by Nicola Featonby-Smith

My Dream, My Pen

BIC Moves ‘Write’ into the Future with 1.2 million Pen Donation

1,2 million pens to needy children
BIC Handover Di Wilson (POD), Brett Griffiths (BIC) & Millicent Quoilin (BIC), MJ Sambo (Principal) & Lizelle Langford (READ).jpg

My BIC, My Future. My Dream, My Pen 

BIC is my choice. And that gives me joy

 With BIC I can. Be big, with big we can

Be a BIC team

The above poem was written by 12 year-old Sthandiwe Nkosi, one of 501 needy children at the Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School in Orlando West, Soweto who will receive a pen thanks to the Choose BIC and Change a Future campaign.


Sthandiwe, who lives with her grandparents, mother, aunt and her siblings, believes that a good education will make a big difference and that a BIC pen can help her achieve that. “Education can help me succeed in life and build my future. Without education, I am nothing at all. That’s why, my BIC pen is like my friend,” she explained.


BIC marketing manager of stationery, Millicent Quoilin, said it was an honour to reach out to children such as Sthandiwe.


“Every year, parents spend millions on stationery to equip their children for the new school year. Yet, sadly, many learners go through the school year without much needed stationery such as ball point pens.  This year, we have increased the number of pens that will be given away by 20 percent to 1,2 million thanks to the generosity of consumers,” she said. 


The campaign, which began in 2011, has grown every year. As the market leader in writing instruments, BIC has leveraged its strong position to inspire consumers to join together to make a difference in the lives of the millions of South African children in need of good education.


Over 30 different BIC products carry a Choose BIC and Change a Future sticker. For every pack sold, BIC commits to donating a pen to a needy child.


This year, the pens will be distributed by the READ Educational Trust to 1369 schools across the country.


Principal of the Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School, Mrs MJ Sambo, said that no-one should ever under estimate the value of a simple ball point pen. The majority of funds available to ‘non-fee paying schools’ which serve these communities were allocated to ever increasing operating costs. This left a very small amount for essential items such as stationery.


Quoilin said that because of BIC’s ongoing commitment to the struggle to get every young South African the education that he or she deserves, the selection of the Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School for the handover of the first pens was significant.


The READ Educational Trust started as a small voluntary committee in Soweto at the end of 1979 in response to the student demands of 1976 for reading and library facilities. READ operates primarily as an educator development agency in the field of language, literacy and communication and is a leader in the fields of educational assessment, materials development and resource provision.


Fundraising manager for READ, Lizelle Langford, said that the pens would go to primary school children in grades four to six at READ project schools or at schools with which READ had built a relationship with over a number of years.


“The ability to read and write well is essential to ensure success at school or, later, career advancement and tertiary study.  The skill of writing is something that is learned and can be perfected by practice. In a large number of households in rural areas, a pen is not always readily available and sometimes it is shared among everyone in the household, BIC’s contribution therefore makes it possible for 1,2m children to have access to their own pens,” she said.


Based on the achievements of the 2013 campaign, Quoilin said BIC wanted to encourage both its loyal customers and new consumers to help the company increase its donation of pens to needy learners each year. The Choose BIC and Change a Future campaign for 2014 will begin when Back to School purchasing of stationery begins in November.


“As a company, we care about the future of our children.  That’s why we are going all out to partner with our customers to put pens in the hands of as many learners as we can,” she said. 


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Issue 23


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