Justin Bieber isn’t the only musician behind Pencils of Promise. British singer Natalia Kills, signed by Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am, and whose album, Perfectionist, comes out August 16, is already supporting the New York-based charity which builds schools in the developing world.
“I recently opened an online eBay store where some of the proceeds go to Pencils of Promise to build schools, so if it’s something I’ve worn before for a particular appearance, sometimes it ends up on my eBay store,” Kills tells Samaritanmag, during a recent stop in Toronto when she was on tour with Robyn.
Kills, whose real surname is Cappuccini, says she chose Pencils of Promise for a couple of reasons.
“A lot of my friends like to work two or three days a week for a few hours at least in an office for a non-profit organization,” she says. “It’s always to do with humans. I know it’s important to save animals and save the planet, but we have to start by saving human beings first and making their lives better, in my opinion, before we start on the rest of it. Basically, I have a few friends who like to do that and that’s how I found out about it.
“I think it’s actually the fastest rising non-profit that exists at the moment. They’ve built over 35 schools in less than 5 years, so they’re doing really well right now. I don’t know anyone else [musician-wise] who supports it, but I know me and Justin Bieber do. “
Bieber started Schools 4 All with Pencils of Promise founder Adam Braun, a campaign that challenges students, parents, entire schools and communities to launch a personal fundraising page to help PoP build more schools. According to the site (www.schools4all.org), it has raised more than $143,000 to date, which equals seven new schools. The campaign ends June 30 and the person who raises the most money will receive a visit at the school of their choice from Bieber and Braun.
“There are more than 75 million children without access to education, and together we can do something about it,” it says on the site. “Through our new Schools4All campaign, we’re asking you to join the PoP movement that empowers lives around the world by building schools for children in need. It is by bringing together communities at home, that we can collectively impact communities abroad.”
Braun started Pencils of Promise in October 2008, after he saw first-hand how giving a pencil to a child symbolized “profound power and promise.” For the next five years, as he backpacked through more that 50 countries across six continent, he handed out thousands of pencils.
“These pencils, these small pieces of potential, led to powerful conversations with local parents and children across countless cultures and languages,” Braun writes on his web site. “From years of listening to their words, it became clear that there was a need for an international nonprofit that was led on-the-ground by a staff of locals from within each country, required village participation in each school, and deeply supported, trained and tracked each student to ensure their success.
“Pencils of Promise is now a global movement of passionate individuals, many of which are the most dynamic and impactful young leaders we have ever seen. They are committed to supporting a world with greater educational opportunity for all. Thousands have joined us, making contributions through acts both large and small. There are more than 75 million children without access to education, and we intend to change this.”
Kills, who will be opening for Ke$ha and then the Black Eyed Peas in Europe this summer before headlining her own European tour in September, says she won’t be mentioning Pencils of Promise from the stage.
“People are there to enjoy music. I’m not going to bum you out. That’s a little bit of downer,” she explains. “I’m here to share with you my emotion and I want you guys to be involved in that [Pencils of Promise], but I talk about it on Twitter. If there’s an event or there’s something you can support, I post the link; I talk about it; tell people to go to my store to donate.”