Pencils of Promise

This is one of those ideas that I wish I had thought of. Four years ago, Adam Braun was backpacking overseas when he asked a young child a simple question: If you could have anything, what would it be?

To Adam’s surprise the child said that he would want a pencil. From that day, Adam would give pencils as gifts to people he met along his journey across 50 countries and he soon realized that the pencil was not only a unique conversation starter, but it allowed him to learn about the communities he visited and he realized that many of them needed schools.

Lightbulb moment. Adam figured that by building schools, he could encourage entire communities to learn about health, nutrition, sanitation and the environment and in the process they would create environments where their children could thrive and be productive.

In 2008, Pencils of Promise was born with the goal of building 100+ schools in developing countries by the end of 2012. If you can, $25 educates one child for one year or if you’re feeling generous, $10K builds an entire classroom.

If you’re a teacher, please note that Pencils of Promise also teams up with American classrooms, so that U.S. students can become “pencil pals” with PoP students in other countries. It’s a great way for the students to learn about other cultures.

Photo: Nick Onken

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