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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Caravan to Class

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: We imagine a world where no matter where a child lives, the fundamental right of education is assured. Caravan to Class aims to inspire our supporters to work with us to reverse the injustice of illiteracy in some of Africa’s most far away places. In doing so, we want to connect our supporters with the villages in which we operate, and act to bridge the great divide between our two very different worlds, each with its own strengths and challenges.

Results: Since 2010 Caravan to Class has built 8 schools in villages around Timbuktu, Mali, one of the world's most underserved and illiterate areas. We also pay teachers' salaries and provide books, school supplies, and basic nutrition. In partnering with the UN World Food Program and the Timbuktu Ministry of Education, we ensure the prioritization of learning in the schools that we support. Since 2010, Caravan to Class has accomplished the following: 1. Built 8 schools 2. Pay 25 teachers' salaries per year 3. Educate over 1,000 students per year 4. Provide over 150,000 meals per year

Target demographics: Children from low-income families in Mali

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,000 students ages 6 - 12 years to achieve the dream of literacy

Geographic areas served: Timbuktu, Mali

Programs: Our programs provide teaching, books, school uniforms, food, and infrastructure such as classrooms, libraries, canteens and latrines

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

A powerfully impactful organization that is truly making a difference in one of the most illiterate regions of the world. It costs little to change the lives of many and Caravan to Class is a model example of how to do it effectively and efficiently in a country where over half its' children (and even a higher percentage for girls) do not go to school. Caravan to Class couldn't have a chosen a more critical time to do this work.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We have been a donor to Caravan to Class for more than 5 years. During that time, Caravan to Class has earned a reputation for responsibly and methodically building a proven repeatable process for providing an educational infrastructure for building and overseeing schools that provide an education to hundreds of children in remote villages in Mali.
Our donors look for financially responsible organizations like Caravan to Class to be guardians of our funds and to provide a proven IMPACT that is quantifiable and measurable. Caravan to Class meets this criteria as well as surpasses our expectations.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Caravan to Class since its early days, and I have been consistently impressed with the thought, care, and focused attention with which the organization implements literacy programs in one of the most remote and underserved regions in Mali. It has been heartening to see the progress year over year in terms of # of schools built or refurbished and # of children reached, despite such significant local challenges as political upheaval and violence. Having spent time in Mali myself, it holds a special place in my heart, and I am honored to support the important work that Caravan to Class is doing by providing access to education to help improve the quality of life for generations to come.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Holmes family has been a donor to the Caravan to Class since 2005. We have been so very favorably impressed with the progress that has been made in building schools, and providing ongoing logistical, administrative, and monetary support for the schools, the teachers and the children. It is heartwarming to receive the reports and videos showing an increasing number of joyful Mali children in class and receiving an education, thanks to Caravan to Class. Mr. Barry Hoffner Founder of Caravan to Class and Executive Director, and his volunteer Staff, and on-site partners, are to be complimented on their superb management of this noteworthy program. They are truly "making a difference" in the world and it is our privilege and pleasure to contribute.

Lyell and Diane Holmes

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Many will offhandedly indicate that the long term solution to our worlds problems is education. Caravan to class is actually doing something to back up those words, and in a big way. Their work is incredible for the people directly effected, and will ripple out through generations to come, given the chance!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a Nonprofit you want to cheer for it's continued success .Going into an African country and building schools and bringing education to the population can only improve the lives of the community and future generations.It would have been easy for Caravan to Class to abandon all this during the recent turmoil but, they did not. As soon as things calmed down they were right back picking up where they left off...how admirable.

