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The Courage to Make a Difference

The Courage to Make a Difference

BnIpT7aCMAAu6ndGuest Post on Courage by Mongai Fankam (age 10)

I would like to talk about what the word courage means to me. When I hear the word courage, the first thing that comes to my mind is to “stand up” for what you believe even if it means you are the only one who believes in what you want to achieve. Without courage, people lose their visions and their dreams ends up dying. I think to be able to follow your dream one has to be courageous. You have to believe in yourself. Let the world see that you believe in what you want to do and then you follow your dreams. As children, sometimes we fear doing the right thing, because we do not want to be singled out or talked about.

I am in the IB program in school. Our teachers taught us that courage is like “being a risk taker”. We may not know what will happen once we make that decision to do something, but we should not be afraid to take a risk, because it is in taking that risk that you learn what is right or wrong. When you take a risk, you learn many things along the way that help you.

There are many times in my life that I had to be courageous to make a decision. One of those times was when I had to launch a project called “No Backpack Day”. I challenged children to go to school for a day without their backpacks to raise awareness about the number of kids around the globe who go to school every day without a backpack. At first I was nervous that a lot of the kids would not support me, but I knew that in order for other people to know about it and help, I had to take a risk and launch this project.

Since this project started, close to 30 schools have participated in this project and more than 5000 backpacks filled with school supplies have been donated and distributed to kids who do not have a backpack.

My advice that I would give other children is that, they too should always stand for what they believe. They should follow their dreams and do not let fear stop them.

Mongai Fankam is a 5th grader at Blythe Elementary School who also is an activist and avid supporter for under privileged children. At the tender age of 3 years old, Mongai’s mother began taking her on mission trips to Cameroon, Africa. Mongai decided to share this concern with her teacher, Mrs. Cross and wanted her schoolmates at Blythe to donate backpacks and school supplies for the children of Cameroon on the condition that the kids come to school for a day without their backpacks! They would have to carry all their supplies and books in hand or in plastic bags just as the Cameroon children do every day. Mrs. Johanson, the principal, staff and entire student body agreed to support the cause and designated it as “No Backpack Day”! Since then, close to 30 schools in Charlotte, Wilmington and Augusta, Georgia have also joined in on “No Backpack Day” and more than 5000 backpacks have been given to the children of Cameroon. To further recognize her efforts with “No Backpack Day”, Mongai met and shared her vision for “No Backpack Day” with Senator Chris Coons of Delaware on May 8th in Washington, DC, who serves as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. On May 13th, Mongai was recognized by the Mecklenburg County Board of Education. Mongai was the 2014 Class Valedictorian at her graduation. On September 18th, Mongai will receive a Humanitarian award from the Annie T Doe Foundation for the support she gives to kids in Liberia. For more information, visit Mongai at  http://www.nobackpackday.org. Age 10. Cameroon, United States 

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1 Comment

  1. Mongai,

    So beautiful! Your story just goes to show how anyone can make an impact in this world. Whether you are 10-years-old or 100-years-old, you have something to offer. Keep chasing those dreams of yours! I can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.

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