2023 Volunteering Awards


Last Monday, November 27th, the recognition of the volunteer work of the Community of Madrid was held at the Canal Foundation. These awards recognize the solidarity work of civil society through the various NGOs in the region. One of these awards went to Mr. RAMÓN DÍAZ DE BUSTAMANTE, founding partner of SOGOLO, an NGO from Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain, dedicated to improving education in Zambia and Spain. He received a detail with his name from the hands of the Councillor of Social Affairs of the Community of Madrid.
Last Friday, December 1st, the Majadahonda City Council recognized the work of the volunteers of the NGOs in Majadahonda. One of these recognitions was for Mr. RAMON DÍAZ DE BUSTAMANTE, for his invaluable work in collaboration with SOGOLO. All of us who make up the NGO are immensely grateful to Ramon for his selfless work to improve education in Zambia. He goes to the extreme the raison d’être of the NGO: to help through education to improve the future of the people in Spain and in Zambia.
Ramón is the Honorary Consul of Zambia in Spain, as well as a lover of Africa. His work as a businessman is complemented by the dedication of many hours a day to help develop SOGOLO’s projects in an inhospitable region of southeastern Zambia, specifically in the Mwanya region. His work consists of checking the projects we are asked to carry out in the field, assessing their feasibility, and proceeding with their implementation. With concrete, direct action projects, 10 actions have already been carried out in just three years: the purchase of an electric generator to run the computers at Mukasanga School, the construction of a science laboratory with desks and chairs, the repair of windows, walls and a well at Nwanya School, the purchase of a wheelchair for a young girl without legs, the purchase of light bulbs and solar lights, the repair of a classroom roof, the shipment of a container with donated laboratory equipment, computers, screens, blackboard, school and sports equipment, the future construction of a bridge…. These are many projects in a short period of time that involve many hours of negotiations, visits to the areas of execution, e-mails and phone calls.
Once Ramon and his team in Zambia, led by Masumba, give the go-ahead to a project that is requested in the region, and after approval by the Queen, the best budget is selected by the Board of Directors and published on iHelp, a crowdfunding platform www.ihelp.org. SOGOLO’s team of volunteers then organizes the publicity and dissemination of the projects. IHelpis in charge of auditing and corroborating the realization of the projects and that the funds go to the intended purpose. Once the money has been raised, iHelp sends the money to SOGOLO’s current account. And from there the amounts are delivered to the Zambian Consulate in Spain, through Ramon, who sends a receipt. And on his return he gives the SOGOLO treasurer the appropriate invoices. All the documentation is sent to iHelp for the traceability of the money and the project with total transparency. Ramon is the key piece of the gear of the aid to the Zambian Educational Community.
Ramón is an affable, educated, well educated person and a friend of his friends. He lives between his town namedTorrelavega, in Cantabria, and the Safari Explorer camp in South Luangwa National Park. Julia, his indefatigable life companion, accompanies him, together with his dogs Leo and Nina. Ramon is, by nature, a restless person.He has published a book “Diary of Africa” about his experiences in the poorest continent in the world, which he also edits in podcast version. You can listen to them for free here: https://www.africasafari.es/podcast.html. Her voice catches your attention. He has a kind smile and a giant heart. Humble, calm and affable, he is very friendly with his friends and defends the causes he believes in without hesitation.
Congratulations Ramon!!! Zicomo Ramón!!Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!! Many children in Zambia and Spain will be eternally grateful to you.

Sogolo special people


This world is full of surprising, alarming, lurid, negative, fake news… and the media highlight them in the headlines of newspapers or on the news. But there is also a lot of news that is not public on a large scale and that, nevertheless, makes us believe that another world is possible. In these good news stories, there is always a common denominator: they have a special person or persons at their center or axis of action. They are the VOLUNTEERS of NGOs. They are anonymous, humble people, who collaborate selflessly for a cause that satisfies them on a personal level. There are many causes: caring for children with cancer, participating in leisure activities for people with disabilities, helping in the shelter for abandoned dogs, visiting the sick, collaborating with children at risk of exclusion… all of them very commendable, worthy and totally necessary.

