10 000 Pencils developed out of an initial project which involved recycling stationery supplies from an elementary school in Chesterfield, Missouri, which were then distributed to a school in Lusaka, Zambia. The purpose of the project was not only to recycle school supplies but also to create a learning opportunity for the children on both continents.
The initial project involved pulling together a team from the two schools involved, a corporate partner and shipping company. This team worked for a period of 8 months to ensure that the donation process and ultimate handover was a success.
After the successful completion of the initial donation, the question arose of ‘what next’? There was significant interest during the first process from others – corporates, parents, schools – which stimulated the interest in setting up an organization which could more broadly assist underprivileged learners and schools both locally and internationally.
Through this interest and support, 10 000 Pencils was created as a registered non profit (501 (c) 3) in order to be able to work with local and international schools to enable learners to have the resources needed for their education.
In 2017, we worked with 4 schools in Chesterfield to collect donations and these donations have been redistributed locally in St Louis, Mo as well as internationally.
In 2018, the collection drive was expanded to 7 schools within the Parkway School District and these supplies are sorted and distributed to local and international children and teachers in need.
As we prepare for 2019, we are again looking to expand the number of donor schools in order to serve an ever-expanding number of requests for assistance both locally as well as internationally.