HUNTERSVILLE – Mongai Fankam, a fifth-grader at Blythe Elementary, has been going on mission trips to Cameroon since she was 3 years old.

As Mongai got older, she realized that most of the children in the African nation had to walk miles to school with no backpacks to carry their supplies. 

She shared her concern with teacher Susan Cross. 

Mongai wanted schoolmates at Blythe to donate backpacks and school supplies for the Cameroon children on the condition that students come to school for a day without their backpacks. They would have to carry their supplies in hand or in plastic bags like the Cameroon children. 

Since 2012, close to 30 schools in Charlotte, Wilmington and Augusta, Ga., have observed No Backpack Day, donating more than 5,000 backpacks with supplies to Cameroon children. 

Mongai will discuss her vision for No Backpack Day on May 8 in Washington, D.C., with Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, who chairs the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.

She’ll also lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the May 13 school board meeting.

Mongai will distribute this year’s donations when she returns to Cameroon in July.