I was reading recently about a unique charity with an interesting story I thought you might enjoy.

It all began with one man traveling through the streets in India. The man was approached by a young boy begging for help. The man asked the boy what he wanted most in the whole world. The boy answered that he wanted a pencil. When the man gave the boy his own pencil and saw the hope and promise that pencil meant, he committed himself to continuing to spread that same hope and promise for a better future throughout the world.

Over the next five years, the man backpacked through over 50 countries, handing out thousands of pencils and pens across six continents. In doing so, he was able to have truly profound experiences learning countless cultures and languages. He began to understand that an international nonprofit organization was necessary in order to staff locations throughout many countries to provide schools and hope to those most in need.

Utilizing an innovative fundraising methodology where individual donations are sought for a $25.00 deposit which goes straight into building schools throughout the world, Pencils of Promise has now built more than 100 schools, inspired thousands of children, and provided hope and a future to communities and villages that so desperately need it.

The Pencils of Promise approach is a basic five step plan. First, the organization identifies sites to be outfitted for educational use. A village profile that assesses each individual community based on need, cost efficiency, sustainability, impact, and commitment is a vital step towards determining which community that will most benefit from a new school.

After those locations have been identified, Pencils of Promise builds the school alongside members of that local community. By using local labor and materials, communities are able to assume ownership and accountability for maintaining the school on a long-term basis and the local economy also improves.

Next, Pencils of Promise supports projects through ongoing educational programming. The schools are designed to be completely sustainable, and in their efforts to become that way, Pencils of Promise helps educate and provide ongoing support programs to bolster the sustainability of the community and its schools.

The fourth step in this process is to hire and provide training to local talent. Local community members are hired and trained for suitable job opportunities; special care is taken to hire females and minorities when appropriate.

Lastly, Pencils of Promise monitors their programs and performs ongoing program evaluations in order to both anticipate and meet emerging needs as well as to minimize the time and financial costs of any flaws within the project.

Visit pencilsofpromise.org for more information.