Project #9080

Educate 70 children in the village of Mora, Mali

by Caravan to Class
Mora School in construction
Mora School in construction

Dear Friends of Caravan to Class

Thank you so much again for making our 2011 Global Giving Winter Challenge such a successful campaign which completed the funding for our Mora School Project.

I wanted to report to you on some of the statistics of the Caravan to Class Global Giving campaign itself, the progress on our Mora school project, and the challenging situation in the North of Mali where Caravan to Class operates.

Global Giving Statistics

Caravan to Class finished our Global Giving Mora school project campaign with the following highlights:

  • First in funds’ raised with $29,206 out of 276 small charities
  • Fourth in number of donors with 171

In addition, we are happy to report that we were successful in increasing our outreach beyond friends and family donors, one of the main objectives of our Global Giving campaign:

  • 61% of all donors were new and unaffiliated donors
  • 19% of donors contributed using gift certificates
  • 14% of all donors were anonymous donors
  • roughly one-third of our donors are from outside the United States, including donors from Russia, Australia, Turkey, Mali, Spain, Sweden, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Singapore, and Hong Kong
  • 52% of donors gave $10 - $25, 7% $26 - $50, 11% $51 - $100, 18% $101 - $250, 12% more than $250

 Caravan to Class is very excited about our new partnership with Global Giving and we see them as a cornerstone of our social media outreach strategy. We will continue to list projects (#9810, #9808) on Global Giving, under Caravan to Class, as well as use them for our annual fundraising campaign in November-December.

The Mora School Project

As of the beginning of February, the school is almost completed on the outside and the inside should be finished in the coming month. The students are already learning inside the classroom while construction is being done on the outside. Our school has been certified by the Timbuktu Ministry of Education. In addition, the head of the village reports that roughly 45 children are attending school. Our target, by the end of the school year, is for the school to be at capacity, or 70 children.

Situation in Northern Mali

While there have been problems in the far desert areas of Mali in the past, violence had not touched Timbuktu in recent years. Unfortunately, in late November 2011, there were two kidnappings of foreigners within 24 hours, one on the main street in Timbuktu, with one German tourist shot and killed. The Malian military mobilized to attack bands of former Malian, mostly Tuareg, fighters with the Gadhafi regime who have fled Libya in recent months. As usually happens in these conflicts, the most vulnerable of the population suffer and this is unfortunately the case with many of the Tuareg near Timbuktu.

The Caravan to Class schools are still open, although some fearful families have temporarily moved to Mauritania. We hope that a resolution is found in the very near future that will restore calm and peace in the region. In the meantime, Caravan to Class is more determined than ever to move ahead with our schools. In this difficult time, our schools remain one of the very few sources of hope in the villages where we operate.

 At Caravan to Class, we want to express our gratitude to you for supporting us and the children we serve in the Sahara Desert Region of Mali.



Barry Hoffner

Executive Director, Caravan to Class



Dear Friends of Caravan to Class:

There is only one week left in the GlobalGiving (the leading online giving charitable site) Challenge. Because of your support and generosity, Caravan to Class has raised more than $27,000 from over one hundred donors and we are currently in the leading position of more than 250 small charitable organizations. If we maintain this position, we will earn an additional $3,000 in bonus grants from GlobalGiving. We could not have achieved this without your help.

The building of our Mora school project is well underway. I am hoping to have photos to send you in the very near future. With the funding we received during the GlobalGiving campaign, in addition to our first foundation grant from the Lefkofksy Family Foundation, we will be able to begin the construction of our third school in the village of Amachacha.

My family and I are currently in Mali. Our partner travel organization, Mali Yaara Adventure Tours helped set up a trip of a lifetime for me, my wife, and two sons. Unfortunately, due to the kidnappings that have occurred outside of Timbuktu, we were unable to visit the villages, where Caravan to Class does its work, due to security issues in the Sahara Desert region of Mali. However, I did manage to spend some time in Mali’s capital, Bamako, with our Timbuktu-based partner NGO Mr. Hamadou Toure. While nothing has changed with the Caravan to Class education program, tourism has all but dried up in the fabled city of Timbuktu and the surrounding desert areas. Hamadou told me that the village heads of Mora and Tedeini have said one of the few areas of hope are the schools of Caravan to Class. Fortunately, the Malian government, together with the French military has begun deployment of troops into the Sahara Desert.

Mali is a desperately poor country, in the bottom five on the United Nation’s Human Development Index. The country is currently experiencing almost a complete absence of tourism, a big driver of foreign currency and jobs, and had one of the worst rainfalls in many years, leading to a very bad harvest. The hotels we are staying at, which were full two years ago, are completely empty. Despite Mali’s problems,, the people, known for their hospitality and friendliness, could not be kinder. They are without a doubt, some of the warmest, most spiritual people one can ever meet. We spent four amazing days in the cliff-dwelling villages of the Dogon. It is a feeling of going back in time hundreds, if not a thousand years. The smiling faces and calls of “Cas va?” from all the children literally warm your heart. These are challenging times for Mali, but we have a lot to learn from these people.

