Melissa F wrote -
Where do I begin?
I suppose I should start by saying that my NEW goal here is to raise $500 for an organization called Pencils of Promise from now until May 30. $500 will help give 20 children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, or Laos a year of schooling and 100% of it will go to a school and its programs, not to something else the organization has to pay for. That's PoP's promise.
What is Pencils of Promise or PoP for short?
Well, on the very basic level, it is a non-profit that builds schools in developing countries like Laos, Nicaragua, and Guatemala because 75 million children in the world do not have access to even a pre-school education. To date, since starting in 2008, they have completed 50 schools. They have big goals for 2012 as they hope to get that number to 100 by the end of this year. They also want to build an additional 100 classrooms this year! The other part of their mission is to provide leadership training to youth here in America to help them become the leaders of today/tomorrow.
What truly amazes me about this organization other than what they've been able to accomplish in about 3 short years is the way they go about doing their amazing work.
Before they even consider building a school in a particular community they look at not only how much a school is needed in the area, but how much the community itself will work to keep the school going and making an impact in their community for the children which is why each community is so heavily involved with the process. PoP is working to create sustainable education and impact.
They emphasize that the schools being built are not hand-outs and that PoP and the community are PARTNERS. To drive across this point, at the beginning of the process, a Promise Committee is created for each village PoP starts helping build a school in. This committee is made up of locals: 4 men and 4 women who sign a contract stating that they will make sure their school is supported and maintained through each step of the process: from clearing the land of where a school is to be built to helping supply the labor and materials needed (PoP requires that the community provides 10-20% of the build costs usually through local materials and labor. This again is to ensure that the community knows it is not a handout and so they can have a sense of pride and ownership once the school is finished.) and also making sure attendance stays up and that the teachers are supported.
As I stated before, local materials are used to build the schools as well as local labor which helps with the local economy as well. They use the local materials so that the buildings are of high-quality, are affordable, and are what is appropriate for the community and its culture.
To keep everything based in the community, PoP also hires locals to develop and carry out their programs in the areas being helped.
The last important thing to mention with the approach is that PoP doesn't just build a school and let the rest take care of itself once the school is finished. They continue to track the progress and impact of each school and provide assistance when needed to improve the programs in each particular community and locals also help PoP keep up with these things after the schools are built. To learn even more about what PoP is doing, feel free to visit their impressive website: pencilsofpromise.org.
All the way around, PoP is partnering with developing communities to provide education and a lasting impact and to me that is something worth supporting.
If you agree, then here's how you can help me, help PoP.
Step 1: If you don't feel like you know enough about them even after my long (as usual) description again check out their website where you can even see information about each of the 50 schools they have completed and the children and communities that are benefiting from those schools.
You can even follow them on Twitter (@PencilsofPromis no there isn't supposed to be an E at the end. My guess is it was too long of a Twitter handle.) or "Like" them on Facebook.
Step 2: Use Crowdrise, Facebook, Twitter, any other website, or your voice (the good old-fashioned way) to spread the word about Pencils of Promise and its mission.
Step 3: Donate or Join the Team to help.
Here's the impact by the numbers (A.K.A. what your money will do.):
$25 educates one child
$250 educates 10 children
$2,500 sponsors a full classroom
$10,000 builds a full classroom
$25,000 builds and sponsors a full school
Again, our goal is $500 by May 30! I changed it from the original goal of $5,000 that I set in January because to me this $500 seems much more realistic at this point. Feel free to prove me wrong and help us pass that! In any case, I need your help in any way you can. Spread the word, join the team, donate. I believe access to an education and an opportunity to learn is both a special gift and a right that not everyone has (specifically 75 million children don't), so this is why we should join the PoP movement and change that!
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your support of this to help at least in a small way with educating children in the developing world.
Lastly, remember, how far we get with this depends on how many of us are helping and how dedicated we are, so please join me and begin!