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Be Packs Help Zambian Students Go to School


Even the most minimalist college students need something to carry their books and notebooks. In my eight years as an adjunct instructor, I’ve had students walk in with nary a pen, nor paper, nor book. Granted it’s better to show up to class unprepared than to not show up at all, but a tote bag of some sort is recommended.

If you don’t want to make one of these DIY backpack designs, consider Be Packs, which donates a portion of the price to fund students’ education in Zambia.

Be Packs founder, Rory Rogan, created the bags in his dorm room as a student at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. An avid climber and surfer, he wanted a bag to carry all of his gear. He had previously learned of the African Education Program and decided that Be Packs could make a positive difference in the world.

Each Be Pack that you buy for your studies helps to fund a child in Zambia beyond the seventh grade. Public school is free until seventh grade in Zambia; beyond seventh grade, families must pay for education and many cannot afford the cost of tuition.

Ten dollars from every Be Pack sold goes toward sponsoring one year of secondary school education, which costs $175. Since launching this year, Be Packs has educated 14 Zambian secondary school students from 8th grade through college.

The packs are made in New York City, and each includes a “hope patch”: a hand-written note from a student in Zambia. So each Be Pack is one-of-a-kind with its own signed message.

“We are inspiring others to be the change they wish to see in the world by helping to provide incredible children with the education they need to become the future of tomorrow,” said Rogan on his website. “I hope you will join us in this adventure to create an everlasting positive change in a child’s life through the power of education.”

Be Packs come in a variety of colors and patterns and are constructed to be sturdy for outdoors, not just for carrying books.

Just don’t do as I did as a college student with the backpack from Nepal that was given to me by my Great Aunt (rest in peace), who was a mountain trekker.

The backpack was multi-colored and handmade of natural dyed yarns. I’ve never seen another like it with soft oranges and reds, muted blues and purples loomed together. It had a drawstring bag and closure that looped around a wooden toggle button.

I stuffed it with beer cans and lost it somewhere along the party trail. I hope whoever found it loves it as much as I did.

Written by Kelly Taber

Practicing gratitude, living simply, communications and journalism geek, susty is my style. Wife and mom to the two best kids in the universe. Clean, mountain air and mineral water are my favorite commodities.

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