TORONTO — The Travel Agent Next Door announced at its conference last month that it has raised an additional $46,000 for the charity Pencils for Kids.
In the last five years, the company has raised a total of $125,000 for the charity. This year’s contribution brings the total up to $171,000. Funds have gone towards helping Niger’s local communities, which include the purchase of computers, 450 books by African writers for a library, 30 sewing machines, and chair and tent rentals to provide ongoing income.
More recently, funds were allocated towards the cost of building two permanent kindergartens, which will replace ones made of straw, as well as school furnishings like desks, chairs and blackboards. Straw-made kindergartens are no longer permitted in Niger following a tragic fire in Niamey in April 2021 in which kindergarten students were killed.
“When that happened, Pencils for Kids was determined to rebuild any kindergarten of straw in the community of Libore where we were helping – 13 of them – so that all children of kindergarten age would be able to still go to school,” said Robin Mednick, President and Executive Director, Pencils for Kids. “Every kindergarten we erect is built in memory of the children who perished in that first fire and there is a plaque to this effect on each and every one we build.”
An additional two schools will be built using TTAND’s most recent donation.
“We are extremely grateful not only to our travel agent partners but to our generous suppliers, without whom this would not have been possible,” said Flemming Friisdahl, Founder, The Travel Agent Next Door. “Suppliers contributed financially as well as through donations to the silent auction. This was a team effort between our agent partners, our suppliers and the TTAND head office team.”