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  • School in a Bag 3:11 pm on December 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    During the 12 months of 2016, School in a Bag did achieve: 

    During the 12 months of 2016, School in a Bag did achieve!…(read to the tune of The 12 days of Christmas – but that is where the tune ends!):

    Please see below the top 12 School in a Bag facts and achievements from 2016.  Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this record-breaking year.  We simply could not do this without the amazing support that we continually get from our donors, volunteers and fundraisers and for this, we are eternally grateful.

    1: Surpassing the 70,000 SchoolBag milestone

    This was a target of ours for 2016 and we were delighted to reach it in early November. In fact, the current total stands at 73,716 and with 2,122 waiting to be put together ‘In Country’ or handed out when the schools start back in early 2017, our total will increase to 75,838.

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    SIAB world presence map with new countries for 2016

     

    2:  Increasing our Countries Total to 35*

    We are very happy to have distributed SchoolBags in 9 new countries this year:

    Albania | Angola | Cambodia | France | Greece | Haiti | Ivory Coast | Peru | Syria.

    *SchoolBags have arrived in Bulgaria for distribution in early January which will be country 36.

    One particular success has been the formation of excellent partnerships with charities working in Europe and these have proven to be a great outlet for the ever-increasing amount of SchoolBags we continue to pack here in the UK amongst our donors and schools.

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    Albania becomes SIAB country No: 35

     

    3:  Supporting Refugee and War-Affected Children in Syria, Greece and France

    2016 has been the first year where through an increasing network of charity partners, School in a Bag has been able to get SchoolBags to children in war torn areas or refugee camps where the need is so great.  SIAB are indebted to the commitment and dedication of our partners who take great risks to deliver our little red bags to children who have lost everything through man-made disasters.  Our special thanks to Hand in Hand for Syria, CalAid and Care4Calais

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    In all, 720 SchoolBags were distributed in Aleppo, Syria in 2016

     

    4:  Reaching the 10,000 SchoolBag milestone in Nepal

    Thanks to our amazing Nepal Earthquake Appeal last year our partners HELP (Helambu Education Livelihood Partnership) have been kept busy during 2016 supporting the schools and communities in Sindhupalchowk district most severely affected.  In continuing aftershocks the HELP team continue to increase their outreach and to date over 10,200 children in 80 schools have now received SchoolBags since December 2012.

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    Photo: Georgina Woodhead

     

    5:  Raising over £100,000 as Charity Service Partner for the Inner Wheel Association

    On June 30th our year-long partnership with the Inner Wheel Association officially came to an end but money continued to pour in after until finally, in November the £100k barrier was surpassed.  The partnership promoting SIAB amongst the clubs and districts around the UK was absolutely magnificent for raising the profile of the charity at a national level and we shall be ever grateful for the wonderful generosity and hospitaility shown during our year together.

    6:  An incredible 3 days in April at the Inner Wheel Association National Conference

    With a fully packed minibus containing stock to pack 200 SchoolBags, the SIAB team departed from Home Farm on an April Sunday morning for the road trip to Glasgow to set-up shop in the house of friendship for three days. On day 2, during Luke’s presentation to the 2,100 delegates, he announced that the SIAB team would like to take the SchoolBags back to Somerset funded and packed.  Cue the busiest five hours in School in a Bag history!  And…it didn’t stop on day 3 – in all 400 SchoolBags were funded in a day and a half and along with over 1,500 knitted teddies that were taken to Conference, the minibus was fully laden on the return journey to Somerset.

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    What a year…thank you indeed!

     

    7:  Building a new school called Shree Deurali

    It was always agreed that a portion of the money raised by the Inner Wheel Association would be used to fund the re-build of a school in Nepal.  In late April the first foundation stones for Shree Deurali School in Tartong (60kms north of Kathmandu) were laid by Ann Acaster, International Service Chair for the Inner Wheel Association and over the course of the year the seven-classroom school for 220 children was built under the guidance of the HELP team.  Thus far, HELP have built eight of the 15 schools they pledged to build and SIAB are seeking further funds to assist them with their mission.

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    The school is almost complete

     

    8:  Adding a 5th stage to Home Farm Fest

    Following Home Farm Fest 10 in 2015, it was clear that there was a need to expand the site and breach in to the adjoining field. By adding a big inflatable 5th stage and shifting the children’s area up to join it, Home Farm Fest 11 was able to increase the capacity of bands (96) and punters to raise a cool £60,000!

