Pencils of Promise: Drafting the Way to A Brighter Future

Everyone deserves a quality education. Unfortunately, not many have access to it. 

In many countries, the high costs prevent children from accessing quality learning. Moreover, some institutions don’t have the proper equipment and staff to offer quality education to those in need. Students, teachers, and communities face challenges in breaking the barriers toward quality education for everyone.

Research shows that over 70 million kids lack basic literacy skills expected at their age. This is due to poor school attendance and low enrollment rates because of unsanitary, unsafe, and poorly designed classrooms. 

But Pencils of Promise believes that it’s every child’s right to access quality education. And we at Mack Media Group share the same belief. So, we dedicate this month’s spotlight article to this awe-inspiring organization-PoP.

Pencils of Promise

Pencils of Promise nonprofit organization

Image source from Pencils of Promise

Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the principle that every child deserves a quality education. PoP collaborates with communities in Laos, Ghana, and Guatemala to build schools and provide teaching tools, training, and educational programs. 

PoP also works to enhance infrastructure, local water quality, and sanitation to help pupils grow and develop while ensuring that they can safely participate in school programs.

Pencils of Promise plays a vital role as a “for-purpose nonprofit” to transform the landscape of education by constructing schools with comprehensive education programming centered on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), and Teacher Support (TS).

What are Pencils of Promise Philosophy?

Pencils of Promise (Pop) is a learning organization focused on providing quality education outcomes. Their philosophy is deeply rooted in their belief in the life-altering impact education can have on children, communities, and entire countries.

They genuinely believe that an empowered generation will empower the world. But, as we all know, the physical structure is simply the first step. So, this fantastic organization made it its mission to provide the best quality education possible in and out of the classroom. 

After all, what’s happening inside the class is as essential as ensuring students have a place to learn. 

Over the past decade, PoP has expanded into an intercontinental organization that’s not simply improving infrastructure but also changing what a learning experience can be for kids worldwide. 

With their structured approach to ensuring quality education, every child will have a chance to learn, develop a career, and live their lives globally! We at Mack Media were amazed by the programs PoP offers, as each reshapes the education landscape in our ever-evolving world.

But what’s truly remarkable about this organization is that they continually adapt as they grow. They make the necessary changes in their goals and strategies, ensuring nothing remains static. 

PoP constantly evaluates its methodologies, helping students achieve the best possible results. And when they don’t see progress, they constantly make changes to their programming to help each child reach success. 

Unlike other learning organizations that stick to one program or goal, PoP is willing to change its plans to establish the long-term effectiveness of its schools. I genuinely believe that this is an organization made for the people by the people. 

With the passion for helping kids enjoy the fundamental right to education and have the drive to make this philosophy into a global reality, the world will truly become a better place with more organizations like Pencils of Promise. 

Charity Is the Mother of All Volunteering

Charity is a spirit that allows us to lose ourselves in the service of others. It makes us pour our kindness, love, and compassion into helping those in need. This also transforms us into a minister of goodness and hope.

The story of the founding of Pencils of Promise is a story of a genuine expression of charity.

The Pencils of Promise Founding

Adam Braun met a struggling child in India during his backpacking days, which led to a life-defining encounter. He asked the child a straightforward question, “What do you want most in the world?” And the child replied, “A Pencil.” The child’s simple answer touched Adam, completely changing the course of his future. 

At this point, Adam realized the potential of the opportunity to kindle hope through such a simple act in the life of such a tiny soul. 

Much transpired after that, but it’s now part of the tale of Pencils of Promise (PoP), which was born due to this experience.

When Adam returned, he decided to launch PoP at 24 and with only $25 in his pocket. He didn’t have a full-time staff or a significant benefactor. Still, Adams operated with like-minded people who volunteered in kind and substance. 

In 2009, he had to make a tough decision: he decided to leave his full-time job to pursue PoP and turn it into a movement that would change people’s views about education.

