April 14, 2011 was the “brightest day in the history of Bwetyaaba Primary School” says BUVAD chairman Stephen Ssemutumba. At a special ceremony, children of the school received new backpacks, school supplies and uniforms. Teachers, parents, school administrators and other members of the community were all on hand to share in this special occasion. In total, 300 girls and boys received backpacks and school supplies. Additionally, 104 children who were not currently in school because they lacked the required school uniform have returned to class with new uniforms.
Since that first delivery in 2011, GBP has partnered with BUVAD (Butakoola Village Association for Development) to support the education of the nearly 700 students at the Bwetyaaba Primary School. With nearly 90% of the children being orphaned or vulnerable youth, these students do not have the means to purchase basic school supplies or the required school uniforms.
On a recent trip to Turkey, Samir Naser of Indigo Traders delivered backpacks and school supplies to children in Denizli, a town with a rich history of textile-making. Denizli and the surrounding area suffered an earthquake only a week before Samir’s visit. Much of the town was damaged by the quake. The backpacks and school supplies were a pleasant surprise to the children.
“These children demonstrate the resiliency of young minds. They witnessed the destruction of their town not a week ago, but found joy in the simple act of receiving our backpacks. It was a great day in Denizli.”
Samir Naser, Co-founder
Global Backpack Project
For the second year in a row, GBP has partnered with Portland-based Using Sport for Social Change (USFSC) to support the education and well-being of students in the US Virgin Islands. The students at the Julius E. Sprauve School received new backpacks for school. The delivery was made by Dean Doeling, founder of USFSC, as part of the National Day of Play at the school last fall.
“When we started handing out the backpacks, they were so excited,” said Doeling. “It was really just a great thing to see.”
Global Backpack Project strives to connect on a very personal level with the recipients of backpacks and school supplies. We fill our luggage with backpacks whenever we travel for our business and ask our friends to do the same. We have served hundreds of children without spending a dime on shipping costs. And as a result, we are able to deliver packs to children ourselves.
One day in the spring of 2009, Samira Naser, GBP representative in Jordan, was walking in downtown Amman and noticed a young girl with a tattered backpack standing in line at a leather repair shop. Samira stopped to ask the girl what she was doing. The young girl said she was asking how much it would cost to repair the holes in her backpack. Samira asked the young girl to meet her at the same place the next day. Reluctantly, the girl returned to the repair shop to find Samira waiting with a sturdy new pink backpack for her and a blue one for her younger brother. We never got her name, but we will never forget this young girl. She is the reason GBP exists.
In the fall of 2009, Global Backpack Project partnered with the Psychology Department at Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) to deliver backpacks and school supplies to a school for children with special needs. Psychology instructor at EMU, Ariel Ladum, spearheaded the partnership.
“The Psychology Department at Eastern Mediterranean University has built a relationship with the school for children with special needs over the last four years. Together we have organized activities such as picnics, university campus visits, and fundraising events. Every spring the Developmental Psychology course visits the school and takes them some small token of friendship.
Thanks to the Global Backpack Project this year we were able to visit the school once again and distribute individual gifts to every student. The older students were particularly taken with their unique backpacks, which they showed to each other, their teachers, and proudly carried home to their parents. The Global Backpack Project let the students know that they have friends not only in Cyprus, but in the United States as well. Now, these students are dreaming of meeting the people who generously offered these gifts.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Biran Mertan
Eastern Mediterranean University
Psychological Counseling Guidance and Research Center (Director of PDRAM)
Psychology Department (Chairperson)