Our Story

Hello, we’re Nesrin and Houda Bourbia, founders of Backpack2school. We’re business partners, passionate social entrepreneurs and twin sisters.

Our vision is to equip teachers with the experience and skills to inspire students in the same way that we were: it’s made all the difference in our lives. With our parents, we migrated in the aftermath of the civil war in Algeria and arrived in Switzerland at the impressionable age of just 8 years old.

Nesrin and Houda Bourbia

For us it was a palpable shock; a new school in a new culture, and we didn’t speak a word of German. It was initially very difficult, but one teacher in particular empathized with our struggle and isolation and wanted to ensure we reached our potential. She started with the basics – showing us how to write our names in German (before, we had only written in Arabic) – and we rapidly became fluent. More importantly, she saw our potential and understood the first hurdles we needed to overcome, so that we could thrive. This first-hand experience of an inclusive classroom, and of a teacher who was prepared to and skilled at embracing diversity made a lasting impression on us.

Fast forward to 2018 – we decided it was time to give back. Combining our professional experience with our passion for business – we founded Backpack2school to solve pressing challenges in the education field faster and more effectively.

We believe that by giving teachers international teaching experience, they will develop the skills and empathy to foster a thriving, inclusive classroom for every student. Now more than ever, as the world shifts to increasingly multicultural classrooms, there is a need to equip teachers with intercultural experience.

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Backpack2school supports sustainable development goals: