HOPE. One machine, one million pencils, one mission; to educate every child. – Evan Lewis explains

The Remarkable recycled pencil, as many of you will know, has a long association with the promotional products industry. As Sales Director at Remarkable for its launch in 1998 I too have a long association now with the industry and this iconic promotional product.

Many of you will also recall that I left Remarkable in 2005 and I assumed at that point I’d severed my ties with the famous pencil for good. Thankfully in 2014 the opportunity arose that allowed me to buy the machinery, take on the engineers and keep the pencil alive.

When I first bought the machinery it was in a significant state of disrepair. None the less we could make and sell into the merchandise sector about 2 million pencils each year.

Since then we have made small but essential improvements and our capacity is now closer to 3 million pencil a year. This got me thinking; what could I do with a spare capacity of 1 million pencils? I wasn’t particularly inclined to beat down the door of every distributor to increase sales. I was sure there was more I could do. Something inspirational.

It is clear to all that in the world today there are millions of children affected by natural disasters, conflict and extreme poverty, and without exception their education suffers. Globally, 263 million children aged 6-17 are currently out of school and education is the single most important thing that can lift them and their families out of poverty.

With this in mind, I out to find a way our humble pencils could benefit children globally to get the education they deserve. I did my research and spoke for months with charities and NGOs delivering projects in all corners of the globe. I offered to give pencils away, we explored matching sales with donations of pencils or creating ranges of stationery to be distributed wherever they were most needed. The complexity of trying to distribute items worldwide, invariably into areas of instability made these concepts unviable.

In time a solution came to the fore that would help these children where they needed it most. Working with NGOs and Charities doing the extraordinary work on the ground we came up with a mission based approach to raise funds for education projects exclusively. Through the sale of our simple pencils we have created a “Giving Enterprise” called HOPE – education for a brighter future.

For every pack of Hope pencils sold £1 will go directly to education and schools projects. Our first mission, supporting Plan International UK, aims to raise £10,000 for our Bright Futures Campaign. Projects include transforming the lives of girls in Uganda, helping children in Pakistan get an Education and training female teachers in Sierra Leone following the Eboli outbreak.

Hope launched on the 1st March and it needs your support to spread the word. Tell every teacher, every child, every parent and grandparent. Follow us on twitter @hopepencils and above all go to our website to find out more. www.hope.co.uk

The pencil that keeps on giving. Thank you.

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