SOWETO — U.S. rapper Big Sean founded the Sean Anderson Foundation with the vision of improving the lives of disadvantaged youth around the world by assisting with their education, health, safety and wellbeing. In 2015, Project Knapsack and the Sean Anderson Foundation partnered up to provide children in Soweto, South Africa with the educational resources they need to excel in the classroom. The partnership also gives U.S. students the opportunity to write to a pen pal in the developing world.
Project Knapsack and Sean Anderson Foundation began by connecting students at Bates Academy in Detroit with the students at the Molalatladi Primary School in Soweto. Students from each school receive backpacks filled with schools supplies, and throughout the year, the students correspond to each other via a dedicated pen pal relationship.
This past August, Project Knapsack honored both Myra Anderson and Big Sean from Sean Anderson Foundation at its tenth anniversary for their continuous humanitarian efforts. Big Sean received the Humanitarian Award and Myra Anderson was acknowledged with Project Knapsack’s Global Ambassador Award.
According to Project Knapsack’s website, its mission as a nonprofit is to promote cultural awareness and reduce current barriers that affect student learning in sub-Saharan Africa. The global pen pal and backpack exchange program is beneficial on both sides of the spectrum, as students on the U.S. side of the exchange learn about elementary and secondary education in Africa and the obstacles faced by students there.
In their letters, students are encouraged to talk about school, family, friends, pets, hobbies and what life is like in their local communities. This also allows students from both continents to build literacy skills in the areas of grammar, writing, geography and penmanship.
Undoubtedly, Project Knapsack and Sean Anderson Foundation align with one another in their common goal of making a difference in the lives of young people. As the figure behind Sean Anderson Foundation, Big Sean strives “to be an instrument of encouragement for us all to help ourselves and to support one another.” Caring, excellence, integrity, stewardship and teamwork are listed as the foundation’s core values, as it serves people with passion, honors commitments, remains financially strong to support the delivery of quality programs and builds meaningful relationships.
Furthermore, under foundation services, Sean Anderson Foundation works to provide funding for charitable programs dedicated to combating homelessness, providing healthcare assistance for the uninsured and underinsured, offering supplemental educational support and providing arts, cultural and recreational programs.
With schools in El Salvador, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia, Project Knapsack extends its charitable footprint and offers support in areas where it is needed most. The Project Knapsack and Sean Anderson Foundation collaboration is a clear example of this, making education possible through their organized efforts.
– Mikaela Frigillana