British ConnectionAs shared by Robin Mednick
In May 2007 my daughter Sam and I embarked on our first visit to Liboré, Niger the community Pencils for Kids had been helping for over a year. On the plane ride I sat beside a man named Peter Enti, who, along with his colleagues from the Standard Chartered Bank in the UK, was on his way to a conference.Peter and I spoke about Pencils for Kids during most of the journey and about my desire to help the community with educational supplies. An hour later, before we got off the plane, Peter handed me $100 US.
"Please use this for the children of Niger," he said. I hesitated to take it as Peter did not even know me. Our organization had no charitable status and we had not until that time taken any cash donations. But Peter insisted and I finally accepted assuring him that it would be put to good use. After five remarkable days with the people of Liboré I presented the Mayor, Amadou Madougou, with the $100 from Peter and asked him to use it to build a desk for the children in the new school. The Mayor immediately said he would engrave Peter's name on the desk in honour of his contribution.
When I returned home to Canada I emailed Peter to tell him how his donation would be used. "Robin," he said, "I am continuing to raise money from my colleagues and friends for Pencils for Kids"! I was floored. In September 2007, Peter emailed me to tell me that a colleague of his, Marcelo Ricaud, was planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and he suggested to him that he get sponsorship for Pencils for Kids. I told Peter it was a wonderful idea and asked him to tell Marcelo to take a little sign with the name "Pencils for Kids" to hold up at the Summit. And so it was that Marcelo Ricaud achieved two miracles a week later by summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, holding up the sign and teaching a generation of children in Niger that in his words, "anything is possible even when you think there is no hope at all"!
On November 16th, 2007, Marcelo's framed photos from Kilimanjaro were presented to the Mayor at the opening of the first Pencils for Kids school in Oulmantama. Peter Enti's name was engraved on the very first desk, in the very first row, just as the Mayor had promised. It brought tears to my eyes.
Through their efforts and enthusiasm Peter and Marcelo raised over $3400 dollars from their colleagues and friends proving how strangers can come together from around the world to create positive change in the lives of others.
To view photos of the Kilimanjaro climb by Marcelo Ricaud, click here.