Our Programs of Focus
We partner with communities in Niger, West Africa to create sustainable educational programs, resources and infrastructure.
- Farmers of the Future Empowering women and youth to approach farming as a business, thereby increasing economic opportunity and significantly reducing poverty.
- Sewing Program Training girls to become tailors in Liboré at the Cooper Sewing Centre in order to earn a living from a trade.
- Scholarships for Girls Our scholarships pay for books, uniforms, food allowances and most importantly 8 hours of additional tutoring weekly in 2-3 subjects.
Soccer for Kids
Pencils for Kids has teamed up with Mike Mitchell and his charity Project Play Soccer to provide over 17,000 soccer balls to the children in Niger. These balls, donated through the generosity of One World Futbol are changing lives every day as children learn physical agility, social interaction, discipline and leadership skills. With Mike’s support, trainers and teachers in Liboré have learned how to organize teams, coach effectively and bring the best out of the students.
Youth Empowering Parents (YEP)
Youth Empowering Parents (YEP) is a unique program that trains youth to become one-on-one tutors to adults who are seeking to learn computer skills. Based on the successful Toronto model of the same name, and co-sponsored by them, YEP trains secondary students to teach and share their skills with adults who pay a fee to attend.
ART – La Vie Peut Etre Belle
In 2016 the first ever Art Centre was built in Liboré to foster the talents of young people in the community. It is expanding to include an outdoor space to showcase the work of the artists. It was built to honour the memory of Bernice Henry, an accomplished artist whose motto was always, "Life can be beautiful".
Theatre Club – La Liberté d’Etre
La Liberté d’Etre is a theatre club, introduced by P4K's Program Director, Louise Sherman, that uses theatre, drama games, and performance to build self-esteem and confidence, encourage imagination, practice teamwork, and teach life skills. Using humour and playacting, this program engages the community with lively presentations on issues of the day, such as keeping girls in school and encouraging healthy living. Student groups compete against one another and then help foster dialogue with the audience.
Education and Apprenticeship Centre
This Centre is home to YEP, to the Cooper Sewing School and Store and to the first ever Horticultural Training Centre in the community, named in honour of Professor Dov Pasternak. Phases 1, 2 and 3 are complete and we hope to build 4 in the near future.
Your donations help fund projects like these.
A Note of Hope
Mohamed was one of my students in the Book Club. Twice a week, after their regular school day, 16 students from CM2 (10 or 11 year olds) would gather round me on the floor of their classroom and listen as I read aloud the stories that I brought from Canada. Mohamed was keen right from the outset. He listened intently and I could just see in his eyes the thirst for learning, discovery and thinking. After each session one student would borrow the book to take home as long as they agreed to come back with a short written book report that they would read to the class. It was a hit and I was so proud to hear their reports – and they were pretty proud too - although somewhat self-conscious. La piece de resistance was the day of our big show, where we had all those that had prepared book reports present their work on stage. What a memorable time it was for me. And I believe for each and every one of them too. And then, 17 months later, I received this beautiful short email from the father of Mohamed saying "thank you" and letting me know Mohamed still has the little note of encouragement I gave to him before I left.
je t'écris de la part de mon fils Mohamed de l'école primaire de Tchandifarou (Commune de Liboré au Niger).
Il garde encore la correspondance (lettre) en date du 3 décembre 2008 que tu lui as envoyé. Il est actuellement en classe de 6è E au C.E.S de Liboré.
Encore une fois merci”
In addition to focusing on the above mentioned programs, Pencils for Kids has been involved in many projects since its inception.
These include: sponsoring 14 kindergartens, including one permanent kindergarten called Clara’s Kids which was funded by 8 year old Clara Graham and her family; establishing Pen Pal relationships with primary schools in Canada; training teachers; training midwives and outfitting medical clinics in Liboré; building three schools; building the community’s first ever Library; providing containers of school supplies; and purchasing desks, computers and textbooks.