These special people make that, fortunately, human beings believe in human beings, giving the best of themselves for the good of others. There is much talk these days about artificial intelligence and the revolution it means for the economy, education and society in general. However, we forget the human part of this super-revolution. Artificial intelligence, however intelligent it may be, does not love. And human beings, even the least intelligent, know how to love.

Special people get involved in a cause and take it to its ultimate consequences. They are capable of complicating their lives for what they believe in. They get up early, give their all, their money and, what is even more valuable, their time. And they do not boast about it, because they make it their life routine, with humility. They are a silent example that should be in the news, and yet they remain anonymous, giving the best of themselves.

Thanks to all those special people who collaborate with SOGOLO, making it their cause and one of their reasons for being and existing. They know who they are. We do not need names.

Thank you, thank you and a million thanks.

Without you, SOGOLO would not be possible.

With you, SOGOLO is a reality.

For many people who, unfortunately, have not been as lucky as we are, the special people of SOGOLO are a reason to believe that another world is possible.


It's already on its way! The container with SOGOLO's material is on its way to Zambia, via Mozambique and now it is in Mfuwe. Thanks to Safari Explorer, who has floated the container, we have brought a lot of illusion, many good wishes and a lot of solidarity from everyone.

Due to the pandemic, there was a worldwide stockout of containers and it has been very difficult to get it. However, thanks to the tenacity of our partner Ramon, much of the aid that we have obtained thanks to the projects funded on the crowdfunding platform www.ihelp.es can leave for Zambia. It is only fair, at this point, to thank all those who have collaborated with SOGOLO to fill it:

  • @ SOGOLO’s partners and SOGOLO’s members
  • @ the friends of SOGOLO
  • @ Benito Pérez Galdos Public School
  • @ Bilingual Public School Federico García Lorca
  • @ Faculty of Biology of the Complutense University of Madrid
  • @ Faculty of Biology of the University of León
  • @ Carolina and her supportive friends from the stationery and pastry shop
  • @ and all those who have bought the story of “Crocodile Benito”.

At the end of July, two SOGOLO families will go to Zambia. Among other activities, they will go to inaugurate the science laboratory, to analyze the situation of the schools in the South Luanga area to detect possible needs and propose new projects, and to start the construction of the bridge.



Among older people, saying “thank you” and asking for things “please” are often used in Spain. However, among younger people, it is often frowned upon because it is not modern. I deserve what I get and when I ask for it, I want it now. However, at the NGO SOGOLO, we believe that we all have to thank life for everything we have, as a first step to be able to help others. Thank you for breathing, thank you for being healthy, thank you for having a family, thank you for having a job, thank you for having a school, so many things that often lead us to feel dissatisfied because we want more and more.

If we believe that life has given us a lot and that we have more than we really need, we can talk about sharing and being empathetic with those who need it most. Teaching others to be happy with what they have is the key to living a satisfied life. And that attitude must start with oneself in all areas of our lives, at work, in the family, with friends,… A smile is a good way to support those “thank yous”.



The management team of the school “BENITO PEREZ GALDOS” has decided that the money raised from the raffle of three Christmas baskets this year will go to SOGOLO. We are very grateful to them and also for their request to make the students aware of what an NGO does. For this reason, during the week of December 12-16, an awareness campaign was held at CEIP Benito Pérez Galdós, so that the children of the school could learn more about the activities that NGOs, and especially SOGOLO, do. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the projects that our association has done since its origin were presented.

After the presentation, made by one of the members of the Board of Directors of Sogolo, the origin of SOGOLO was emphasized. Sogolo was born from the gratitude to life of a group of people who believe that another world is possible. When one is grateful, solidarity is possible and any effort is valid to try to help others, who are less fortunate than us simply for being born where we were born.

To be sogoleño or sogoleña, you have to be grateful. Therefore, post-its were distributed in which each child had to write a phrase, a word or draw a picture for what he or she is grateful. Then, together, we built a very special Christmas tree: the SOGOLO tree. Here there are some pictures. A very special thanks from SOGOLO to all the teachers who have participated in the activity and have helped us in this campaign of solidarity for children from Majadahonda. We would also like to thank the management team of the school for their involvement and collaboration in this campaign.



