* IMPORTANT NEWS – SchoolBag to Increase in Price *

Dear School in a Bag Friends,

I am writing to let you know that sadly, the time has arrived whereby we need to increase the cost of a SchoolBag. For the past five years, the cost to sponsor a SchoolBag has been £15.00 and during this time we have been able to absorb the increasing costs of the contents and shipping fees. In the good old days of 2011, the contents of a SchoolBag would cost us £12.50, giving us a workable £2.50 per SchoolBag to spend on the shipping costs to get it where it was needed in the world. Today, a SchoolBag and its contents cost SIAB £14.26 and the remaining balance of £0.74 does not provide us with the funds needed to ship consignments of SchoolBags to the children in our partnering countries.

To give you an example of this, on Tuesday September 6th, 528 SchoolBags will set sail for the Manhean Community School, in Accra, Ghana at a shipping cost of £1,500 – this works out at £2.84 per SchoolBag. So, you can see that for some time now School in a Bag has been working in negative equity when shipping SchoolBags abroad.

So, how has SIAB been able to absorb these costs until now? Well, the secondary, ‘In Country’ method whereby SchoolBag consignments are sourced, packed and distributed by our partners on the ground using money wired by SIAB have invariably cost less than the £15 per SchoolBag price tag. However, the recent falling value of the pound has resulted in our contributions abroad funding less SchoolBags, which has proven very disappointing. Our work in Uganda is a shining example of this – a SchoolBag has increased in price by £2.63 per unit. Last year the money wired to our partners funded 600 SchoolBags, this year, the same contribution will fund 460 and sadly 160 fewer children will receive a SchoolBag. The situation is the same in all eight of our other current ‘In Country’ projects.

How much will a new SchoolBag cost then?  Well, as of today September 1st 2016 the new cost will be £20 per SchoolBag.

Why September 1st?   This is the most logical date to start the price increase as the schools begin their new academic year next week and it makes sense for them to begin their SIAB fundraising campaigns at the new £20 cost.

The Small Print….It is very important to point out that this will take effect for new donors and fundraising communities – any individual, school, service organisation or corporate business currently supporting School in a Bag pre September 1st 2016 will be credited with SchoolBags at the £15.00 price.

The Good News.  It is not all doom and gloom. Phew!  SIAB are in talks with the company BrightBeam, who make a portable light called the SolarBuddy http://www.solarbuddy.org and the current arrangement is that BrightBeam will fund a SolarBuddy for each SchoolBag free of charge meaning donors will get more for their donation and beneficiaries will get a fabulous useful resource! In addition, the SIAB board will meet in late September to discuss other possible contents for a SchoolBag such as a tennis ball and a toothbrush and tooth paste.

It has been a difficult decision to accept that the price of a SchoolBag has to increase but sadly the figures do not lie. We hope that you understand our reasoning.

Lastly, on behalf of the team and the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your amazing School in a Bag support. The future is looking very bright and with 9 consignments in 9 countries currently waiting to be distributed, we will and easily surpass the 70,000 SchoolBags milestone this Autumn.

Thank you very much.

Luke Simon

Founder and CEO of School in a Bag