February 5, 2018


Caravan to Class launches "Bourse Jackie" university scholarship program for female high school graduates in Timbuktu

Program will honor Jackie Hoffner, wife of founder of Caravan to Class

As Caravan to Class begins its ninth year of operations focused on literacy in one of Africa’s historically significant places, Timbuktu, the organization has launched The Young Women's University Scholarship Program, a new program to create real "change-makers" by providing 4-year scholarships for five high school graduates from Timbuktu to attend university in Bamako, the capital of Mali in West Africa. This program, named "Bourse Jackie" after the wife of Caravan to Class founder, who tragically passed away in Africa in November of 2017, was originally the idea of one of Caravan to Class’ longtime donors, Linda Lemmens of Grants Pass, Oregon. "Linda wrote to me a few years ago that she would like to make additional contributions to support women in Timbuktu who desired a university education but did not have the means. This planted the idea in my head and Caravan to Class is incredibly grateful that Linda provided the anchor funding to make this important idea a reality."

The "Bourse Jackie" is a competitive scholarship program administered by Caravan to Class to provide scholarships for female high school graduates of Timbuktu to attend the University of Bamako in Bamako, Mali, the capital of the country. In order to be granted a "Bourse Jackie" the female student must demonstrate academic excellence, financial need, female leadership potential, and other attributes of the namesake of the scholarship (Jackie) including kindness and compassion.

Caravan to Class’ long-term focus is both to provide for the opportunity to create generational change in education in Timbuktu. In the past nine years of work, the organization has built and supports 12 french-based schools in villages around Timbuktu for children ages 6-12 years, providing a path to literacy for more than 3,000 children. In addition, Caravan to Class launched a Female Adult Literacy program in 2016 to provide basic literacy skills for mothers so that they can both know the joy that comes along with being able to read and also so that they can be strong advocates for education for their children. As a result of the success of this program, Caravan to Class was one of only two organizations that was awarded the highly coveted Catherine Bertini Trust Fund grant for the organization’s work in female literacy. This grant was bestowed on Caravan to Class by the United Nation’s World Food Program USA on World Food day in October of 2017. Read the announcement of the grant HERE, or learn more about World Food Program USA at THIS LINK.

"Through ‘Bourse Jackie’ we are confident of creating real change-makers that could ignite a "tipping point" where continuing education beyond high school for girls in this fabled place becomes an accepted and even normal part of life for young women in historic Timbuktu. Our aim, long-term, is to track the success of these women in the hope that they will return to Timbuktu and be seen as role models in their communities…That they will inspire other young girls to continue with their education…says Barry Hoffner, founder of Caravan to Class." The organization will launch this program in 2018 and is currently in the process of writing grants to fund the balance of five 4-year university scholarships.

Donations toward the scholarship fund can be made on our Donations page at THIS LINK


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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