Quite the Mighty Pencil

Many have the privilege of education, public or private. Outside of such experience, there are, however, children and teens around the world without any access. Sophomore Ally Malilay discovered Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization sponsoring education for children when her mother introduced her to the book, The Promise of a Pencil, the moving story written by the founder Adam Braun. From there, Malilay was inspired started a Pencils of Promise (PoP) club on campus to join in on the effort.

The large picture of Pencils of Promise is to build schools, sponsor students and fund teachers in the countries of Ghana, Guatemala and Laos. Pencils of Promise has had success in building over 300 schools, providing education to almost 34,000 children.

Already, the PoP club has supported 27 children in Ghana, each for two years.

“[The PoP club] is hoping to raise enough money to build a classroom this year,” Malilay said, “and then lead up to a school.”

So far, the PoP club fundraised money through bake sales and selling wristbands. This year they are currently organizing similar venues as well as new ways to raise money, including a benefit concert called PoP Stars. Students can help the cause by performing as vocalists or instrumentalists.

Outside of the club and various events, anyone can help contribute on the team fundraising page by creating individual funds to raise money themselves. Malilay alone has invested $565 into the program by asking friends and family for donations. The recent beginnings of the campus PoP club are only a small part of the larger picture.

In October 2008, Braun founded Pencils of Promise. His goal is to educate underprivileged children. The idea arose when he traveled through a number of countries. In India, he asked a boy a question.

“What do you want the most in the world?” Braun said.

“A pencil,” the boy said.

From then on, Braun realized the creativity of the pencil and continued to them out to children. It was obvious to Braun that these children needed the opportunity in education, and a place of enrichment to nurture their widespread imagination, with the help of generous supporters.

If you are interested in getting more hands-on, the PoP club is always open to new members! They meet in I-6 on Thursdays at lunch, where they plan and brainstorm fundraising ideas.