The website of the non-profit organization or charity known as Pencils of Promise, welcomes you in with an engaging statement; “250 million kids can’t read this…Let’s change that”.
For an organization that started in 2008 and reports current progress as 350 schools built and 33,883 students served, it is well on its way to embodying the heart of that statement.
Pencils of Promise was founded in October 2008 by Adam Braun and its story is both inspiring and laudable. On the founders story, Adam Braun shares this tale;
It began with a question. A small boy begging in the streets of India. “What do you want most in the world?”
“A pencil,” he replied.
I reached into my backpack, handed him my pencil, and watched as a wave of possibility washed over him.
A smile erupted and his eyes brightened. I then saw the profound power and promise brought through something as small as a giving a pencil to just one child.
Over the next five years, I backpacked through more than 50 countries, handing out thousands of pens and pencils across six continents. These pencils, these small pieces of potential, led to powerful conversations with local parents and children across countless cultures and languages.
From years of listening to their words, it became clear that there was a need for an international nonprofit that was led on-the-ground by a staff of locals from within each country, required village participation in each school, and deeply supported, trained and tracked each student to ensure their success. These are the guidelines on which PoP was founded in October 2008.
Accordingly, he started Pencils of Promise with just $25 and today several education programs in Laos, Nicaragua, Guatemala and our very own Ghana are a testament to its impact.
The charity receives support from a good number of celebrities, inclusive of well-known entertainment manager Scooter Braun who famously manages Justin Bieber and is the elder brother of the founder. Justin Bieber is also a huge supporter of the charity, lending his voice as the international celebrity spokesman for the organization.
Pencils of Promise maintains its ultimate goal of provision of quality education by building strong educational structures and forming long-lasting and collaborative relationships with local communities which lead to sustainable education programs.
Need, sustainability, cost efficiency, commitment and impact are factors taking into consideration when the charity settles on sites. They also support ongoing teacher training, scholarships and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programming.
Like every vision that seeks to promote, wider access to education Pencils of Promise is an inspiring initiative which will hopefully continue receiving support from all corners of the world.