Pencils of Promise (PoP)

To contend with the low-literacy rate in Laos, PoP Aims to build safe primary schools, effectively train teachers and provide students with access to sanitary latrines, hand-washing stations and clean water keeping the children healthy.


Pencils of Promise (PoP)

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Social causes


SDGs covered

Endorsed by

WISE – philanthropy advisors

Wise‘s philanthropy advisors accompanies donors and their families in fulfilling their philanthropic aspirations.

Market of Implementation

  • Laos


250 million children of primary school age lack basic reading and writing skills and if current approaches to education delivery continue, it is estimated that it will take 100 years for students in the developing world to catch up to the learning levels of today’s students in the developed world. 21% of the adult population in Laos are illiterate, with even higher illiteracy rates among ethnic minorities and rural populations. One of the biggest barriers to children getting a quality education is a lack of trained teachers. In Laos, it is estimated that 20% of primary school teachers are unqualified to teach. Additionally, rural communities often lack formal school structures and students attend class inside provisional rooms made of bamboo sticks and thatch roofs. The provisional classrooms are uncomfortable, cramped and are not conducive to learning.


Since 2009, PoP has built 106 schools, impacting over 15,000 students and 67,000 community members, in Laos. School builds and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): PoP partners with communities in the Luang Prabang District to build safe, formal primary schools for students. To ensure the sustainability of every school, PoP works with communities that are committed to education and requires every partner community to provide 20% of the build materials or labor for each build. PoP also outfits every school with gender-separated latrines, hand-washing stations and clean water filters. PoP pairs this infrastructure with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programming to keep kids healthy and in school. Teacher Support program: PoP works with ministry of education partners to train third grade teachers with the goal of helping students achieve proficiency in English. PoP trainers hold workshops once per term and conduct one-on-one coaching sessions with teachers twice per month to equip teachers with methodologies and materials to lead engaging literacy lessons. As part of the program, students receive literacy kits with culturally relevant books, vocabulary flashcards and literacy activities. Teachers receive projectors, a digital library of educational videos and lesson guides.

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