When Marchant Maasdorp was travelling through Africa on his motorbike in 2008, he came across a small village with a school just outside Mvuu, near Liwonde National Park in Malawi. The classroom was a typical rural school under a thorn tree. Marchant could see the hunger for education in the kid's eyes and was impressed by their thirst for knowledge. On the way to the next town, he saw more such "classrooms" and began to wonder what contribution he could personally make. In town, he finally found a general shop that also carried stationery. Marchant bought all the A4 and A5 stationery books, which he packed into his empty panniers to distribute to the children under the tree.
The children need 5 books and a school uniform to attend school for free. However, most of them cannot afford the cost of about $3 for a uniform. With the permission of the headmaster, Marchant distributed the books to the beaming children's faces.
With this beautiful memory, the idea was born to make this gesture a permanent institution on his trips. Again and again he bought writing utensils and distributed them at the schools. The response was huge when the children saw the motorbike and received the pencils and crayons. With his campaigns, Marchant reached around 120 children in 2011 alone.
He ended up talking to the local BMW motorbike dealer, who willingly participated in the project. They asked other local businesses to get involved as sponsors, raising over 30,000 South African Rand in a fortnight. With the help of other adventure bike riders, they distributed writing utensils and printing paper to other schools in the Garden Route and the Karoo, reaching over 3,000 children.
The Stationery4Africa project has grown steadily over the years. Marchant and his team have set themselves the goal of distributing writing and learning utensils as well as computers to schools in several campaigns throughout the year.
You can help to provide even more schools and pupils with urgently needed writing and learning materials!
Marchant was born and raised in South Africa. He is an enthusiastic motorbike traveller who has already accompanied many guests on their journey through southern Africa and has been able to inspire them for his homeland.
Over the years, a deep friendship has developed between Marchant and me. I am thrilled by his enthusiasm with which he is driving this education project forward.
I ask you to join me in supporting the project.
Your Chris, ChrisTheDoc