School build project FAQs!

So it’s been about three weeks since I first shared the news about 10A’s school build project. Since that time, our team has accomplished much of our preparation, and I’m SO excited to unveil our initiative shortly. In the meantime, many of you have reached out with questions about our campaign, so I wanted to dedicate a blog post to addressing some frequently asked questions:


Final preparations as we approach launch day!

Why did you start this challenge?

I issued this challenge to my students for two main reasons (more elaborate explanation here):

  1. To instill values about the importance of philanthropy in a country that often overlooks the needs of less fortunate people both in Bulgaria and abroad.
  2. To teach my students that they can accomplish something BIG if they work hard and put their mind to it. This will directly challenge the lingering Bulgarian pessimism that prevents many big things from happening.

Where do you expect the money to come from?

At a high level, the money for our school will come from two sets of initiatives:

  1. Local initiatives to raise money here in Bulgaria. Our fundraising team is working on multiple events that will target members of our local community, while our marketing team is working with local press and newspapers to raise awareness for our cause.
  2. International crowdfunding efforts (YOU!). We have set up a fundraising page through Pencils of Promise that allows for easy, tax-deductible donations on a credit or debit card. This is your chance to have a big impact! The link will be shared at the time of launch.

How can I help?

You can help in two BIG ways, each of which is important.

  1. Spread the word. Share our story on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. “Liking,” “Retweeting,” “Reblogging,” and “Sharing” are all extremely helpful as we aim to reach as many people as possible.
  2. Consider making a donation. Your financial support will not only help teach my students learn the aforementioned lessons, but it will help build a school for children that lack basic resources for an education. Even if you don’t feel you can make a significant contribution, donate $10 to show your support and help spread the word!

Where will the school be built?

The school will be built in either Ghana, Laos, or Guatemala–the three countries in which Pencils of Promise (PoP) currently operates. PoP field team members visit specific sites to evaluate the need for a new school.

Why aren’t you building the school in Bulgaria?

This is probably one of the most common questions I’ve received, and it’s something I went back and forth on as well. Here are the reasons we are not building the school in Bulgaria:

  1. I thought our campaign would benefit from the structure and credibility of a major organization like Pencils of Promise (PoP). They currently only operate in Laos, Guatemala, and Ghana. I also will be leaving Bulgaria in July, and need an organization to oversee the actual construction of the school.
  2. I liked the idea of helping my students develop a more global perspective by making them think about tough living conditions outside of Bulgaria. I want my students to learn that there are people who need help in the world, and that it’s important to lend a hand even if someone has a completely different background/language/country/race/etc. Many of my personal most eye-opening and enriching volunteer experiences have taken place outside of the US even though there are certainly people struggling in the States too.
  3. We did a lesson on literacy rates, and were struck at the huge discrepancies that existed between Bulgaria’s 98.4% and the rates in Guatemala (83.4%), Laos (73%), and Ghana (71.5%).

Why Pencils of Promise?

  1. My students feel connected to the PoP story and organization. We have read excerpts from the book and watched interviews with the founder Adam Braun. They believe in what the organization stands for, and are excited to support a cause they understand.
  2. PoP is incredibly transparent with their financials giving me (and donors!) the ability to know exactly where our money is going. Many non-profits lack this financial transparency which I think can be a problem. I worried about who would handle the money and execute the project here in Bulgaria, as there are big problems with corruption. PoP has a tried and true method and great track record.
  3. The site has a simple, clean fundraising page and allows 100% of donations to go directly towards the construction of a school. It’s also tax-deductible!

What role are your students playing?

My students are divided into four teams, each of which has an important set of responsibilities. You can read more about their specific goals and accomplishments here.

When will the campaign start?

Our campaign launches on Monday, 3/30! We appreciate your support!

Did I miss anything? Feel free to post additional questions in the comments section below!