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    Busy scenes at the new Domer Stage at Home Farm Fest 11

     

    9:  Funding SchoolBags in Ghana made from rubbish

    In September, SIAB received a request to get SchoolBags to schools in Ghana in association with the charity Tzedek.  Shipping SchoolBags was not an option and sourcing a red rucksack proved non-existent which left us with an issue.  Then we discovered a social enterprise company in Accra called Trashy Bags that make bags out of rubbish.  In October, 287 SchoolBags with rucksacks made from recycled water sachets were handed out and funds for a further 401 SchoolBags for Phase II have been wired ready for distribution in January 2017.

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    The TrashyBag SchoolBag made from water sachets

     

    10:  Watching Ed Pratt continue his amazing journey to become the first person to unicycle around the world whilst raising funds for School in a Bag

    Ed continues to enthrall us with amazing posts on social media about his trip.  His ability to document the adventures on his journey so incredibly well really do make you feel as if you are there experiencing it with him.  We were so pleased that Ed reached his first fundraising target this year and look forward to him surpassing his next one!

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    Ed Pratt – our unicycling, fundraising adventurer

     

    11: Having our first ‘Retail Experience’ with a School in a Bag pop up shop in Yeovil

    When the invitation to have our first ‘pop-up’ charity shop was offered to us by The Quedam Shopping Centre in Yeovil it was too good an opportunity to miss. The original plan to have a window display and hold an event in it quickly changed to us making the decision to physically man the shop to encourage people in to it. Of course, the public would need something to do whilst in the shop and packing SchoolBags was obviously the solution – thus, the 110 SchoolBag Wall was born and the challenge of trying to fund (and pack them all) was on. With two shopping days still to go, over 400 SchoolBags have been funded so far during the seven week stint and we have been amazed at the awareness it has generated in our local area. Thank you to The Quedam and to the Mayor and Mayoress of Yeovil for supporting the ♯QuedamCampaign.

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    The first School in a Bag shop

     

    12: Winning the Main Sponsors’ Award at the Western Gazette Business Awards

    Having been upgraded to the Business of the Year Award and not been successful in this category we were amazed to be presented the Main Sponsors’ Award at the end of the evening amongst such prestigious corporate company. The Western Gazette and Somerset Live have been fabulous supporters of School in a Bag and we are ever grateful for the exposure they continue to give us.

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    The Western Gazette Business Awards: SIAB win Main Sponsors’ Award

     

    And finally….the 13th point!!

    13: Making the news with the School in a Bag version of the internet sensation ‘Pen Pineapple Apple Pen’

    Sometimes, Luke ought to learn to keep his mouth shut for having shown the office the ridiculous Pen Pineapple Apple Pen clip on YouTube that had 58 million views at the time, the idea to do a School in a Bag parody was born. In a one take wonder, the School in a Bag version was viewed 850 times on You Tube and made it on the ITV.com website.

    “I have a School, I have a Bag”

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    Click the image to play the clip…at your peril!

     

    Thank you once again. Wishing you all a happy and healthy festive season – here’s to 2017!

    From the School in a Bag Team: Luke, Zoë, Charlotte and Lis :)

     

     
    • James Kannel 6:41 am on December 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hello Sir/Madam,
      Your blog is really good. If anyone is interested in the international contest then, here is “The Nine Dots Prize Contest” which is available for the students across the globe.
      Contest Deadline: January 31, 2017
      Applicants can get more information about the Contest through the given link: http://usascholarships.com/nine-dots-prize-contest/.
      If you want to read articles related to scholarships like, how to apply for scholarship, how to get scholarship, Scholarship thank you letter etc. Then go through the given link: http://usascholarships.com/category/article/

  • School in a Bag 5:06 pm on November 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    School in a Bag needs you for our Big Tesco Bag Pack! 

    If you can spare a couple of hours to help us in our mammoth 18 hour Bag Pack in Tesco Extra, Yeovil on the 23rd December then please let us know!

    SIAB Big Bag Pack 2016

     
    • Jonathan Lane 9:51 am on December 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Jo and Jonathan Lane would like to help bag pack. Would Friday 23rd 19:00 to 2100 be any help

  • School in a Bag 4:29 pm on November 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    SIAB ‘Blog in a Bag’ No. 19: The most prolific 10 days at School in a Bag to date! 