Donor

Rating: 5

I wish there were more charities like Caravan to Class - helping impoverished Mali children, giving them the education that all children deserve. Particularly given the heritage and history of Timbuktu! Barry Hoffner has ably led Caravan to Class with his business acumen and passion for educating those most in need. Giving the gift of literacy to mothers will help generations of children succeed and bring hope to many families in Timbuktu. Thank you Caravan to Class!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known Barry Hoffner and his amazing non-profit for more than 5 years. During that time his organization Caravan to Class has proven to be dedicated to its mission of building and overseeing schools, providing an education to hundreds of children in remote villages in Mali. My foundation FACES recently joined his to build a school in Samdiar Village . That project is completed and the children can now have an opportunity to go to school. I am proud to know him and his total commitment to helping others.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have watched Caravan to Class grow from an idea in 2010 to almost half a dozen full functioning schools in the Timbuktu region today, and it is still growing. Barry Hoffner started this non-profit with a passion for ensuring that children in the region have the opportunity to attend school and receive an education. He has made sure that the schools are available to both boys and girls by building wells on site and providing separate gender latrines, as well as lunches and uniforms for all students.
I also know that at least 99% of the money donated to Caravan to Class goes directly to the educational needs of the students. Having worked with other non-profits, I can honestly say that Caravan to Class has a true heart and that Barry Hoffner gives it his all. He truly loves the area of Timbuktu and it's people. Once a thriving hub of education in the ancient world, it is ironic that illiteracy is so rampant in Timbuktu. Barry is working to change that.
In addition to providing an education for children, Caravan to Class is launching an adult literacy program for women. The beauty of this organization and it's founder is that they are constantly working to meet the needs of people in the region. I can't say enough good things about Caravan to Class and Barry Hoffner. It is a wonderful non-profit with a beautiful mission. I hope it continues to make a difference in this important historical and cultural region.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I spent time in Mali back in 2006 and fell in love with the country and its people. It's a spectacular place, and I'm anxious to go back. It's also a country plagued by poverty, unrest and lack of educational opportunity. I've tried to stay connected to the people I met and follow the issues affecting the country over the years, and I was thrilled when I learned about Caravan to Class - finally, a non-profit doing great work to help the people of Mali! The region where Caravan to Class works is filled with historic buildings and manuscripts and was an ancient center of education, so it is only fitting to ensure that education is available to today's children of this region. Barry engaged with local communities to address their needs and to provide educational opportunities that are appropriate for the local children and supported by the local community members and leaders. I'm so excited to be involved with Caravan to Class and to see the long-term change their work will have on the families of the Timbuktu region as well as the longer-term impact on a larger scale.

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Donor

Rating: 5

Caravan to class is a charity I truly believe in. We have supported from the very beginning and are very pleased with how much it's grown. We love receiving the newsletters and information of each milestone and hope to visit Timbuktu with our own children one day. You can trust Caravan to Class 100%! Keep up the good work!

hadj

Advisor

Rating: 5

My name is El Hadj Djitteye, am international consultant, blogger, cultural heritage researcher based in Timbuktu, Mali-west Africa. my experience with caravan to class start this year am working with them as adviser in education ans social media adviser. i recently visited the school they build in the nomad village of Samdiar I was very touch by the great work they have done in this nomad village and I have wrote an article in my blog about their work in timbuktu : http://timbuktu-lopac.tumblr.com/post/122508704521/schools-are-being-born-in-nomad-villages-in-the.
the initiative of caravan to class is a great opportunity for nomad villages of Timbuktu because they ensure kids acess to better schools, better education and provide them even food assistance. I salute he hard work and courage of Barry hoffner co founder and leaedr of caravan to class and all the parterners and buyers around the world.

