Victor Jakpor started Mission Africa in 2007 to increase the quality of life in the African village where he grew up.

The outreach program at Mountain View Lutheran Church is raising money for a school in Nigeria, said Jakpor, executive director for the organization.

His team will be selling backpacks donated by a group of Chandler High School students to buy text books for students at Ethiope Primary School in the village of Sapele.

“When I went back and visited a few years ago, I saw that it was one of the challenges they had (no text books),” Jakpor said. “If they don’t have books, they can’t learn and if they can’t learn, they have no hope.”

It has special meaning to Jakpor because he grew up in Sapele and moved to the United States 25 years ago.

The Chandler High School students, who are part of the International Baccalaureate program, donated 150 backpacks to Mission Africa.

They will be sold at Mountain View Lutheran Church starting on June 11 for $25.

The backpacks themselves, when purchased, will go toward a foster children center in Phoenix. Jakpor hopes to raise a total of $7,000 to reach his goal before he travels to Nigeria at the end of July.

“One of the long-term goals is for them to have a better quality of life,” Jakpor said. “All of them have hopes and goals they want to accomplish and that is really exciting to hear from them. You want to be able to nurture that hope and without quality education, that hope dies.”

The short-term goals involve building relationships with the administration, including the principal of Ethiope, and the people of Sapele.

“Having a relationship with indigenous people will make all the difference,” Jakpor said. “We want to see what we are doing is making an impact.”

To find out more, visit www.missionafrica.org or call (480) 893-2579.

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