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How pencils are helping to change children's lives

Evan Lewis, Founder of Hope, asks: if you had a million spare pencils, what would you do with them? 

Posted by Hannah Vickers | April 01, 2017 | International

As owner of a stationery company making recycled pens and pencils, when I found I had a million pencils to spare, I decided to put them to good use.

The gem of an idea formed a couple of years ago when the pencil making machine from my stationery company was able to turn out more pencils than we needed for our business. Rather than wasting the excess capacity, I thought these pencils would be a way to raise awareness and funds for the millions of children across the globe who do not have access to a formal education. 

The idea led to me forming my giving enterprise, Hope and organising the first 'Share A Pencil Day' for UK schools, which takes place this May.

Why should pupils take part in Share A Pencil Day?

While in the UK we may argue over whether children need access to the latest iPad or software, in other countries pupils may lack the core fundamentals of learning, such as a classroom, a teacher or a pencil. Share A Pencil Day, which takes place on 17th May 2017, is a fun way for schools and children to understand what a struggle it can be to receive an education in other parts of the world. The plan is to raise awareness of the importance of education and its power to raise families out of poverty.

What do teachers need to do?

We have gathered together a series of lesson plans, short films and posters to make it easy for teachers to create an engaging lesson on the day. During this one lesson, teachers will ask their pupils to share one pencil between two for a single lesson to experience what life is like for children struggling to learn in areas of extreme poverty, natural disaster or conflict – many of whom must share books and pencils everyday. Signing up online to get access to the full resource pack is free and very quick. We just want to know how many schools and children we have reached on the day.

Is Share a Pencil Day a fundraiser or awareness day?

Share a Pencil Day is about raising awareness, having fun and engaging children in the UK about these issues. Nobody needs to bring a pound to school or come in home clothes. If schools choose to do so, they can buy the special Share a Pencil Day pencils so children have a memento of the day, something to take away and show friends and family, and the proceeds from these will go towards Hope’s latest mission. 

What is Hope’s latest mission?

Our latest mission is the Bright Futures campaign which supports education projects run by the charity, Plan International UK. Projects include transforming the lives of girls in Kamuli, Uganda, helping children in Pakistan get an education, and training female teachers in Sierra Leone. The mission target is to raise £10,000 through the sale of Hope stationery.

How do schools sign up?

As I mentioned it really is easy and takes just a few seconds by visiting www.shareapencilday.co.uk

Once signed up you can access all the lesson support materials. Taking place the week after the Year 6 SATs exams it is a great opportunity to explore topics outside the curriculum that support so many core values schools promote.

Share A Pencil Day is most suited to children in Primary and Secondary but anyone can take part.  If teachers and schools are looking for a fun, interactive way for their pupils to get involved in helping those 124 million children across the world that do not have full access to education then Share a Pencil Day can do just that. 

The first ever Share a Pencil Day takes place on 17th May 2017. Register now!

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