First Quantum Minerals (FQM), best known in Africa as the operator of Zambia’s Kansanshi and Sentinel mines, has created an inspiring and entirely unique storytelling platform to give the world a glimpse into how its people contribute to their local communities. It all started when FQM realised just how many of their staff were spending their spare time getting involved in community projects. From engineers, to fitters, to CEOs, it seemed that everyone had hands-on experience with a social initiative.

The platform they created is called 20,000 Stories.

Their approach was simple. FQM asked each of their 20,000 employees in 12 countries to film themselves talking about what it’s like to live, work and participate in their local community. They didn’t provide any instructions. The only guideline was that the stories must be true.

“We got so many stories that we decided to make them into a film,” it was explained in an FQM newsletter. “This film would be used to show the outside world how social responsibility is at the heart of everything we do.”

From engineers, to fitters, to CEOs, it seemed that everyone had hands-on experience with a social initiative.

Check out Elvis and Derrick’s stories below, two Zambians among thousands of socially conscious people who FQM is lucky enough to count among its global team. You’ll also find the story of a Turkish beekeeper who helped his local community establish their own honey brand, and the achievements of a young woman from Panama who made her father teary with pride when she became an engineer.

Meet Elvis Ngandu. He’s the treasurer of the Solwezi football team, Kanshanshi Dynamos. He’s also a pastor.

Neither of these is his day job; he’s an accountant at First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi mine. When he isn’t figuring out budgets for bringing on new players, or teaching Sunday School, he’s a husband and a father to four children.

“At first, I advised the [football] team from a distance,” explains Elvis. “But after a while colleagues, including the team’s president, insisted that I got more involved. I am now one of two team treasurers and it is a very responsible role. Sometimes it is tricky to do everything, but it is all so fulfilling. It only takes a small thing to happen for me to realise that it is all worth the effort.”

Derrick Ndandula, Paramedic at First Quantum.

This is Derrick Ndandula. He’s a paramedic at First Quantum.

In 2010, when he realized that the nearest government school from his home was as many as 20 kilometres away, Derrick decided to set up a private school for orphans and other vulnerable children. He called it the Divine Mercy Academy.

“At first, I planned to teach religion along with my wife. Then it turned out that the children in my neighbourhood needed to learn to read and write, so I started teaching them the alphabet and numbers. Before long, they could read and count, and the school grew from being in my sitting room to a rented building. Then it grew so much I had to build classrooms – now I have three schools in the town with 655 pupils. Three of our children are in my school and others will go to government boarding schools. When I look around, I’m very proud of how many people we have helped together.”

Once FQM had asked for people’s stories, videos began pouring in from around the world. Within two months, 700 people had sent their videos.

FQM’s goal of capturing 20,000 stories now seems truly attainable, and each of the video it receives is uploaded to the online 20,000 Stories platform.

Community and social responsibility mean different things to different people. We needn’t look any further than to FQM’s diverse team members around the world to understand that.

To explore more stories, visit FQM Zambia’s social media pages.

See also: Teaching leadership to headmasters