SIAB ‘Blog in a Bag’ No. 26: The School in a Bag team is growing!

The team at School in a Bag is small, and whilst we are able to produce a lot of good things: the amount of SchoolBags being distributed every year into lots of different countries, running lots of events to raise more money (including our very own music festival), presenting to schools, groups and organisations all over the country and running SchoolBag packs, there’s only a certain limit to just the amount we can do in a week! We’ve been lucky enough to get Hannah on-board for the last few weeks and she’s an asset to the team already – and lowers our average age in the office dramatically too ;). Here’s an introduction by Hannah to her involvement in the charity, and what she’s up to:

I first got involved in School in a Bag in 2013. I’m now 5 years older, on the other side of Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol, and the charity still can’t seem to shake me off.

Back in 2012, my mum was a teaching assistant at a Primary School in Surrey, and met Luke at charity showcase arranged by the council. She was sold; she had the school choose it as their charity that year, and insisted I contact Luke to ask about work experience. I had always wanted to work within the charity sector and at that point, School in a Bag was just starting to gain some momentum so it was pretty good timing. As I was the first work experience placement the charity had ever taken on, it was new for the both of us. I spent a week as Luke’s shadow, quickly learnt the ropes and discovered that charity work was what I wanted to do with my future. Cheers mum.

I kept in close contact with Luke through the years. Between then and now, you may have seen me in the Merchandise tent at Home Farm Festival, selling hoodies, T-shirts and packing SchoolBags between eating cake, and watching some of the fab music. In July, I graduated from Uni with a degree in Philosophy, focusing my studies human rights and ethics. After a summer off, I joined the team on the 1st October for a three month placement.

CREDIT - CuriousByGeorgePhotography 51

Hannah – 2nd from the right at this year’s Home Farm Fest (CREDIT – CuriousByGeorgePhotography)

My main role is running the School in a Bag shop in the Quedam Shopping Centre, in the charity’s home town of Yeovil. Following from the success of last year’s retail stint, where during just two months, a whopping 555 SchoolBags were funded and packed, the team have been lucky enough to be granted a shop by the Quedam for a second year. We’ve changed location; now next door to CEX and, thankfully for Luke, that little bit closer to Starbucks! You’ll find me here during the shop’s opening hours of 10am-4pm, Tuesdays to Sundays until the 4th December.

There’s colouring for children, we’re selling Camon Bears and SIAB Jute bags, and wonderful knitted mice by one of our top supporters, Jennifer. Please, come in and pack a SchoolBag, have a chat and learn more about the charity. If you’re struggling to think of Christmas presents, for just £20, you can even pack a SchoolBag on behalf of a loved one – a wonderful, trackable gift for that relative who has everything…

All the bags packed in the School in a Bag shop will be sent to the Philippines, and distributed by one of our charity partners, the Purple Community Fund. PCF operate in the slum areas of large cities, and focus on improving lives of children living and working on rubbish dumps. They provide children with the vital education they need to escape their situation, in community schools made out of shipping containers. You can help us make a difference to these children’s lives by funding and packing a SchoolBag in the Quedam shop.

I’ll be finishing my three month placement with a bang, at the Big 18hr Bag Pack in Tesco Extra, Yeovil, on the 23rd December. We are always eager for more volunteers to help – some come for an hour or two and some are there for up to six! If you can spare some time that day and want to get involved, please contact the charity at events@schoolinabag.org as we’d love to have you on-board!

Having come to the end of my own formal educational journey in July, I am often reflective on how lucky I was. I know that I would be in a very different place without it, and although I’m pretty certain I won’t be going back for any more studying (100 % certain.), I am confident that if I did I would have the support and educational resources to do so. Globally, there are millions of children and young adults who don’t. I feel so grateful to be a part of a charity which is working to lift children out of poverty through education, and give hope to their futures. All this through one little, red bag.

SIAB shop 2017

Our School in a Bag shop’s SchoolBag Wall!

SIAB shop 2 2017

People packing their own SchoolBag in our shop :)

If you’d like to read more about the charity, please visit the website, or visit our Facebook page – or I hope to see you in the shop soon!