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Share a Pencil Day highlights educational inequity

The new initiative gives UK pupils the opportunity to help 124 million children not in school

Posted by Charley Rogers | March 05, 2017 | School life

124 million children in the world are missing out on an education*, and many more have to share even the most basic tools for learning, like pencils. 

The first ever Share a Pencil Day takes place on 17th May 2017. Pupils will be asked to share a pencil for a single lesson, an afternoon, or the whole day, to experience what learning is really like for many children across the globe.

The event will give pupils in schools across the UK the opportunity to learn about the issues faced by many children around the world trying to access an education while living in zones affected by conflict, natural disasters, or extreme poverty, and who lack the basic tools and teachers they need to learn.

Evan Lewis the founder of Hope, the organisation behind Share a Pencil Day, said: “Education is the single most important thing a child can have to lift themselves and their families out of poverty and lead a better life. All over the world millions of children do not have access to education, or lack the basic tools they need for learning.

This initiative is a great way to raise awareness and funds for children who are less fortunate than our own.

“By experiencing the difficulty of learning without the basic classroom materials on just one day, our school children can start to understand the daily struggle faced by millions just to receive the education they deserve. Not only does this make children aware of the difficulties faced by others, but teachers also have to work around the constraints this creates.”

Schools and teachers will also have the option to download lesson plans, films and posters to support learning on the day. Proceeds from the special Share a Pencil Day pencils will go towards Hope’s Bright Futures mission in partnership with Plan International UK, supporting the charity’s education projects worldwide. Projects to be supported could include transforming the lives of girls in Kamuli, Uganda; helping children in Pakistan get an education, and the training of 275 female teachers in Sierra Leone.

Adam Heuman, Head of Major Partnerships, Plan International UK said: “Plan International UK is delighted to be partnering with Hope, an organisation with whom we are intrinsically aligned through their support for children’s fundamental right to education. By contributing to education projects where the need is greatest, together we will ensure children around the world are able to move themselves from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity.”

Evan added:  “While we argue over whether each student should have access to a tablet or whether last year’s textbooks need replacing, there are many children across the world who do not even have their own pencil, and others who do not have a teacher or classroom. This initiative is a great way to raise awareness and funds for children who are less fortunate than our own.”

Share A Pencil Day is most suited to children in years 5 to 10 but anyone can take part. Once teachers have registered their interest via www.hope.co.uk, they can access a host of resources to help them plan their Share a Pencil Day including lesson plans, short films and posters.

For more information visit www.hope.co.uk. Twitter: @hopepencils #ShareAPencilDay #PencilSelfie

* By the end of 2013 school year, over 124 million children and young adolescents were denied education. Based on estimates for 2013, some 59 million boys and girls are still missing out on their right to primary school education. Globally, two thirds of secondary school-aged children are enrolled in school; in the least developed countries, only one third are. Children from the poorest households are five times more likely to be out of school than those from the wealthiest. Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/education/bege_59826.html    

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