The idea for Be The Hope came about in September of 2011. Immediately after reading Blake Mycoskie’s book Start Something That Matters, I knew that I had to start my own “something”. I loved the one for one model of TOMS, truly admired Scott Harrison and charity:water, and applauded the work of the FEED Foundation. I decided I would use them as my inspiration and model.
But what cause did I want to tackle? There are so many needs in the world today: health, AIDS, water, malaria prevention, orphans, poverty, malnutrition, starvation, education. Education… I am in no way, shape or form an expert on anything, really, but I have done a lot of reading on issues affecting the world today. I am the person that reads UN reports on the state of the children of the world for fun. (Not really for fun, but I don’t HAVE to read them!) I know that a child with an education has a better chance in life than an uneducated child; it’s a no-brainer. According to UNICEF, education contributes to greater civic participation and helps to combat youth violence, sexual harassment and human trafficking. It also results in a range of health benefits including lower infant mortality, reduced domestic violence and improved child nutrition. For many children in developing countries, a school lunch is the only meal they will receive all day. Education can also foster social empowerment, enabling an entire generation to become economically independent and positive contributors to society. So, education it is!
How do I tackle the need for education? Through my research I found out that in many developing countries school age children do not attend school because their families just do not have the money. They are struggling every day to put food on the table. Many of these countries still charge fees to attend school, plus the cost of uniforms (which many schools require), plus the cost of school supplies…How can I help? After some brainstorming sessions with my daughter, we knew what we could do. We would start a non profit that would provide a school age child with a backpack full of school supplies to last a child one school year. We have other long term goals, but we’ll focus on the backpacks first.
Now, where do we start?