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Hood student club develops combination backpack-jacket for homeless

Frederick News Post

May 10, 2016

Haroon Pasha said he learned during a hajj pilgrimage what it’s like to have only what he could carry.

For Pasha, a Hood College senior graduating this month, the journey in Saudi Arabia was an important part of his Muslim faith. He said there was a period when he and his parents left behind nearly all of their possessions. He recalled staying in a valley one night.

“In the valley, it’s just dust and rocks, and you’re just sleeping there, and you’re among all these people,” Pasha said. “And you’re just like, ‘OK, yesterday I had a bed. Yesterday, I had hot water. Yesterday, I had a nice car.’ And now it’s all gone, in, like, a matter of seconds.”

That experience helped inspire Pasha’s idea for a product designed for homeless people. Pasha and other members of Hood’s Enactus group have developed the “Backet” — a combination backpack and jacket.

In March, the Hood team was named a regional champion and a rookie of the year in a regional competition by Enactus — a social entrepreneurship organization — in Washington, D.C. The team will head on Sunday to the Enactus United States National Competition in St. Louis.