PoP is currently a well-known organization that provides educational opportunities to children worldwide, giving them hope and a sense of purpose. Thousands of pupils have been educated as a result of PoP. Pencils of Promise now has 589 schools established in Ghana, Guatemala, and Laos, with around 110380 current pupils and 2151 teachers supported.

PoP: Everyone Has a Promise And Purpose

As a company that started small but aimed high and strived to succeed, PoP’s motto and beliefs are in Mack Media Group’s heart. Pencils of Promise believes that where you begin in life should not determine where you end up.

Their motto states: “everyone has a promise,’ and we work to unlock this every day.” We can all relate to this statement, as everyone has goals, and we work hard to achieve them.

As for PoP, they strive toward their vision of a society where everyone has access to high-quality education.

This is a testimony to what can unfold when one individual decides to venture into the unknown and make a difference in the lives of others. 

Wouldn’t our world be a haven for everyone if we all accomplished the same thing with our varying talent levels and gifts?

Let me share the beautiful and meaningful phrases that Adam Braun wrote in his book “Pencils of Promise.” These lines might seem like a philosophical riddle but are incredibly awakening once realized.

“Purpose is found when you stop thinking about how you exist in the world and start trying to figure out why you are here. Once you solve that question, everything else will fall into place.”

Most of us worry and overthink about our purpose in this world, but one key to solving this question can be found in one of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

This is what Adam did and what everyone should too.

If you have a soft spot in your heart for charity, this is a call to join the ranks of those who volunteer. Join the movement in whatever method works best for you, whether in person or in kind. By volunteering, you can find meaning in becoming a part of someone else’s journey.

The PoP’s Promise

The POP’s promise of quality education

Everyone Has a Promise; this is PoP’s motto that sums up their identity and their goals. But, first, it’s a must to remember that every child has a promise of quality education wherever they are born.

100% For-Purpose

PoP is guided by its ground-breaking “for purpose” methodology. They systematically assess the ROI of every donor money they spend, combining the head of a for-profit corporation with the heart of a humanitarian nonprofit. Joy and enthusiasm are lovely, but the bottom line is that outcomes are what matter most.

100% Direct Giving

Donors are rarely informed about where their money is spent, so PoP set out to rectify that. Its operations costs are covered by private donations, events, and companies. Every money donated online goes straight into their projects to build more schools and provide innovative learning methods for quality education for children.

100% Operational Integrity

PoP does not simply build a school and then move on; instead, they monitor and assess every project they do. As a result, Pencils of Promise has a proactive approach to ensure that every school they open educates children.

PoP’s promise to the Community

To expand global access to quality education, Pencils of Promise give back to the people in the following ways.

Building Schools

PoP collaborates with the communities they serve to build schools from the ground up. And while you may believe that many organizations already do this, PoP is not one of them! On the contrary, I love their ongoing support since they provide further aid even after the schools are established, assuring the long-term viability of each educational institution.

Building new functioning classroom blocks might take anywhere from 3 to 8 months, depending on the country. 

Furthermore, the PoP allows local governments and community members to own and administer these schools, allowing people to support themselves. Each offers primary school kids a high-quality public education.

But before building new schools, PoP works closely with the communities to determine their specific needs. Help communities secure a 20% contribution to the project, including labor or materials. And collaborate with local Ministries of Education to find communities with the highest need for improved education and infrastructure. 

Teacher Support

POP teacher support program

Image source from Pencils of Promise

At PoP, building schools doesn’t stop at four walls. This fantastic organization also offers all the essential resources to educators through its Teach Support program, ensuring access to the following: 

  • Learn and receive age-appropriate innovative ways and interactive materials. 
  • One-on-one teaching sessions to help them in between lessons. 
  • Educational facility resources, such as projectors and modern e-readers, improve students’ learning process.
  • Workshops, creating professional networking amongst teachers. 

But what impressed me with PoP is that they often change these inclusions with the times. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, this organization equipped educators globally with phone coaching sessions and workshop videos to proceed with their learning! As a result, students got to continue learning at home. 

