Backpack International provides supplies, education to Guyana
Updated: Apr 3, 2018
When Oslyn Rodriguez went back to Guyana, South America, for her grandfather's 85th birthday in 2015, she was struck by the differences in what the children in the small town of Ross didn't have compared to her children in Auburn, Alabama.
"I didn't see a playground, I didn't see a library, I didn't see a community center, I didn't see any positive outlet for these kids and I thought about my own children and we have so many things here in the Auburn-Opelika area," Rodriguez said. "Seeing that these kids didn't have anything, I felt compelled to do something... I saw myself in those children and I wanted to be able to give back as other have given back to me."
It was then when Rodriguez was inspire to create what is now Backpack International: a
non-profit organization that provides backpacks, school supplies and education to the children of Guyana.
Backpack International's first mission trip took place in the summer of 2016 and provided supplies and a Vacation Bible School to children in the village of Ross who, according to Rodriguez, would have little else to do over their summer break.
"They have school and they have church but in the summertime, you're not going to go to church seven days a week, so my idea was to give them something constructive to do during the summer, something positive," Rodriguez said. "It was really sad because the only other thing I saw in that community was a liquor store ... How could you just not feel compassion and want to do something to help the kids?"
For their 2017 summer trip to Guyana, which will take place from July 7-15, Backpack International had placed their donation goal at $25,000, which would go towards paying for school supplies, backpacks, sanitation supplies, food and more for around 250 children in Ross, as well as transportation costs for the supplies and volunteers. They have currently raised $17,000 towards their goal.
This article was written by staff writer, Alex Hosey of The Auburn Plainsman.
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