Editor’s Note: Read the Elephant Branded feature here to learn about their mission to support Education in Africa and Asia. 

Before you spend some time on this article, take a second or two to think about how fundamental your education has been. Without thinking about it too much, chances are it has got you to the place in your life where you can make informed decisions, argue, understand and reason. All incredibly important things and for clarity’s sake I don’t mean a world surrounded by libraries and encyclopedias; just a world where words make sense, newspaper headlines are understood and road directions actually help you get to your destination.

Without an education (and only the very basic, fundamental kind), the lines above would be an abstract set of strange letters with incomprehensible meaning. They wouldn’t have allowed you to reach back into your memory and recognize your favorite teacher or least favorite subject. This understanding, even in it’s simplest form, allows us to do a huge amount of things ranging from deciding which birthday card is funniest to trying to understand more about what went wrong in 2010. They are also more than that. Without wanting to be too melodramatic they offer us the opportunity to explore, understand and make decisions that determine the way we want to live. Without an education, how can children (or adults) have true independence and freedom? I would argue that without it, they can’t.

The aim of these contributions is not to preach and to make us all feel guilty for the opportunities we have. As the world becomes increasingly connected and conscious of both the positives and negatives of our societies my objective is simply to address a massive elephant in an increasingly small room; the fact that education (especially for our children) is not a given. In many countries (including our own) children don’t have the basic school equipment to enable them to succeed in their school career. All too often, they have the bricks and mortar that provide the buildings but the tools to learn are absent. All too often the stationery cupboards are bare so the learning can’t be captured, stored and assimilated. We do, however, have something that will help and by changing how we shop, and using the informed decisions that our education has allowed when shopping, we think that we can make a difference. The idea is very simple. You get the opportunity to buy ethically sourced bags and accessories and for each one, we donate school kits (or tool kits) to children that need them in projects ranging in location from Cambodia to South Africa.

With bags, pencils, pads and crayons the teachers who distribute them can do their jobs creating independence, understanding and futures for those that sit down each morning and leave each evening. Stationery alone won’t change everything but it is a start. The world won’t change overnight but bit-by-bit, as we give the children the right tools they can begin to develop the skills that will determine their future. We make a change and they get a chance. Simple as that.

That’s all I wanted to say for now but I welcome your thoughts. I deliberately haven’t said too much about what we do and how we do it but during the articles that follow, I will explain more. How we help, why ethical business makes good business sense and how donations are just a small part of it. After all, education doesn’t only happen in the classroom…

Thank you for your time.

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From the Editor
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