Our parents didn't finish school. Their communities and peers were focused on one thing: SURVIVAL. The daily struggles of their communities included finding ways to put food on the table, maintain their homes and, ultimately, stay alive. Obtaining an education and taking time to read and discover was simply a luxury that they didn't have.
For our generation school was never something that we HAD to do. We weren't pressured into getting into prestigious colleges or being the smartest, we didn't even know what the SATs were. School was, and continues to be, something the we GET to do. School was a gift and an incredible opportunity we were given to a better life. However, growing up in the U.S. we quickly forgot how much of a luxury getting an education can be. In the summer of 2014 we were reminded of how privileged we are based alone on our ability to obtain a public education.
While visiting what once was 'home,' we were overwhelmed by the unfortunate cycle of poverty and illiteracy that many communities faced. Many parents in these communities are forced to choose between feeding their family or paying for their children's education. Unable to afford school supplies and classroom fees many children are moved out of school and into the streets to join the work force to support themselves and their families. These children will eventually grow up to be unable to find stable careers and sources of income because of their lack of education, thus continuing the cycle of poverty.
We knew something had to change. We knew we had to do SOMETHING. With a goal to open doors, create opportunity, and kindle change The Backpack Strategy was born in order to supply kids across the world with greater access to education and success.