Getting Mbala Reading
Pascal Nsokolo, Senior Risk Consultant at Legal & General, recently spent a day away from his desk, stamping books in our warehouse as part of his company’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme. Pascal stamped over 1,000 brand new books and raised £250 for us as Legal & General matched each hour of his time with funding.
Originally from Zambia and a member of the Senior Chief Nsokolo family, Pascal had some very special reasons for wanting to support our work. We caught up with him to find out more.
I chose to donate my company volunteering time to Book Aid International as in 2016, they donated 1,600 new books to support a reading initiative I founded in my district in Zambia called Get Mbala Reading. I believe that those of us that are fortunate in a way, should do their best to help others that are less fortunate. I concluded that the best way to give back to the community would be to help raise literacy levels within my community in Mbala.
Mbala District is Zambia’s most northerly large town. It is a rural area and most people are farmers or work in tourism. In schools, there are few resources including books. As a result, the District has very low literacy levels with over 70% of children leaving primary school without the expected level of literacy to prepare them for secondary school and beyond.
My family and I set up Get Mbala Reading last April to address these challenges and raise literacy levels, including digital literacy, across the district. As a senior member of the Senior Chief Nsokolo family, I take my obligations and responsibilities to the people of Mbala seriously. I believe that we as a family have an added responsibility to ensure that our people have a positive and bright future.
The ambition of Get Mbala Reading is to raise literacy levels so that everyone in Mbala has the skills they need to succeed throughout their education and later in life. We aim to do that by ensuring every school in Mbala has a library filled with books, including those in local languages. We also want to increase access to digital technology in schools and raise awareness about the importance of regular school attendance.
We work with the District Education Board Secretary’s office to support and promote literacy by donating books and computers. We also support initiatives such as reading challenges and digital lessons in schools.
Thanks to the 1,600 new books which Book Aid International donated, we are now supporting six schools in Mbala District with reading books. These schools had few or no reading books at all and their pupils were struggling with literacy and numeracy. Now, with the support of Get Mbala Reading and Book Aid International, the children have the chance to enjoy reading and improve their literacy skills as well as participate in inspiring reading activities.
“Thanks a lot; you don’t know what you have done to the district and the learners. You have added value to our education and sustainable development of the children.”
– District Education Board Secretary Mrs Kelby Chizyuka.
Our hope for these children and indeed for the Mbala District is for a bright, positive future for all, with high-quality schools and very high literacy levels. When you read, everything changes and that is exactly what the books which Book Aid International sent are doing.
Many thanks to Pascal for his generous support. The books that he stamped will soon be going on a shipment and the money he raised is enough to send 125 books to communities that might not otherwise have access to brand new books. Find out more about our work using the links below.