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Dallas ISD Third Grader Motivated to Help Children in Africa

"I had a feeling in my heart," says 8-year-old behind backpack drive

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A third-grader in the Dallas ISD is on a mission to do something good for children thousands of miles away.

And he hopes North Texas joins his effort.

"Children in Africa don't have backpacks, and we do. And, I wanted to help them," Rhema Silas said about his plan to collect backpacks for children who live 9,000 miles away in Africa.

"I watched a video and I saw they were holding their books, pencils and stuff. And then, I had a feeling in my heart. So I wanted to help them," the 8-year-old said in a Zoom interview with NBC 5.

His goal is to get 200 backpacks by the end of November. Ten days into the initiative, Rhema is up to 60.

"We are really proud of him," said Kramer IB World School principal Kate Walker as she talked about the project. Walker says Rhema took the idea to his teacher, created posters and rallied a team of students to join him.

The school is even serving as a drop off point for anyone who wants to help.

"So, you can either go to the website which has already been established or you can drop them off at Kramer at the front," said Kim West, the coordinator of the International Baccalaureate program at Kramer. "Our office staff is ready to take as many backpacks as possible.

The goal is to collect 200 backpacks or more by November 30.

"Being nice is good. It feels good," Rhema said and smiled as he talked about his big idea and his motivation to help others.

If you want to get that good feeling that comes from being nice, drop off backpacks at Kramer Elementary School, 7131 Midbury Drive in Dallas or donate through the Backpacks for Africa website.

Rhema says his parents are behind his effort and even says his dad will "buy a lot of seats" on a flight to Africa to get all the backpacks to the kids.

"I talked to his mom and dad and they are working with a nonprofit and they've made arrangements of collecting all these and send them in December," West said.

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