    This month’s Blog in a Bag had to focus on the incredibly exciting and fulfilling week we had last week! We hit major milestones, broke previous records and are now reaping the rewards by receiving incredible photos and feedback of the children who have been the latest recipients of a SchoolBag. Continue reading to find out just what we’ve been up to…

    Sometimes, SchoolBag distributions are a bit like buses, you wait for weeks and then two come along at once. Well, if this statement rings true, in the last 10 days we have had a convoy of buses head our way with consignments totaling 1,657 SchoolBags handed out in six countries – Nepal (133), Ghana (528), Syria (480), Fiji (100), Romania (516) and Haiti (10)! In addition to this, we also sent 200 SchoolBags on their way to The Gambia (along with additional stationery resources and uniforms) and a further 720 SchoolBags off to be airfreighted to Haiti this week for victims of Hurricane Matthew.

    I must say that it has not been a typical week at School in a Bag HQ, but it has been so exciting changing the SchoolBag total each day when news and confirmation of each distribution came in. During this period we got in to our 34th country (Haiti) and surpassed the 70,000 SchoolBag milestone with our current total standing at 71,578 :)

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    The 133 SchoolBags distributed in Nepal through our partners Helambu Education Livelihood Partnership (HELP) formed part of the charitable element by the participants taking part in the Adventure Aid trip to Nepal lead by Ashely Platten-Mills. Participants on the Adventure Aid trips have to raise a target amount of money and a proportion of this is used to support a charitable project during their trip. School in a Bag introduced Adventure Aid to HELP last year and this is the first trip that Ashley has lead in Nepal. Big thanks must also go to Bartley Junior School for their additional £1,000 contribution towards funding the SchoolBags.

     

    During their time up in Helambu, the Adventure Aid participants visited the village of Tartong and spent time painting the newly constructed school called Shree Deurali funded by School in a Bag and the Inner Wheel Association.

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    The Adventure Aid team looking splendid in their painting gear! Jimmy from HELP on the far right dressed up for the occasion too!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    The 480 SchoolBags made up the second consignment that we have sent to Syria through our partners Hand in Hand for Syria and these actually left the UK back in April. Operating right on the front line in Aleppo in dangerous and volatile conditions the Hand in Hand for Syria team on the ground have often been involved in political negotiation to get aid in to the city.

    “Alaa is currently in Syria trying to organize an emergency response to families displaced from Damascus countryside into the Idlib area as part of a TRUCE and I am currently involved with sorting aid into the city of Aleppo as part of another ceasefire which we are hoping it will take place in few days time to allow humanitarian aid into the city. This is coming at difficult times when Russian jet fighters are patrolling the skies targeting civilians and not sparing school children returning back to their homes.”

    Fadi Al-Dhairi – Founder of Hand in Hand For Syria

    We are so grateful to the field team involved who managed to successfully distribute the SchoolBags to children at the Barisha School and Dar Hassan Orphanage.

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    The children receiving their SchoolBags in Syria 

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    In 2015, School in a Bag supplied 100 UK packed SchoolBags to the Dorset charity Children of Fiji run by Peter and Margaret Long. Peter and Margaret make trips to Fiji each year to coincide with their aid arriving and they spend the next two months distributing it to the children. On this occasion, the customs officials questioned why they were importing stationery in to the country when they could buy it readily in Fiji. So, for the 2016 Phase II consignment, SIAB provided the empty numbered SchoolBag rucksacks and the additional funds for Peter and Margaret to buy the contents ‘In Country’ as per the dual method we have run in Madagascar.

    “The SchoolBags were destined for Burenitu Village School in the Serua area of the main island. On the day of our visit to Burenitu, the 100 bags were collected in a truck and a 4×4 twin cab and we travelled with them in the 4×4. After travelling about 75 kilometres out of Suva, the route then took us for almost an hour along bumpy gravel tracks right up into the mountains and through dense rainforest. The truck could not make it up the steep, rough tracks, so the 4×4 had to return to the main road to collect the rest of the bags.

    We eventually arrived at Burenitu school and village right in the interior. The school serves just that one village – they used to have children attending from a settlement across the river, but the bridge has broken and we were told that those children are unable to access a school now.

    We were made extremely welcome, (as they hardly ever get visitors!) given lunch by the head teacher and his wife and then taken into the school hall to meet the children and the rest of the staff. There was the usual welcoming ceremony and we were both garlanded and asked to address the gathering. Then we distributed the SchoolBags. The children were very excited, as you can imagine, and the parents were visibly moved. One of their biggest problems is being able to buy essential stationery items for their school children. We wondered how long it would be before Burenitu had anyone else come to visit them!”