There are many other treasures, aside from the Sahara Desert areas, to see in Mali. If you have the interest, time, and means, you should consider a trip to this wonderful country. For those of you who have been, you know it can be a life-changing experience. If you have interest, please contact either Ms. Haike Spiller or her Timbuktu-born husband Male to inquire about travel to Mali or other countries in West Africa.

For those of you who have not yet done so, please consider joining our Caravan to Class Facebook page where you can follow our Mora school project.

Thank you again.


Barry Hoffner

Dear Friends,
We are saddened and shocked by the recent events here in Mali. In case you have not heard, five Europeans were kidnapped last month (a first), and one tragically lost his life when he resisted. One incident was in Hombori, a desert town in northeastern Mali, and the other in Timbuktu.
Mali is a poor country, with most young people either unemployed or underemployed. There is still a shockingly high rate of illiteracy even after decades of foreign and local projects and initiatives. In addition, too many people die young of completely avoidable causes: diarrhea, malaria, meningitis, and other diseases. This situation is even more prevalent in the North of Mali, where the encroaching desert threatens traditional livelihood, and decades of political and fiscal negligence exacerbate the situation. 
Living here in Mali I am confronted daily with these facts. I am often asked by visitors how I can reconcile this harsh reality with my conscience. And, equally often, I am asked what I believe will bring about change ... 
I feel strongly that the short answers to these complicated questions are: creating jobs and supporting education. Educated and employed people live longer, better lives, simple as that. And even in light of these recent tragic events I feel confirmed: gainfully employed, educated people usually do not abduct harmless tourists!
We try and create as many jobs as possible by bringing tourists to Mali with our travel business Mali Yaara ( In Timbuktu about 60% of the economy is based on tourism, and it is estimated that one wage earner supports about twenty (20!) family members. So even just one visitor to Timbuktu, who sleeps & eats there, rides a camel and buys a postcard helps feed a (big!) family. In 2006 there were 45,000 visitors, and each subsequent year the numbers declined. This year Timbuktu may not even get 2,000, further declining already substandard living conditions in the north of Mali.
We want to help children access education, and we had been looking for a small but impactful grass roots organization to partner with and to support. We discovered Caravan to Class ( ) earlier this year.  In 2009 Barry Hoffner was visiting Timbuktu and visited a nearby village whose school building was so neglected and underfunded that it was basically dysfunctional. Barry, himself a father of two young boys, believes that education is the key to durable change, and –once back in the US- he quietly raised 60,000 USD among his family and friends to build a new school building in that village, and fund teachers, support staff, school lunches and school supplies for one year. 
Caravan to Class needs to keep this school going, and wants to build additional schools in the region. Barry was able to post his project on the website Global Giving (  for a fund raiser challenge. He has to raise 4,000 USD (and find 50 new donors) before the month is up.  
We wholeheartedly support Caravan to Class, and we have already made a donation on the Global Giving website. We make a donation each time a Caravan to Class supporter travels with us and we support Barry with some logistics. And now we are asking you to support Barry’s program. Donate as much as you can, or as little as 10 USD, and help him build a school in another desert village! Just go here and click on ‘DONATE’ to help fight illiteracy and a host of related inhumane conditions, including terror and terrorism:
Thank you!
In peace,
Haike and Malé

Dear Caravan to Class Friends,

We are due to leave for our trip to Mali in one week’s time and will not be back until early 2012. Therefore, I wanted to take this time to thank you very much for your support for Caravan to Class during 2011, either through general donations, Mira’s project, contributions during our Global Giving campaign or general support.

It has been about 10 days since we launched our Global Giving “Challenge” campaign to complete the balance of funding for our second school in the village of Mora, outside of Timbuktu. Due to your amazing support, out of 275 small charitable organizations competing in the Global Giving campaign, Caravan to Class is currently in first place in funds raised and in the lead position to earn an additional $3,000 bonus grant from Global Giving.

Part of our strategy with the Global Giving campaign is 1) to be able to list our projects on a major charitable giving site, 2) to broaden our outreach beyond friends and family donors. We are happy to say that so far, the strategy is working. Specifically, a bit more than 50% of our donors during the campaign are new to Caravan to Class and 28% of all donors are outside of our friends and family community, ie. unaffiliated donors.

With the amount we have raised so far during the Global Giving campaign and some additional commitments for later in December, we will likely have enough funds to begin planning our third school in the village of Amachachar roughly 20 miles from Timbuktu. Finally, for those of you who use Facebook and have a few moments, I wanted to ask if you would consider the following:

1) “Like” Caravan to Class!/pages/Caravan-to-Class/113403862032104

2) hit the “F share” button at the bottom of the page on the following link: Caravan to Class can earn additional grant funding from increasing our Facebook shares.

Again, thank you for all you have done for Caravan to Class. You should feel good knowing that Caravan to Class’ successes mean more education, increased literacy rates and greater tolerance in a forgotten part of the world.

Barry Hoffner

Please see the attached letter (written in French) from the head of the Mora village. Mr Ahmed addresses the recent events that took place in Mali and thanks Caravan to Class for its efforts to bring education to the children of Mali. He requests that we continue with these efforts, which in light of recent happenings, are even more crucial for the underprivileged communities in this region.


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Organization Information

Caravan to Class

Location: Sausalito, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Barry Hoffner
Sausalito, California United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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