10 000 Pencils grew from 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 – to stimulate the interest in setting up an organization which could more broadly assist underprivileged learners and schools.

Through this interest and support, 10 000 Pencils came into being as an organized way to work with local and international schools to enable learners to have the resources needed for their education.

Currently, we are working with multiple school districts, school principals and other organizations to plan for the 2017 donation drive.