How pencils are helping to change children’s lives

If you had a million spare pencils, what would you do with them? Evan Lewis, Founder of Hope, reveals why he set up ‘Share a Pencil Day’ for schools

âž¡ How can pencils help to change children’s lives?

The germ 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.

âž¡ 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.

âž¡ 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.

âž¡ Is Share a Pencil Day a fund-raiser 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 and the proceeds from these go towards Hope’s latest mission. 

âž¡ How do schools sign up?

It is really easy and takes just a few seconds by visiting our website. Once signed up you can access all the lesson support materials. 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. Find out more via Twitter, @hopepencils and #ShareAPencilDay.

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