Advocate. Leader. Literacy Focused.
An advocate of literacy for all, Cindy O. Charles has focused much of her time creating opportunities that inspire children and women in literacy.
Cindy is the Founder and CEO of Kupanda Sisters, Inc. A mission driven, and grassroots, community-based organization that empowers women and children through personal development and literacy in underserved communities in Guyana. Kupanda Sisters carries the slogan “Together We Rise” and started programming in early 2019 and has been providing opportunities for more than 20 children to build their literacy levels to meet academic standards. The organization also focuses on empowering women in Guyana through wellness, entrepreneurial workshops and awareness campaigns.
A native of Guyana, South America, Cindy grew up in small village on the East Bank of Essequibo called Parika. The last of two children, Cindy always had dreams of an obstacle free world where everyone was afforded the same opportunities.
During her childhood, she faced several emotional, psychological and physical challenges as she was forced to navigate the perplexities of growing up in a broken home. Her struggles at home added to her academic issues, and with limited resources available she felt like just another statistic. Another voiceless child with no future.
In her early 20s, because of a family member, Cindy was given the opportunity to relocate to the United States of America. She packed her bags and travelled to New York, holding on to her dream of changing her story and creating her true destiny. She saw this journey as a restart to a new life, and though she knew that there would be obstacles, she was determined to conquer all hurdles.
Cindy’s life experiences have given birth to an unquenchable passion to serve her community. She spends her free time volunteering in community groups such as Gallop NYC, U.S Fund for UNICEF & Children of Promise NYC.In 2018, she was selected as a Mentor Coach with the America Needs you Organization that fights for economic mobility for ambitious, first-generation college students.
Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hunter College-The City University of New York and is a member of Advanced Expressions Toastmasters in Tribeca. She currently works as an Executive Administrator for JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Literacy No Longer a Dream, A Destiny
“For Guyana native Cindy O. Charles, literacy was a dream that turned into a destiny. Her story is not just hers, but also that of people like her around the world who overcome emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse to find their purpose and realize their potential. Cindy founded Kupanda Sisters to help
underserved communities with the hunger, but not the resources, for an education.”
Growing up in a destructive household in Guyana, South America, I was more focused on our broken home than on my literacy and academics. Emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse were constant obstacles in the way of a normal childhood.
After failing my CXC exams twice at age 15, I wrote a letter to my father saying, “I need a change, a whole change … a change of environment. I’ll try my best to make you and my family proud.” At that moment, I made a promise to my father – but more importantly to myself – to overcome my circumstances
and discover my potential. I told myself, “One day you will soar.”
In my early 20s I relocated to New York. Thanks to hard work, diligence, tutors and a dear friend who believed in me and pushed me toward secondary education, I made the Dean’s List at my community college and never looked back.
I had found myself and my purpose. Reading changed my life. I set out to be the voice of hope for children who grew up in environments like mine and to provide them with the resources and encouragement they need to thrive. My goal is to improve the literacy rate in underserved communities around the world, beginning with my roots in Guyana.
I founded Kupanda Sisters in 2019, with the mission of improving childhood literacy and adult literacy through educational enrichment programming and economic support in underserved populations. We are currently holding a pilot program at Sophia Primary School in Georgetown Guyana, with plans to
expand into the Parika school system in 2020,and later in the U.S.,Africa &Europe