Donor

Rating: 5

Caravan to Class is an excellent organization which tackles poverty with one of the root causes that empowers these communities to be more self sufficient in the future . With all that has happened to Mali recently, it is great to see such an efficient and reliable organization have a presence.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Timbutku the "Place of Nowhere" is fortunate to have Caravan to Class to care about these people. This is a wonderful, heartfelt and NEEDED NGO in the land that has ailenated tourists and even locals Malian people because of the islamic take-over. Barry the CEO of Caravan to Class, is determined to help these beautiful Tuareg people and their families with classrooms and an education. This area has been an untouchable area for most NGO's, but Caravan to Class still goes there and is making a difference helping these people educate their youth,and to make their future thrive. These people have such a rich past, This was one of the most important places in the world for Islamic studies, and education.Their culture is one of the richest cultures in Africa. Timbuktu needs to be helped and Caravan to Class is making a difference. Not many NGO's have the guts to get in there like Caravan to Class.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with the organization for 5 years and helped get a grant from an SF foundation to build a new school. It is a great organization does a lot of really important work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My personal experience with Caravan to Class has been extremely affirming and inspiring. As one of the very few organizations focusing on the issue of illiteracy in the Southern Sahara Desert region, their work is invaluable to the future of these countries. Caravan to Class aims to ensure that the children from some of the poorest villages, that have never been previously exposed to formal schooling, receive the opportunity to obtain an education and become global citizens striving for an educated, equitable, and tolerant nation. As a volunteer for Caravan to Class, witnessing first-hand the kind of impact that Caravan to Class’ work is having not only on these children, but also on their families and communities, is truly amazing. It has been even more motivating to see young children in the US and other countries become involved in Caravan to Class’ cause, driven by the passion to provide their counterparts in the developing world with the same kind of opportunities that they have. This is a momentous year for Caravan to Class, as more and more supporters join our cause to end illiteracy among a population that has long been neglected by the rest of the world. Thanks to our supporters, several new and exciting opportunities have emerged for Caravan to Class. The organization is now taking the next step in achieving its mission and shifting focus from simply getting more children in school to the long-term sustainability of its schools by measuring and documenting the actual impact of these programs. At such an exciting time for Caravan to Class, I am extremely honored to join forces with such a driven and passionate individual like Barry Hoffner in his cause and greatly anticipate what’s to come for this organization and its stakeholders.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After traveling to Mali in 2010 to experience this country's incredible music, breathtaking landscapes and welcoming people - as well as taking in the poverty that most Americans may more quickly associate with West Africa - I met and stayed in touch with residents who kept me apprised of local life there. In late 2011 I was sad to hear of a few instances of violence that rattled the perceived safety for tourists, including in the historical town of Timbuktu - violence that was a rarity, a first (although the reactive major media is all too quick to paint danger rather than Mali's strong communities and history of relative peace and stability, if they take notice of Mali at all). Knowing how much this country depends on income from tourism (in Timbuktu about 60% of the economy is derived from tourism), I wanted to help somehow. My friend Haike Spiller, resident in the capital Bamako, wrote wisely on reinforcing the importance of education and employment, in creating a stable, healthy, peaceful society. To this end, she had become involved with Caravan to Class, founded by the highly intelligent and driven Barry Hoffner who likewise traveled to Festival au Desert from California the same year as me. Upon researching Caravan to Class, I promptly made a donation, and also reached out to Barry to share a bit of my experience and express my appreciation for the important work he was doing, and his impressive accomplishments within a short time (including schools built to serve 2 Tuareg villages and rapidly increasing outreach). Later I had the opportunity to meet Barry and discuss common interests (as a writer for several industries and an English major, literacy was a fundamental concern for me as well, and now I had a new love for Mali, the Sahara, West Africa). I joined Caravan to Class as a communications associate and have devoted time to researching grants that serve education and Africa, editing reports and correspondence, and exploring new opportunities for outreach. Barry has gathered a strong and varied team of advisors, with a growing team of core staff. Also, being based in the Bay Area of California, he has ready access to a large number of groundbreaking nonprofit organizations with whom to partner or receive guidance, as well as contacts around the world. He has strong instincts and insight in his outreach, and passion to forge and guide Caravan to Class as an all-volunteer organization with truly expert local partners in Mali. While Caravan to Class in barely 2 full years of existence has made immense strides in enrolling children in school, we now seek to invest in measuring the results of our efforts, to achieve our goal of literacy for the children we serve as intelligently and effectively as possible. I look forward to further defining successful - and flexible- strategies in enabling literacy in this very special and underserved area of the world, along with further defining processes and effective outreach techniques in these early years of Caravan to Class operations. I also look forward to winning some grants for Caravan to Class to advance our efforts in bringing resources for the option-expanding, fundamental ability of literacy to Mali and beyond.