BiC is getting it write by donating 1 million pens to South African school children. This year the busy back-to-school rush time took on a very different meaning at leading stationery company BiC. While thousands of parents were stocking up on stationery for their youngsters' new school year, BiC harnessed the goodwill of concerned parents and used its own clout to benefit those in need of school stationery.
Through a special initiative the company gave away a total of 1 million pens to children who would otherwise have gone without this vital tool for learning.
The project - Choose BiC and Change a Future - saw the coming together of the stationery market leader with the READ Educational Trust. The unique collaboration was dedicated to help promote and assist in growing the literacy rate in the less fortunate communities of South Africa, using the humble pen to bring about change at grass roots level.
The "Choose BiC and Change a Future" initiative underscores what the BiC brand is all about. It's about empowerment, about unlocking potential and making things possible. "The project means we are able to do this not only for those who use our products, but also for those who are financially unable to," says BiC Stationery Marketing Manager, Millicent Quoilin.
LOSING OUT ON THE POWER OF THE PEN
The backdrops to the initiative are some devastating figures regarding the state of education in South Africa. It is a fact that so many children in our country are not equipped with the basic tools of learning. In 2011, a large portion of the 12 283 875 learners enrolled in 28 851 schools across the country lacked the most basic educational tools - including pens. Schools provide as many tools as they can, but there are simply not enough to go around. Many learners are raised by single parents or grandparents or elder siblings - and survive on child grants or small pensions. There is often hardly enough money for food - never mind pens and stationery. In the face of these challenges, a meaningful education is simply beyond the grasp of many.
DEVELOPMENT OF SPECIAL PACKS
To help address the need, BiC got together with READ and partnered with their customers and retailer. Over 20 different BiC products were produced to carry a special Choose BiC and Change a Future sticker. each time one of these packs was sold, BiC pledged to donate a pen to a disadvantaged child. The company committed to donating a grand total of 1 million pens to needy schools.
The results were at once extraordinary. The pens were distributed by READ and the 1259 schools that benefitted included READ Project schools as well as those selected by the National Department of Education - both urban and rural.
At an exciting and much anticipated event, the first batch of pens was handed out to learners at Tshepana School in Orange Farm in Gauteng. Many more handovers took place in the following months and BiC was proud to reach its goal of handing out one million pens.
As Quoilin sums up: "At BiC we know that learning has everything to do with writing and that the more children can write, the more knowledge is engraved in their minds. WE hope the gift we gave to children in need will go a long way towards making a real difference. That it will help give learners the ability to embrace learning and instil a sense of pride in their writing and in their achievements."
Choose Bic and Change a Future has proved a hugely successful initiative - and clearly shows what can be achieved when corporates join forces with members of the public and trade for the greater good.
Now that's Write Stuff!