Story by Esta Chaplin | Photos by Tyler Heesterman
Hastings teens Claudia and Florence Patel-Gaunt have unzipped a new charitable service aimed at keeping Hawke’s Bay students fully stocked with school essentials.
Launched last year, Project Pencil Case creates the perfect kit for students from community donations. Each case equips students with pens, pencils, books and many other items essential to students' success at school. The two girls identified the stationery gap when they were involved with local organisation, Re-source. They saw the demand and decided to do something about it.
In last year alone the pair donated 180 packs to schools. They also donated 40 packs to the NZ Police Family Harm team for distribution to those in most need. In the future they aim to partner with more schools increasing their impact. Claudia and Florence want to encourage future students to continue this project and work with other teens to erase this inequality.
Their advice to other teens interested in creating a social enterprise is to “just start” but to first find someone to help you. “There are so many people willing to help you”. They also recommend starting small and trial projects, use pencil first before inking it in.
The Woodford House sisters have big plans for their own futures, too, with Project pencil case sure to be the first of many. Older sister Claudia is interested in being a lawyer as she “doesn’t like the idea of people being in horrible positions because they don’t have what they need”; Florence, meanwhile, has pencilled-in marine biology.
But wherever they end up, the charitable venture has sharpened-up their focus for the challenges ahead.
Donations to the project are welcomed, get in contact :Facebook@projectpencilcase.