Students, when they leave their country to do an ERASMUS experience, one of the first things they have to look for is accommodation, if possible, close to the host university. The same happens to those young people who have or want to study for a university degree in a different place from their city of birth. In many occasions, it represents an extra effort for the families, who have to pay for these dorms or student housings. Both situations are not exceptional among our young people today. Nor is it that they have enough money to go out for drinks or to go clubbing in their free time.

However, for other young people, this situation of moving from their place of birth in search of education to get a better life becomes a real odyssey. In Mukasanga, near the school, there are the houses of the school teachers and, at the back, far down the main street, there are two huts. Those huts at the back, with no electricity or running water, no doors or windows, which get wet when it rains, are the residences of those students of the school whose families live far away. They cannot move every day and they have to live there. There are two shacks, one for boys and one for girls, a few meters apart. Mattresses on the floor and faded fabrics at the entrance and on the windows are the only decorative elements.

We put ourselves in the shoes of these young people, who leave their parental homes, to go to a hut to try to train to realize the dream of being a nurse, policeman, teacher, doctor, … who helps them when they do not understand something? how do they study if they have no light or computers? what happens to them if they do not pass? do they feel stressed when they take their exams? how do they survive? do they only take the food offered by the school? what do they do when they do not study? do they go out drinking? who takes them to the doctor if they get sick? Many unanswered questions.

Perhaps building a dorm for students in Mukasanga with decent living conditions: their rooms, light, bathrooms, … could be the next project. In this way, in line with the SDGs, we will build a more dignified world in their places of origin. Perhaps many of them will cease to be a “nuisance” or a “problem” in developed countries. We will stop demagoguery, and we will act with small projects, of direct action, to build together the future they want.



This first week of March we are celebrating International Women’s Dayaround the world. Thousands of messages, tweets, posts, videos, and chats are flooding the social networks with messages of support for women. Being a woman in the so-called first world is complex, especially because of stereotypes and family reconciliation. In many places, women must follow the beliefs of what has always been said about what a woman can, must, and should do. News such as the first female lieutenant colonel or pilot in the armed forces is highlighted in the media. Having to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to work, take care of the children, be in shape, look beautiful, cook, iron, and do the shopping is very complicated if you do not have a high economic status or a partner who shares 50% of all these household chores. And we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

However, being a woman in the third world is infinitely more complex. On the one hand, in many countries, being a woman means being a zero to the left in politics, education and even healthcare. You are just another ornament in a man’s world. That is why the UN in its 2030 agenda establishes “gender equality” in SDG number 5, with the objective of “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls”. Progress has been made such as getting girls into school, preventing early marriages, and allowing women into positions of responsibility. However, globally, we still have many goals to achieve. These include 100% schooling for girls, preventing genital mutilation or arranged marriages of underage girls, abolishing child rape or the trafficking of girls as sex slaves, and eradicating domestic violence.

On the other hand, women are generally relegated to the home, although at the family level, they are the economic and social support of society. Women are in charge of managing the few resources the family has, raising their children, organizing the household, or even undertaking small microcredits. In initiatives such as the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, housing is only given to women who have land, not to men, and they are the only recipients of microcredits since they are more responsible and make better use of the financial resources obtained.

In the case of Zambia, there are empowered women in urban areas, with high positions in the administration. For example, there are 25 ministers in the National Council of Government, 4 of whom are women. There are also women in senior positions in universities, hospitals, and general administration. However, the situation of women in rural areas is very different. They live subjugated to men, being a very macho society. Even women give themselves to men in exchange for a dowry and it is not uncommon to see men married several times. In fact, it is a crime to marry underage girls nowadays, a common situation a few decades ago. The national authorities are making great efforts to reverse the situation and empower women in rural areas as well. On the road to achieving SDG 5 in Zambia, education is key. Many women in rural areas do not speak English, hence they have limited access to resources. SOGOLO will work to achieve real equality between boys and girls in schools, promoting the training of trainers and facilitating discussions and teaching materials for Zambian girls. In the meantime, we will continue to celebrate the fact that, at least for a day or a week, we will be talking about women.



There are many reasons to support an NGO. Some organizations support the values of an NGO because they consider them to be fair. Others contribute out of pity in the face of illness or catastrophes, on a one-off or ongoing basis. Others give their time or money because they feel grateful to the life for everything they have and so share it with others.

