WHY WE USE PARTNERS

We are only a small team of staff at School in a Bag. While we raise the funds here in the UK, we rely heavily on our overseas partners to receive our UK Shipped SchoolBags ready for distribution. We are extremely lucky to have some very reliable shippers, freight forwarders, logistics companies and consignee partners at the recipient end who negotiate customs, red tape, collect the SchoolBags and distribute them on our behalf.

The role of our partners for the ‘In Country’ method takes on a greater responsibility as they are responsible for sourcing the rucksack and contents, often from multiple suppliers utilising the funds that we send to them. Whilst this process can take some time, with lots of back and forth correspondence between us, once the final prices have been established, follow up projects can happen very quickly.

EYES & EARS

Our partners become our eyes and ears on the ground, and we trust them to respond how we would when faced with volatile climates and difficult situations. It’s great to be able to communicate with someone on the ground, track the progress of the SchoolBags, and troubleshoot any problems that come up.

LANGUAGE

We understand that the ability to communicate in the local language of a country is so important for negotiating purposes. Borders are sometimes tricky and avoiding miscommunication means safe transportation of the SchoolBags, and allows for a smooth journey.

CULTURE

Cultures are complex, sensitive, and should be respected at all costs. Our partners have years of experience and understand the local customs of their home. Their culture receives the respect that it needs and the SchoolBag distributions can feel more genuine and familiar for the children and teachers.

SUPPORT

We wouldn’t be where we are today without the constant support from charities all over the world. It’s a two way relationship – our partners receive the SchoolBags and create lasting change for their home country, and we get to do what we love – provide educational resources to children who need them.

CHOOSING A PARTNER

More often than not, our partners approach us with a project after assessing the need in their location. We receive requests all of the time from all corners of the globe and we always find it incredible to find out how they discovered School in a Bag.

Once a request is processed for its validity and feasibility, a period of due diligence is undertaken and a dialogue of correspondence about project logistsics is carried out to determine whether the partnership can be brought to fruition.

SHARED VISION

Most importantly, our partners share our vision and want to see children receiving the education that they need and deserve.

Providing SchoolBags is just one part of the fabric needed to run a school and so often, our involvement frees up the limited funds that they have to invest in other necessary items to make the school function – e.g. a new classroom, a toilet block or an additional teacher to enable them to increase their intake.

NURTURING THE PARTNERSHIP

SchoolBag distributions can be a logistically challenging process, and we don’t like to throw our partners into the deep end. Often, the partnership begins with a relatively small, phase 1 project which is manageable for them and provides some financial safety for us.

Once we have ensured our partners are happy and comfortable with the procedure, we go on to explore how the relationship can evolve and discuss the possibilities for a future working together.

PARTNER IMPACT

“We believe that working with dedicated partners, and their staff in country, is one of the best ways to create long term developmental impact within an area, where foreign aid workers, and their contributions are not just parachuted in with no connection or relationship to the beneficiaries. Using local partners, native to their people to hand out our SchoolBags is empowering and creates a deeper sense of connectivity and gratitude from the recipients”

Hannah Gauntlett – SIAB and HELP past employee

WATCH

The respect and gratitude following a big SchoolBag distribution in India with our partners Mercy and Grace.

MEET THREE OF OUR PARTNERS

NEPAL – Jimmy Lama

Executive Director of Helambu Education Livelihood Partnership (HELP)

Jimmy is the co-founder and Director of the grassroots Nepali non-profit Helambu Education and Livelihood partnership-HELP that works closely with British charities Mondo Foundation and School in a Bag in delivering vital education support for rural Nepalese children. Jimmy has an MA in International Development from University of Sussex in the UK and is now living in Kathmandu with his family, wife and two girls.

“Through SchoolBags, I am able to reach out to hundreds of school children belonging to the underpriveledged community each year and the evidence of the impact we are making through school bags have increased by belief that this modest support is contributing towards long-term development dividends in a country like Nepal.”

ROMANIA – Gabriela Popescu

Founder of Te Aud Romania (TAR)

“Te Aud Romania has come a long way since 2014, when the idea of a charity sprung to my mind. A few years earlier, I had returned to Romania after working in the financial industry in the UK. I found myself deeply troubled about the situation of orphans and disadvantaged children in my home county of Suceava. A dear friend of mine asked me ‘What would you do if you could do one thing and one thing only?’ My answer was to work with children in poverty and orphaned children to give them a fighting chance for a better future.

Te Aud Romania was founded on the belief that the best investment one could ever make is investing in the FUTURE – and what better way to define the future than CHILDREN.”

TANZANIA – Willhard Mbogela

President of Iringa Rual Development Initiative (IRUDI)

Willhard is the president and driving force behind IRUDI. He himself is from a small village outside of the Tanzanian town of Iringa and is only too familiar with the daily challenges of African rural life.

“Being born and raised in rural areas of Iringa, I saw first hand that the rural school which I was supposed to go to didn’t have enough resource; there were not enough teachers, no books, the desks were broken and a good number of children sitting on the floor. It is our mission to improve this situation for the current generation of children and those to follow”

REPORTING BACK TO HQ

Our ability to provide transparency to our donors is wholly dependent on information we get back from our partners following a SchoolBag distribution – therefore, it is paramount that these are conducted in an orchestrated procedure as it can become wonderfully overwhelming, particularly when large numbers of SchoolBags are being handed out to very excited children. School in a Bag work closely with our partners to help provide knowledge and experience in what works to make their role an easier one.

History has proven that for our UK Packed SchoolBags, lining them up in numerical order is the cleanest way to document the SchoolBag number to recipient. For our In Country SchoolBags, some partners pre-pack them before handing them out whereas others set up an assembly line at the school and prefer the beneficiaries to pack their own SchoolBag.

Our partners photograph the children with their SchoolBags and then send the name list and images back to HQ (sometimes late at night when the internet connections are less busy!) where the information is uploaded to our database ready for viewing by our brilliant donors.

SchoolBag Distribution