“I didn’t see a playground, I didn’t see a library, I didn’t see a community center, I didn’t see any positive outlet for these kids and I thought about my own children and we have so many things here in the Auburn-Opelika area,” Rodriguez said. “Seeing that these kids didn’t have anything, I felt compelled to do something… I saw myself in those children and I wanted to be able to give back as others have given back to me.”
It was then when Rodriguez was inspired to create what is now Backpack International: a non-profit organization that provides backpacks, school supplies and education to the children of Guyana.
Backpack International’s first missionary trip took place in the summer of 2016 and provided supplies and a Vacation Bible School to children in the village of Ross who, according to Rodriguez, would have little else to do over their summer break.
“They have school and they have
For their 2017 summer trip to Guyana, which will take place from July 7-15, Backpack International has placed their donation goal at $25,000, which would go towards paying for school supplies, backpacks, sanitation supplies, food and more for around 250 children in Ross, as well as transportation costs for the supplies and volunteers. They have currently raised $17,000 towards their goal.
“Right before a trip is when we need lots of support, and this trip will soon be coming to a close, but we tend to need volunteers to sort our supplies and fill the backpacks,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously we need financial donations, and we haven’t raised the total $25,000 just yet.”
Outside of donations, Rodriguez said Backpack International would also be greatly helped by those willing to help with organizing the supplies and administrative work that go with the yearly trips to Guyana.
Rodriguez hopes Backpack International will have the opportunity to expand in the future by having a storage space for supplies, helping children outside of Ross and by being able to provide other types of relief to the country like medical aid.
To learn more about Backpack International and Oslyn Rodriguez, visit backpackinternational.org.