To be honest, I believe that the main reason for me to collaborate with the NGO “SOGOLO” is selfishness. Many of you will not understand it, but I think that giving my time and my small monthly financial contribution to SOGOLO makes me feel better. I am shifting the “I” towards the “WE”, as the phrase that gives title to this post says, one finds wellbeing in one’s life. In English when we replace”we” by “I”,the word “Illness” changesto “Wellness” which means well-being. This play on words is as real as life itself, or at least it seems so to me. When I stop thinking about my things, my work, my family, my problems, I look at us, at our things, our work, our world, our problems…  personal problems are less of a problem because they are relativised. We gain distance, we stop thinking about our navel and we think better.

Being empathic predisposes us to collaborate for the good of others, but if you are not, there are no excuses. Empathy can also be worked on, looking for a goal that gives meaning to our daily lives. This is how Victor Frankl puts it in his book “Man’s search for meaning”: “Man does not really need to live without tension, but to strive and struggle for a goal or a mission that is worthwhile for him”. This is in line with Nietzsche’s famous words: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”. And what is this worthwhile mission or goal? There are many. One might be to think of others, to empathise with those who need it most, to collaborate in building a better world… it will help us to live better. Beltran Russel confessed in his autobiography: “Love and knowledge, insofar as both were possible, transported me to heaven. But always solidarity brought me back to earth. The cries of pain echo in my heart. Starving children, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people, hateful burdens on their children, and a whole world of loneliness, poverty and pain make a mockery of what human existence should be. I ardently desire to alleviate evil”. In this way, helping others will make one happy. Hence my selfishness in collaborating with SOGOLO. Do you dare to be selfish yourself? It’s up toyou – help SOGOLO!


Education – United Nations Sustainable Development

Many of you will have heard the term SDGs in the media lately. It is not an easy term to understand: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS. In 2015, the United Nations (UN) adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The aim is to provide “an opportunity for countries and their societies to embark on a new path to improve the lives of all, leaving no one behind“. The UN Agenda has 17 SDGs, ranging from the elimination of poverty to combating climate change, education, women’s equality, improving education, protecting the environment and designing our cities.

A first impression, when looking for their meaning, is whether there is really a will, on the part of the institutions, to pursue sustainable and global development for all. Whether or not there is, we believe it is a mistake to sit back and wait for governments to deliver on the SDGs. It is everyone’s responsibility and obligation to do our bit. Together we all add up, together we are much better.

That is why we at SOGOLO want to contribute our vision:

The first idea is that it is possible, that achiving the SDGs is possible, and it is fair! Because we are born in an economically viable part of the world, we cannot stop being jointly responsible for the poverty and misery in which other people live. No one chooses to be born on a particular continent or in a particular country.

The second idea is that our reference SDG is in SOGOLO’s DNA, in its slogan: EDUCATION TO BUILD A FUTURE. This is SDG No. 4: QUALITY EDUCATION. And it is developed with the following sentence: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all“. And why education? Because according to the UN “education enables upward socio-economic mobility and it is key to escaping poverty”. Much progress has been made in recent years, expanding access to education and school enrolment rates at all levels, especially for girls. But much remains to be done…

According to UN data, in 2018, “around 260 million children were still out of school” and “more than half of all children and adolescents worldwide are not reaching minimum standards of proficiency in reading and mathematics“. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the education problem has multiplied exponentially, as the temporary closure of schools “affected more than 91% of students worldwide. In April 2020, nearly 1.6 billion children and youth were out of school. Similarly, some 369 million children who depend on school canteens had to seek other sources of daily nutrition. The plight of many children is highlighted, noting that “never before have so many children been out of school at the same time, disrupting their learning and drastically changing their lives, especially those of the most vulnerable and marginalised children. The global pandemic has serious consequences that could jeopardise hard-won gains in improving education globally“.

At SOGOLO we want to commit 100% of our energy, our enthusiasm and our resources so that the children of the Luangwa Valley in Zambia have a better SOGOLO, with education being the driving force of that future. Together we can all help to train trainers with materials in English, to donate old computers, to send notebooks and pens, to contribute money to the open projects …. Indeed, we have a new project in ihelp:


Can you help us to achieve SDG No. 4 in Zambia?