Supporting Water Aid

Supporting Water Aid

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Pencils with a point

With less than two weeks to go before I head off on the Water Aid supporter’s trip to Uganda, I can safely say that I have gone through the checklist ….
  • got my malaria tablets
  • vaccinated myself (well not literally) against Hep A, Hep B, typhoid and the likes
  • bought enough hand sanitiser, anti-bacterial wipes, paracetamol, immodium and rehydration tablets to supply the local chemist
…you get the idea.

 And then I gathered the 500 or so pencils that I’ve collected ready to take away with me to the schools we will be visiting.  
I couldn’t help feeling a little bit spoilt if I’m honest and that my “pencil offerings” to a country that is so poverty stricken are somewhat futile.  To be quite frank, I felt a little bit pathetic packing bags of pencils - especially when I am fortunate enough to have had vaccinations against diseases that claim the lives of so many without even blinking an eye lid…and there I am with my bag of pencils. So having gone through the “oh god, I should be doing more” kind of feelings for the last few weeks, and trying to work out exactly what “I should be doing more” actually means, I flicked the TV on the other day to  listen to Malala Yousafzai’s address to the UN, which bought new hope to my bag of pencils that I’ve been a little bit dismissive of. 
She said “one child, one teacher, one book and one pen(cil) can change the world”…which just reminded me that actually, those small gestures, those small changes and those small actions are what all mount up to make a really big difference…and that there is no such thing as a pointless pencil.


  1. Have a great trip Hannah. Uganda is a fantastic place. I fell in love with it when I first travelled there back in 2005 and have returned many times since. You are spot on that the small things all mount up to make a really big difference. I too started off with a few pencils but ended up gathering enough support to fund the rebuilding of an entire school.

    Another great example is Derrick Williams who also visited Africa on a WaterAid supporter's trip. As a mad footie fan he saw that a few second-hand sports shirts would make a difference - fifteen years later and the charity he set up on his return ( is fast approaching the 250,000 mark in pieces of sports gear donated.

    No pressure there then and definitely no pointless pencils!
    Thomas Enright

  2. Good Luck Hannah,

    I am sure you will have a great time and make the most of all the great experiences you will encounter.

    I look forward to hearing all about it and seeing all the fabulous pics of life in Uganda.

    Be safe, take care and have a great time.
    Kindest Regards

    Adam Schwalm.

  3. Great first post Hannah! Have a safe journey; I know what you are doing will make a difference :D

  4. Hi Hannah,

    Great to read your blog and your thoughts as you prepare for our incredible trip. Rest assured those pencils will be very well received!

    Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday,

    Caroline x