    Margaret Long – Founder of Children of Fiji

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    The excited children with their SchoolBags! Peter and Margaret from Children of Fiji also in the bottom left hand photo

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    In March, School in a Bag were contacted by Cynthia Oteng from the Merona Foundation regarding getting SchoolBags out to the Manhean Community School near Accra, the capital city. Cynthia visited Manhean during the Easter break and took x5 SchoolBags in her additional luggage space which were awarded to students who had excelled in their studies. On her return to the UK she set up a fundraising page to help provide some money towards the prospect of giving each of the 520 children in Manhean a SchoolBag. In total 528 SchoolBags and hand knitted teddies were sent to Ghana through the shipping company Faze2 who delivered them door to door. The children were delighted with their SchoolBags and we were equally happy to give a deserving home to some of our hand knitted teddies!

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    The children with their SchoolBags and their teddies!

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    Over the Easter period, School in a Bag attended the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Conference and met their charitable arm, the Steve Sinnott Foundation (SSF). SSF work in many countries* including Haiti where they support a Learning Resource Centre in Port Au Prince. Last week, CEO Ann Beatty visited the Centre on a trip scheduled prior to the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew and took x10 SchoolBags with her in her spare baggage allowance.

    “I am back from a very successful trip, although it was quite emotional at times, life in Port Au Prince goes on as usual. I have left the 10 bags with a teacher there Lency Paul and he will distribute the SchoolBags when they visit their colleagues in the area affected by the hurricane next week.

    They are very keen to copy the ‘In Country’ method and they are looking at how they can get the SchoolBags made in Haiti to distribute them through the Learning Resource Centre.”

    Ann Beatty – CEO Steve Sinnott Foundation

    • Ann Beatty visited Nepal during the summer and SIAB introduced the Steve Sinnott Foundation to the Helambu Education Livelihood Partnership (HELP). We are hopeful of a collaboration project in Nepal!
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    SchoolBags in Haiti being transported to the recipient children

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    This summer, School in a Bag made contact with educational charities operating in eastern Europe to see if there were opportunities to supply their children with SchoolBags. This is an area of the world where we have wanted to work for some time now and having beneficiaries for the increasing number of UK packed SchoolBags (particularly at the end of the school summer term) is certainly a good outlet for our continued operations.

    Te Aud Romania (TAR) is a wonderful charity operating in the Suceava region in the country and lead by Gabriela Popescu, the organisation supports numerous schools throughout it. Such was the success of the first 528 SchoolBag project with TAR in September, the Phase II project came about in swift succession to provide a further 516 SchoolBags for children in five more schools in Suceava. The overland transportaion times for projects in Romania are very quick comapred with shipping consignments and for both projects SchoolBags went from door to door in three days.

    School in a Bag has obviously made an immediate impact in Romania and the TAR team have managed to have a TV crew with them during each distribution getting a report on to the national news on each occasion.  To see the TV news report from Phase I click the image below:

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    VIDEO of the first SchoolBag distribution in Romania!

    “The feedback was great from the kids too. They absolutely loved the SchoolBags – I even talked the kids at the first school through how important school is, how much school matters in life and how important it is to learn a foreign language – using myself as an example. If I hadn’t spoken English, I would not have been able to partner with SIAB and help deliver the SchoolBags to them. I challenged them to learn 5 new English words by the time we will visit them next. A BIG THANK YOU FROM TAR team & ESPECIALLY FROM ALL THE KIDS!”

    Gabriela Popescu – Founder of Te Aud Romania

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    All the children delighted with their SchoolBags and teddies!  

     

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    Some of the older Romanian children with their SchoolBags and teddies!

     

    Thank you to everyone who has supported these projects through funding, transportation, distribution and everything else in between! We are completely indebted to you all. It just goes to show the need for SchoolBags all around the world and the more we can raise, the more SchoolBags we can fund.

    Please email us: hello@schoolinabag.org if you would like to receive further information from us about supporting School in a Bag, whether it’s as part of a school, a group or an individual – we’d love to hear from you!

     
  • School in a Bag 1:45 pm on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    School in a Bag Fundraiser: Medieval Night 

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  • School in a Bag 7:34 pm on September 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    * 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

     
    • Janet 5:35 pm on September 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Still a good “buy” at £20. You are aa charity you cannot run at a loss

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