'No Backpack Day' a hit at one Charlotte school

'No Backpack Day' a hit at one Charlotte school

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by KATIE KILLEN / NBC Charlotte

WCNC.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 5:23 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Students across the Charlotte area left their backpacks at home Wednesday, all for a good cause. 

It's called No Backpack Day and the movement gives students perspective on the life of young people a world away.

"We're doing it to feel the way the kids do in Cameroon when they have to bring their supplies in their hands," said organizer Blythe Elementary School 4th grader Mongai Fankam. 

Fankam's mother, Abong, is a Cameroon native.  After several visits, Abong says her daughter started noticing the school children.

"One thing that she did pick out during her numerous trips to Cameroon is that the kids at Cameroon go to school without their backpack. They carry their books in their hands or plastic bags," Abong said.

That's when Abong and Mongai decided they should help. 

The approached administrators at Blythe Elementary School and decided to hold the No Backpack Day. 

The first one was held in February.  In addition to ditching their backpacks, students also donated backpacks and school supplies.  In July, the Fankams visited Cameroon once again and handed out the bags. 

"It's fun and they have happy faces when they get their school supplies," said Mongai. 

"The kids were very, very excited.  They were happy just getting something of their own for the first time.  You could see the smile in their faces," added Abong. 

This week, they're once again encouraging students to go without backpacks and they're getting a positive response. 

"Makes me feel happy that we actually did something about it," said fellow student Jonathon Nyandjo. 

Blythe Elementary is also collecting school supplies and backpacks through Tuesday, November 21.  They can be dropped during regular school hours.
 

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