What’s in Your School Bag? 15 Photos from Around the World

At the start of a new term, children from Togo to Peru give us a peek into their school rucksacks!

Spending the weekend frantically getting ready for the new school term? Trying to locate that missing PE kit or lost library book? Dashing out to replace the outgrown school uniforms and restock pencils and pens?

For many of the children we work with, these school essentials are simply beyond their reach. A lack of pens, pads, books and uniforms can stand in the way of them accessing the education they deserve.

We celebrate that Compassion child sponsorship removes these barriers. Donations from their sponsor enables each child to receive the school equipment they need! Kids who were born into absolute poverty can get into the classroom:

1. Cyrene from the Philippines

Walking with school bag in Philippines

12-year-old Cyrene lives in the tiny town of Lazi in the Philippine island of Siquijor. She travels to school by tricycle, the most common form of transport in rural Philippines. An early riser, many of Cyrene’s classes start at 7:00 am.

School bag in the Philippines

Cyrene’s school bag was handed down from her sister and her mother has sewn it in many places to keep it together. Inside are school text books, a notepad and her pens and pencils. She also has a treasured heart-shaped pencil sharper. 

Egg packed lunch in the Philippines

She takes her lunch with her; today she has steamed rice with an egg cooked sunny-side up. 

2. Joseph from Kenya

Kenyan classroom

Joseph is 11-years-old and lives in north eastern Nairobi. Like many children in rural Kenya he walks to his primary school. Classes begin at 8:00 am and finish around 3:30 pm. In Joseph’s classroom three or four children gather around one desk to get their work done.

Kenyan school bag

Inside his school bag are exercise books, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener and a geometry set. 

3. Bertha from Nicaragua

School in Nicaragua

Bertha lives in Chinandega in the northwest of Nicaragua. In this region, the school day is broken into two sessions, 7:00 am to noon and 12:45 pm to 5:00 pm. Bertha attends the morning session. Her school is six streets away and she walks by herself.

Inside her bag is her Spanish textbook, notebooks, pencils, scissors, ruler and glue.

4. Reine from Togo

Sitting at a desk in Togo

Reine lives in Badja, a village 20 miles from Lome, the capital city of Togo. She loves to read and her bag is full of books and magazines. She also has chalk and a duster, a maths kit, pens and pencils. Reine uses the chalk to write out sums on a slate board during her maths class.

5. Matheus from Brazil 

School bag in Brazil

11-year-old Matheus has two dreams: he wants to be able to speak fluent English and his ambition is to become a vet. Matheus spends every morning at his Compassion project and then goes on to school between 1-6 pm. 

Matheus’s favourite subject is maths. “If I could, I would participate only in maths and arts classes”, he says. In Matheus’ school bag there are only two items: his maths book and his notebook. Today he forgot his pencil and pen!

6. Fredica from Ghana

What's in your school bag

12-year-old Fedrica wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She loves studying science and English.

what's in your school bag

“The English language will help me to understand what I study. It will also help me to read instructions on drugs when I become a doctor,” explains Fedrica. She is very proud of her backpack which is essential for her 2km shared taxi ride to school each day.

7. Emon from Bangladesh

What's in your school bag?

Emon walks to school with his mum in time for the start of lessons at 10am. His favourite subject is maths because he loves to count numbers.

Emon carefully follows his school timetable and always makes sure he has the books he needs for the day’s classes. He never forgets his most treasured item: his Spiderman pencil box.

8. Rosmery, Peru

what's in your school bag

Rosmery lives near the top of a populated hill in Tahuantinsuyo, Peru. Every morning she wakes up at 6.30 am to get ready for school. She has to walk down stairs and stones for 30 minutes to reach her classroom.

What's in your school bag

In Rosmery’s school bag are five notebooks – one for each class. She also has a pencil case with pens, pencils, a ruler and glue for her different school activities. Her bag is heavy but she loves it. 

9. Marion, Uganda

What's in your school bag

Marion attends a small school in her community in Uganda. Thanks to her sponsor she receives school supplies like pens and books and even her school bag itself. When Marion grows up, she wants to become a doctor.

What's in your school bag

In Marion’s bag there are books, pens, pencils, a ruler, maths set and a drink to keep her hydrated. 


Whether they walk or cycle, get up early or leave their pens at home, thanks to your generous support every Compassion-supported child has access to education giving them a brighter future.


Emily Laramy

Words by Emily Laramy


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