About The Founder of No Backpack Day
Mongai Fankam is a 8th grader at Carolina International School who also is an activist and avid supporter for under privileged children. At the tender age of 3 years old, Mongai’s mother began taking her on mission trips to Cameroon, Africa. As Mongai got older, she realized that most of the children in Cameroon had to walk a lot of miles to school and had no backpacks to carry their supplies in. Mongai decided to take action so she shared her concern with her teacher. Mongai wanted her schoolmates at Blythe Elementary School to donate backpacks and school supplies for the children of Cameroon on the condition that the kids come to school for a day without their backpacks! They would have to carry all their supplies and books in hand or in plastic bags just as the Cameroon children do every day. The principal at Blythe Elementary, staff and entire student body rallied their support for the cause and designated it as “No Backpack Day”! Since then, close to 40 schools in Charlotte have also joined in on “No Backpack Day” and more than 10000 backpacks with supplies have been given to the children of Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and locally in North Carolina. Mongai hopes that “No Backpack Day” will continue to spread to more schools so eventually no child will have to go to school carrying their books in plastic bags or in hand.
To further recognize her efforts with “No Backpack Day”, Mongai met with Senator Chris Coons of Delaware on May 8th, 2014 in Washington, DC. Senator Coons, who serves as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, discussed with Mongai her vision and goals for “No Backpack Day”.
On May 13th 2014, Mongai was recognized by the Mecklenburg County Board of Education. On May 14th, 2014, Mongai was recognized by President George H.W Bush Point of light Founder for her No BackPack day initiative.
Ms. Mongai Fankam, was honored on September 13, 2014, as "The 2014 Annie T. Doe Memorial Foundation Humanitarian Award Recipient", for her unwavering dedication, supportive leadership and devoted service to humanity. Mongai recently donated back bags filled with school supplies to underprivileged students in Liberia. 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Mrs. Leymah Gbowee came to Charlotte on March 20th, 2015 to support and endorse Mongai. Mongai was featured in the June Edition of the Lake Norman Women Magazine as an amazing girl. In September 2015, Mongai met with Dr. Joyce Banda, former President of the Republic of Malawi to talk about No Backpack day. On March 14th, 2016, Mongai received an award from 104.7FM as a kid who rocks. On January 27th 2017, Mongai was invited to the Woodrow Wilson Center for Global Citizenship in Washington DC by President Joyce Banda. Mongai and President Joyce Banda were part of a panel discussion to talk about the importance of advancing young girls to be global leaders. On March 8th 2017, Mongai and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts were Keynote speakers at the Charlotte International Women's day event.
On March 31st 2017, Her Excellency Ligia Fonseca, the First Lady of the Republic of Cape Verde will be coming to Charlotte NC to endorse and support Mongai's No Backpack day initiative.
Mongai continues to positively impact children who are in need. She is developing into a true global community leader. We have to give her a shout-out because she’s a stand-out!!
Interested in learning how your school can become involved?
New and GENTLY used backpacks and...
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