Mansfield school adopts Pencil Case Challenge to help Kenyan kids

MAKING A CASE FOR KENYA -- Jo Shelley, of TTS, with two of the schoolchildren who took part in the challenge.
MAKING A CASE FOR KENYA -- Jo Shelley, of TTS, with two of the schoolchildren who took part in the challenge.

You’ve heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Mannequin Challenge. Now it’s time for the Pencil Case Challenge, which has been adopted by a group of schoolchildren in Mansfield.

Youngsters at Berry Hill Primary School have filled 122 pencil cases with stationery to send to Kenya where they are desperately short of supplies and resources for education.

The challenge was the brainchild of Kirkby company TTS Group Ltd, who supply items for schools across the world. The firm’s customer services manager, Jo Shelley, visited Berry Hill to give a morning assembly talk about the Kariandusi Trust charity, which TTS supports.

The charity was set up to build schools in Kenya and to provide children with a much-needed education. And the pupils at Berry Hill decided they would like to help after hearing that just one pencil has to be shared among many Kenyan children.

“We were proud to take part in the Pencil Case Challenge with TTS,” said head teacher at Berry Hill, Susan Brown. “It really brought home to the children how lucky they are to have pencils and pens in school and at home. They now know that other children are not so lucky.”

Initially, the youngsters set themselves the challenge of filling ten pencil cases with stationery. Letters were sent home to ask families for their support and over the next few weeks, pencils, pens, rubbers and sharpeners began to arrive into school.

The school council helped gather the items together, ready for Jo to return to the school to collect them, and the response was so overwhelming that, by the end of the challenge, 122 pencil cases had been filled.

It continued a partnership that has evolved between Berry Hill and TTS, whose employees helped to clear an area of the school grounds of rubbish and weeds during the summer holidays to create a new learning area.

“It was good to be able to do something in return and also to support TTS in their charity work,” added Susan. “We hope to be able to support ideas like this again.”

Jo said: “The Trust is a charity close to our hearts at TTS. The Pencil Case Challenge is a great way of developing stronger relationships with schools in our local area.”