOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SHE is a phenomenal businesswoman and hailed as one of the ten most influential women of foreign origin in the United States, has graced magazine covers and is the face of an award-winning wine but Bisila Bokoko’s biggest passion is the millions of children in Africa.

Born in Valencia, Spain to parents from Equatorial Guinea, when the philantrhopist visited Africa for the first time seven years ago, she immediately fell in love with the continent of her ancestry.

Such a love-at-first-sight encounter would go on to benefit thousands of children in a continent where a number of governments are struggling to provide education infrastructure.

The programmes that have culminated in the empowerment of underprivileged schools and schoolchildren are run through Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project (BBALP).

The organisation runs libraries in Kenya, Uganda Zimbabwe. BBALP is providing books in schools in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal and Nigeria.

There is a plan for new library openings in South Africa and Senegal.

“We are empowering children promoting literacy. We know that this is bringing great opportunities to multiple children and we try to reach out to as many as possible in rural areas,” Bokoko said.

Bokoko, the Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of the Bisila Boko Embassy International, explained the inspiration behind BBALP.

“What inspired me to start BBALP was my first time in Africa back in 2009. It was magical and I fell in love with Africa. I never had the chance to travel before to my continent,” she said.

“As I was in search of my identity I realised of the privileges that I was granted with 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, 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 therefore BBALP was inspired by what I saw in rural areas in Africa. I wanted to fill up this gap building up libraries,” she said.

“I owe to my parents and mostly my grandparents my connection to my roots. Born in Spain, my contact to the continent was physically zero during 35 years but I was in touch through books and through my family who shared with me wonderful traditions and culture,” Bokoko, who is in her early 40s, added.

Bokoko is a phenomenal businesswoman internationally acclaimed for successfully taking companies from local to global.

For seven years, she held the position of Executive Director of the Spain-United States Chamber of Commerce in New York.

Her efforts have won her widespread recognition and led to dynamic involvement in EMPRETEC, a United Nations programme that supports up and coming entrepreneurs.

She fronted the women’s scheme and actively worked to support female entrepreneurs in their efforts to launch businesses.

Bokoko is the face of Bisila Wines, a global award-winning drop made in Spain.

From hosting for the UN in Switzerland to delivering keynotes around the globe, sharing her business expertise and inspirational journey.

Throughout her career, Bokoko has developed and cultivated relationships with Heads of State and international business leaders, instrumental in her becoming one of the ten most influential Spanish women in American business.

Her accomplishments and style have seen her grace the pages of prominent publications including Forbes.

Despite all the accolades, her feet remain firmly on the ground and her heart in Africa.

“I am part of the continent and each of the people in the continent is part of me therefore to contribute to better education and access to books is a passion. My people and my roots inspire me to do this work,” Boko said.

“I am an Afropolitan and I love the continent. I consider myself an African world citizen. I identify myself with the three cultures that I live in. The African one is my tradition and runs in my veins. I grew up in Spain and lived there for 25 years, so my education and my culture is very Spanish. Professionally I grew up and matured in the US. My career developed there.”

Having shared the stage with would leaders, her response as to who the most prominent figures she has met is humbling.

“The most prominent people I met is the kids with great dreams who one day will run the continent,” says Bokoko.

“Everyone I have met in Africa is amazing. Any smile I receive of people makes my heart jump. My experiences in Africa are always changing me internally.”

CAJ News

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