Moreover, PoP worked with the community to spread the word about its programs to students and parents at home. I continually get surprised by this organization’s commitment to developing new techniques to help students, teachers, and parents benefit from its programs. PoP thrives in providing quality education worldwide and continues to expand its global influence despite going through hard times. 

With PoP, there’s no such thing as a break for quality education.

PoP’s WASH Program 

POP wash program

Image source from Pencils of Promise

The “WASH” program is a one-of-a-kind initiative offered by PoP. It aims to combat the worldwide epidemic of water and sanitation-related diseases in schools. Every year, this results in the loss of almost 443 million school days. Furthermore, Water.org specialists estimate that more than half a million children die due to poor sanitation and drinking contaminated water.

Being an adaptive, innovative, and, most importantly, passionate organization, PoP has implemented the globally recognized “WASH” program to promote better hygiene and sanitation practices. And with the WASH program, PoP has impacted communities in a lot of ways, such as: 

  • Providing water filters for access to clean water. 
  • Establishing necessary infrastructures, including private bathrooms and equipment like toilets. 
  • Youth in Ghana and Guatemala are being taught to create reusable sanitary pads. 
  • Educating kids and their communities about healthy and sanitary behaviors like handwashing.

The result of all these is? Reduced risk of disease and increased rate of school enrollment and attendance.

The Global Impact of Pencils of Promise 

Today, PoP has positively impacted the lives of more than 209,000 students globally. Through the organization’s determination and programs like the WASH and Teacher Support programs, it has helped many communities in the following ways: 

  • Installing 849 water filters in local communities worldwide
  • Building 703 handwashing stations
  • Holding 13,810 coaching sessions 
  • Conducting 570 school building projects
  • Training 2,538 teachers and educators

PoP is nothing short of a success for an organization established in 2009. Their ongoing efforts have improved literacy rates, enhanced educator training and support, and, most crucially, improved access to excellent education for children in need.

And this organization shows no signs of slowing down, boasting an average of $1000 investments in their WASH programs. These generous fees help bring WASH workshops per school for an entire year and are estimated to raise a $ 4,300-time savings return, avoid healthcare costs, etc. 

Pencils of Promise: Looking Forward

PoP constantly evaluates feedback from students, teachers, parents, and community leaders as it adapts its goals, methodology, and programs to better benefit children. With these, PoP is continuously developing new and more creative intervention tactics to improve its influence on children’s at-home education.

For now, PoP has plans to:

  • Train community leaders.
  • Interview teachers, students, and parents in person and over the phone.
  • Establish a parent coaching network. 
  • Repair and maintain the infrastructure at PoP partner schools.
  • Increase the number of annual WASH engagements and Teacher Support program workshops for educators. 

Be Part of the Movement: How to Support PoP

Here are some ways you may show your support for PoP:

  • Donate to the nonprofit organization directly through its website.
  • Organize a fundraising drive for the organization.
  • Join as a Volunteer in the Pencils of Promise Club. 
  • Spread the word by sharing their content on your social media pages. 

Service and Volunteerism for a Better Community

It’s inspiring to witness all the success of Pencils of Promise.

They could spread the word about the group’s fundraising events and connect with others who wanted to do good in the world by using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and finally, their own PoP website. 

I was stunned by their website design when I first visited them online. Everything is in order, and the color combinations are pleasing to the eyes. They also have this real-time data analyzer to determine the number of students, schools, teachers, water filters, and teaching sessions all in one page. It’s incredible to see how they incorporate this nonprofit organization with modern technology.

In Adam’s endeavors with PoP, he found social media quite beneficial. So many of Braun’s mantras spoke to me, inspiring me of ways I may influence my life and the lives of people around me. One of the mantras of PoP that will be imprinted in my mind forever is this:

“If we don’t love what we do, we are doing something wrong.”

It’s never wrong to serve and help others. It’s never wrong to volunteer and take part in bringing quality education, teachers, efficient educational facilities, and clean water to those in need. 

Our act of service will have a tremendous and long-term impact on the community. It brings joy and satisfaction to our hearts and inspires others to do the same, resulting in a chain of giving love and kindness.

Categories: Junior Writer

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