Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Black Pencil Project


Sometimes change can come from the simplest of ideas. Take, for example, the Black Pencil Project.

The idea behind the Black Pencil Project is to give out pencils to disadvantaged students from grades one to three in public schools. It seems almost trivial but what we take for granted can be so critical for those who don't have the means.

From the group's web site:

Black Pencil Project is a personal initiative to help provide pencils through resources mobilizations to public elementary schools in the remote barangays accross the country. It aims to encourage localized participation and individual commitment of goodwill in support to government education programs in the countryside.

There is a logic behind the black pencils, usually this is the type of pencil prescribed to kinder up to grade 3 because of its size and grip for most public schools around the country. So logically, we're targeting only those who are entering Grades 1 to 3.

Why?

These ages are the segment where they're most excited to go to school and yet very vulnerable.

In the remote places, only Primary School is offered (Grades 1-3), so kids entering Intermediate (Grade 4- 6) will have to walk to the nearest barangay in their area to be able to attend classes.

In some areas, because of poverty, kids instead of going to school, opt to help their parents doing farm errands in particularly during cropping season which happens in the middle of school year.


Aside from pencils, the group also proposes to meet other needs, such as: pens, sharpeners, notebooks, crayons, erasers, and pad paper.

If you want to make a difference, you don't need to take it through the Black Pencil Project, of course. You can replicate this initiative within your own community. Visit their site for more ideas.

The Black Pencil Project is the brainchild of three photographers (one of whom is a close family friend from Davao). I think the idea came about in their travels to various parts of the country and seeing the need in those areas.

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