*Note* The below blog post is a guest blog from our friend Adam Braun, the Founder of Pencils of Promise. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Adam! We love what you and your amazing team are doing with Pencils of Promise.
I’ve always had an overwhelming confidence in the power of education: it can empower people to advance their socioeconomic status in life; it can help people to access unrealized potential; it can drive people towards their passions and skills, which would have otherwise been lying dormant, unrealized and withering. With access to an education—spelling, math, and basic literacy—the opportunities available to a person increase exponentially. This is why organizations like Better World Books and Pencils of Promise are tirelessly devoted to solving the ongoing global education crisis, which currently leaves over 75 million children without the chance to learn.
The first time I visited Laos (Pencils of Promise’s current international hub with our largest infrastructure and most completed projects), I was backpacking across the Luang Prabang region, and came upon a school. It was a dilapidated, small structure, but the first thing I noticed, besides its poor condition, was a warm humming coming from within: not something that I necessarily heard with my ears, but I felt it from within. I walked towards the school and, inside, I found something extraordinary. It was a weekend, it was oppressively hot, it was midday, but there were children inside. They were all huddled around a chalkboard, eyes wide and smiles bright. These children were practicing their writing; there were no adults mandating this exercise, no watchful eyes threatening reprimand. They were there merely as a result of an intense desire to learn. It was in this moment that I knew that I was in the right place. It would soon become the location of PoP’s first completed school.
This all occurred two and a half years ago. Now, Pencils of Promise has broken ground on over 40 schools and built a community of over 250,000 supporters, all of whom recognize the power of education to empower and change the world. No matter how many cities I visit across the world, I keep seeing what I saw years ago in Laos. Children want to learn. They have this insatiable hunger about them in their formative years. Better World Books and Pencils of Promise see this desire in the bright eyes and open hearts of every single young person, proving that a generation empowered will empower the world.