October 17, 2017

Dear friends,

Being very connected with the Sonoma County community for the past fifteen years, it has been hard to think of anything else but the devastating fires of this past week! Many in our community have literally lost everything. My wife and I am aim to do as much as we can to help those in need.

With our hearts very much with those in our community right now, it is tough to switch gears and talk about Caravan to Class. However, with today, October 17, being World Food Day, I do have some great news to report that will be of further help to the thousands of children and hundreds of mothers who benefit from Caravan to Class' programs in literacy in one of the world's most fascinating places; Timbuktu, Mali.

Caravan to Class was honored today as one of only two grantee recipients, of the World Food Program's Catherine Bertini Trust Fund Award for our work in teaching literacy to mothers in the villages where we work near Timbuktu, Mali. You can read more about this award HERE.

Back in 2012, a conversation with the Founder of the Womadix Fund sparked the idea of Caravan to Class doing more to educate women in the villages where we work so that they can not only learn basic literacy skills, but so that they can also be better advocates for education in their families. A few years later, with a seed grant from the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation we launched a Female Adult Literacy program with great enthusiasm. As a result of the success with this pilot program, last year, we were grateful to partner with Dining for Women to expand this program to 10 villages where Caravan to Class has built schools.

Image of an adult woman participating in the female adult education program at a Caravan To Class school in Mali Image of an adult woman participating in the female adult education program at a Caravan To Class school in Mali
Group image of women participating in Caravan To Class's female adult education program

You can see a short video of our Female Adult Literacy Program in action below.

Our Female Adult Literacy Program in Action

When Caravan to Class builds a school in a village around Timbuktu, we commit to supporting the school for a period of three years to give the school the best chance for success. We do not look at the schools that we have built as "our schools", but rather we are making an investment in the community and our return is the opportunity of an education we give to both children and mothers. Our package of support includes paying teachers salaries, providing both supplementary food (to that given to the schools with our partner, the World Food Program) school supplies, and school uniforms. Since 2015, with the help of the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation, the Womadix Fund, Dining for Women, and now the World Food Program, we can offer Female Adult literacy programs. With these programs, which I have been able to witness firsthand, mothers can feel the joy and empowerment of being able to read. We are grateful to these amazing and important partners for supporting our work and for being leading advocates for female empowerment globally!

Image of the Circle of Sisterhood logo Image of the Dining for Women logo
Image of the Womadix logo Image of the World Food Program logo

We are currently well on our way to building our 12th school in the village of Koiria (one of the villages where the World Food Program will fund our Female Adult Literacy Program). We plan to launch our yearend campaign to complete the balance of funding needed for this important school construction project. I personally visited the village of Koiria with my older son, Benjamin, this past February and can say that it is one of the more deserving villages in our network. With only a one-room classroom, filled way beyond capacity, and an outdoor temporary tent, with significant challenges the village of Koiria has been working hard at providing the opportunity for literacy for their children. We aim to help them! One thing I personally appreciate about this village is how a diverse mix of ethnicities can come together to try and create a brighter future for their children.

You can see below students in the current Koiria one-room class sitting five to a desk and also the new Koiria school mid-construction.

Image of children in an old crowded classroom in the village of Koira Mali Image of new school construction by Caravan To Class in the village of Koira in Mali

Our yearend campaign will be launched on Giving Tuesday, November 28th through Global Giving, the world's leading online giving platform (where Caravan to Class is a "Superstar - 5 Star" partner). Global Giving has set aside a significant amount of additional money to match donations on this day. We hope to earn a good share of these funds and can do so with your help starting on November 28th!

Thank you for taking the time to read this note and I will send you a reminder email in November in the hope that you will consider supporting our work.

Again, you can read more about our award from The World Food Program HERE.

Barry Hoffner, Caravan to Class Founder and Executive Director

Drone Footage of Kakondji village and Caravan to Class school

If you like this video, please considering following Caravan to Class on Instagram with THIS LINK. We are trying to increase our number of followers and spread our reach so please get your friends to follow us too.


Read the interview with CTC founder Barry Hoffner,  catch up with progress on literacy programs and Caravan-to-Class press releases.


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Video of our work

Caravan to Class video

Drone footage of the Kokonji school newly-built by Caravan to Class in Mali