A huge part of our Cisco culture is giving back. We’ve woven it into our benefits with Time2Give, various activities we partake in to raise money and awareness, like last week with the Covenant House Sleep Out, and even our events with many having a give-back aspect as I mentioned in my last blog.

Along with all of these things, Cisco employees across the world give back where they have a passion, and they are encouraged to serve in a way that is meaningful for them! One of my passions is for a non-profit that I serve as an ambassador to the board called Building Minds in South Sudan (BMISS).

Sebastian Maroundit’s and Mathon Noi’s dream of building a primary school for the children in their home village, Mayen Abun, South Sudan has been realized beyond their wildest dreams. Thanks to the generous donors and supporters of BMISS, there is now a primary school for boys and girls, a primary school for girls, and soon there will be a high school. Next week, Sebastian is heading to South Sudan for his annual visit where he will be starting several new projects including a garden for women to grow fruits and vegetables to sell in markets, as well as the opening of the new high school. To help the children in school, Sebastian recently received a donation of 10 used laptops that needed an operating system and Microsoft office. This sparked an idea in me.

SMP is a local Cisco Partner in Rochester, NY where Sebastian lives, and with our shared give back culture I immediately thought of them as someone who may be able to help. I reached out to SMP’s marketing leader, Jennifer Blauvelt, and within minutes, they agreed to help reset the laptops and install brand new operating systems.

“When Cisco approached SMP for help supporting a Rochester, NY-based charity, Building Minds in South Sudan, we didn’t hesitate,” comments Eric Rorapaugh, SMP CEO. “SMP’s People First philosophy means that all individuals matter; and as an organization, we are focused on helping people. We believe that empowered people and communities help to make for a better world. And by improving the educational opportunities for the children in war-torn regions, we are making strides towards empowerment.”

Together with our Cisco Partners, we have the opportunity to influence communities around the world. And thanks to BIMSS, between children in need and an education for their future, there’s a bridge. Thank you to SMP for partnering with us on this project.