Across the world over 260 million children are unable to access an education. It is also estimated that more than 617 million – or six out of ten – children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age do not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.
School in a Bag was originally developed as an initiative by the Piers Simon Appeal, a registered charity set up in memory of Piers who died in the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. After operating within the Piers Simon Appeal for more than 10 years, the work of School in a Bag was transferred to a new incorporated charity in 2019 to aid its further development and expansion.
A typical SchoolBag contains: 12 pencils, 10 biro pens, 12 colouring pencils, a maths set, ruler, pencil case, 6 exercise books (line/square/plain), a water bottle, a LunchBox with a Spork and a hygiene pack comprising toothbrush, toothpaste, flannel, soap and washable facemask. In some countries the SchoolBags also contain a LifeStraw, which provides 1000 gallons of microfiltered safe drinking water lasting up to 5 years.
We have two delivery mechanisms to get SchoolBags to those who are most in need. We either source and pack them in the UK and ship them directly to the area of need for one of our partners to deliver to recipients; or, we work directly with our partners in the field through our ‘in-country’ model, helping them to source and pack goods obtained locally to our requirements.
Our ‘in-country’ model is particularly effective at getting SchoolBags into more difficult areas where traditional shipping and distribution routes are not available. It also enables us to develop strong relationships with our partners who source the supplies and to invest in the local economy.
Each SchoolBag has a unique identifier number which enables complete transparency for the donor. When a SchoolBag is funded, the donor is allocated a unique number which is placed in a special slot on the front of the bag, and they can then track its journey to the final recipient via our website - https://www.schoolinabag.org.
As an example, the photographs below show two of our UK packed SchoolBags with their donors, numbers 16105 and 16106 and then with their recipients in The Gambia.
Our SchoolBags provide children with essential learning tools, enabling them to obtain an education and a chance of a life out of poverty. Our water bottle and lunchboxes allow them to access water and food away from home, keeping them in school all day and improving their health and ability to learn. Our hygiene kits help them keep safe in these unprecedented times and our Lifestraws provide safe, clean drinking water which can ultimately save their lives.