The HopeFirst Backpack Project: Kadyamadare School All Projects

In October of 2006, HopeFirst Foundation initiated its pilot project, "The HopeFirst Backpack Project." One of the biggest challenges for AIDS orphans is attending school. There are school fees to be paid, school uniforms are required, and these children need to find a way to help support themselves and other children in the family; attending school does not bring in money and it does not buy food. School becomes an unaffordable luxury. The BackPack Project would provide some supplies to these children, and some cash donations that HopeFirst received would be used to help pay school fees for a few of them.

backpackHopeFirst partnered with two schools in the United States, South Whidbey Intermediate School on Whidbey Island in Washington State, and Edwin Rhodes Elementary School in Chino, California), to deliver school supplies to students in a rural school in Zimbabwe. These two schools collected a small mountain of supplies to stuff into backpacks purchasedby HopeFirst. Along with the school supplies, students sent letters, photos, and drawings. We also received wonderful letters and a contribution from students in the After School Assistance Program at Mount Vernon High School in Washington to deliver to the students. We also took some supplies specifically for the teachers. Cash donations enabled HopeFirst to help contribute toward required school fees and nutritional supplement for some of the children.

One summer day in December 2006, HopeFirst Foundation ambassadors Diana and Kim visited rural Kadyamadare School, about an hour from Harare (Zimbabwe's largest city). We had selected this school for our flagship project, the HopeFirst Backpack Project. Kathy C from Harare International School (HIS), has been working with Kadyamadare for more than a decade. The U.S. School was not in session while we were in Zimbabwe, but we did have the chance to tour the grounds, and meet the headmistress, Sekayi.


The teachers in Zimbabwe were overjoyed to receive school supplies for their students.

We received letters back from the students in Zimbabwe to give to the children here. As a global exchange between children, this project accomplished our objectives of interchange. Diana has talked with teachers on Whidbey Island about developing a school curriculum on children learning the importance of becoming global citizens. Working with our youth is critical in creating global solutions.

We also heard from many teachers that they wanted to help the teachers in Zimbabwe. Given the situation in Zimbabwe, our ability to act widely has been somewhat constrained, however, we have been able to continue our work in an ongoing exchange.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed and participated in this project!



Backpack Supply List List of items collected for the Backpack Project.


Our Partner Schools: Edwin Rhodes Elementary School

Mrs. Krupnick's fourth grade class is composed of Gifted and Talented students from all corners of the Chino Valley Unified School District, which covers the cities of Chino, Chino Hills and parts of Ontario, California. Our school, Edwin Rhodes Elementary School, is only 4 years old and is located in an area of Chino that used to be filled with dairy farms. The dairies have been largely moved to another section of California, and are gradually being replaced by new homes.

A majority of our students are first-generation Americans, with cultural backgrounds that span the earth. Our international feasts reflect the diversity that makes California and the United States so rich.

Chino is about 35 miles east of Los Angeles, which means that within an hour's drive we can be at the ocean, in the mountains, or in the desert (or in Disneyland!). We have a Mediterranean climate that gives us hot, dry summers and mild, sometimes rainy winters. We get a lot of sunshine and love to spend our time outdoors. Students are involved in many different sports, especially soccer.

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