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My Ghana Pencils of Promise school build

Organized by: Jerome Candiff

Jerome's Photo


My wife, Ayesha, and I are very passionate about humanitarian work. My wife has spent time teaching kids in the Capricorn Township in South Africa and was an AmeriCorps volunteer for a year. We both regularly volunteer at the Atlanta Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Hands on Atlanta, and Books for Africa. I don't believe any child deserves to go to bed hungry or have their ability to live a prosperous life stunted due to their place of birth or family's economic situation. It takes a multi-phased approach to resolve poverty long term. I would like to do my part by ensuring that fewer kids are held back in life due to their lack of education and have more opportunities for employment. For my 40th birthday, I am setting a goal to raise 25K to build a school in an underdeveloped country within the next year.

In my travels, I have noticed that some of the most beautiful places in the world are also some of the most poverty stricken. I have toured one of the largest townships in South Africa and witnessed the results of thousands of former District 6 residents being displaced due to apartheid, still living in tin and cardboard houses. You only have to drive a mile or 2 off the cost of Mexico to see that the real Mexico is not about Spring Break and Margaritas, but about survival.

As stated in Kristof and WeDunn's A Path Appears, in America, if you are born into the bottom 20% economically, you have only a 12% chance of making it to the top 20% in your lifetime. In nearly all underdeveloped countries, where America's definition of poverty would be considered "the good life", the chances of someone in the bottom 20% making it to the top 20% in their lifetime is 1/10th of 1%.

I am setting a goal to build 1 new school in an underdeveloped country because I believe the best way to tackle poverty is through education. Studies show that the success rate of breaking the poverty cycle is significantly greater when it's targeted to the younger generation (see the Abecedarian Project, The Urban Institute's Child Poverty and Its Lasting Consequence, the World Bank Education Strategy 2020, and more). When you instill a quest for knowledge and an awareness of a greater life, it's amazing how that strengthens a child's determination. I am starting a Pencils of Promise fundraising campaign with a goal to raise 25K over the next year to build a school. I am asking for a donation of $40 (or anything you can afford) to my campaign, to commemorate my 40th birthday with this amazing campaign . Additionally, you can set up a recurring donation for any amount you deem appropriate. 100% of the funds collected go toward the project. In addition to allowing generations of kids to get an education, the local governments have committed to paying teacher salaries and local labor is used to build the school. That means local jobs are also being created in these poverty stricken areas. Pencils of Promise is also providing training to teachers, providing school supplies, and funding the kids educations through scholarships.

Participating in this campaign means that you will get to see exactly where your school is being built. You will receive GPS coordinates, pictures of the groundbreaking and on going development, and a sense of pride knowing that you had something to do with building a school, where hundreds of kids are going to be educated long after you and I are gone.



1% Raised of $25,000 Goal

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Organized by

Jerome Candiff

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3 years ago

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