Passing of Ms. Irma Turtle, Friend of Timbuktu!

May 5, 2016

Dear Friends:

Some of you will be aware by now, but I wanted to make sure to send you this sad note...

I learned earlier this week that Irma passed away a few weeks ago. She had been battling Parkinson's Disease for a few years now and finally decided to end her suffering. As a friend of hers wrote to me, Irma told her "I have happily and gratefully released myself from the confines of this physical body which has gotten too difficult to endure due to stage 4 Parkinson's and extreme, chronic sciatica."

Timbuktu has lost a dear friend! Irma worked tirelessly, for so many years, through, to create better living conditions for so many in Timbuktu (and elsewhere in Africa). Even in her final days, though I did not know it then, she called me to ask me to send her close friend in Timbuktu, Jiddou, some money and she then sent Caravan to Class a check to cover that. I could tell that she was not in the best health, though she was very interested in hearing about the recent developments with Caravan to Class. Even though she had not been to Timbuktu for well over seven years, she still carried an infectious enthusiasm for this place I have come to care for.

Dear Supporters of our Kakondji school construction project on Global Giving:

I wanted to provide an update on my February 2016 trip to Timbuktu about both the security situation in Timbuktu and Northern Mali, and most importantly our just-completed school in the village of Kakondji.

Once one of the world’s most literate places, and more recently an important travel destination for the intrepid traveler (it is hard to believe now that Bono was in Timbuktu only 4 years ago), today Timbuktu is a surreal place of ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites, pastoral scenes of camels and donkeys transporting agriculture, and more than 3,000 UN Peacekeepers. There are military checkpoints everywhere in a heavily militarized environment void of tourists and non-UN foreigners.

NEWSLETTER - April 10, 2015

Dear Friends & Supporters,

Thank you for your interest in Caravan to Class and the important social justice cause of Literacy for one of the world's most fascinating, yet underserved areas. Being the only NGO both building and supporting schools for the wonderful children of villages around Timbuktu, we see our work as vital to a deserving population. I am writing to tell you a little about my recent trip to the region to see both our now completed Teshaq school rehabilitation project (mostly thanks to support of friends of Ms. Irma Turtle) and our Samdiar school near completion.

Dear Friends,

First, I would like to wish you and your family a healthy, happy and inspirational 2015. When I started Caravan to Class, I did so simply out of the idea of building a school in a village I visited in Tedeini, near Timbuktu, after a very special 50th birthday trip to Timbuktu. At that time, I had no idea that trip would lead to a journey that has now lasted five years. During that time, with the support of important donors like you, Caravan to Class has built five schools, six blocks of latrines, drilled three wells and supported the education of over 1,000 children annually (paying teachers’ salaries, providing food and books/school supplies).

thumbnail image of the interview page on

TALKING WITH … Caravan to Class’ Barry Hoffner, an altruist from here to Timbuktu

This interview with Caravan To Class founder Barry Hoffner was conducted by Alix Wall for Barry discusses his journey to Mali in 2010, and how that experience built into a passion to become involved in supporting education for the children there.


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