American Apparel Collaborates with Pencils of Promise

American Apparel collaborates with Pencils of Promise, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to help build schools in developing countries. 

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NEW YORK-American Apparel collaborates with Pencils of Promise, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The organization builds schools and bolsters educational opportunities in developing countries.

As part of the project, the apparel company says it pledges a commitment of $200,000 to build new schools in Guatemala, Ghana, and Laos. American Apparel offers a limited collection of apparel basics with various imprinted messages such as “Two Hundred Fifty-Million Kids Can’t Read This,” to educate buyers on the prevalence of limited educational opportunities in the developing world. The 250 million statistic refers to the 250 million children that lack basic reading, writing, and math skills, according to a 2013 finding by UNESCO.

“We are a proud supporter of Pencils of Promise, who have already helped more than 70,000 students to gain access to quality education through infrastructure projects and literacy programming,” notes Mike Hoffman, president of Gildan’s printwear division and owner of the American Apparel brand. “As the surest path out of poverty, education opens up possibilities for these children to move towards a better life and a more hopeful future. It is one of the most powerful weapons that we can use to change the world.”

The company says through purchases, buyers help provide students with access to clean drinking water, bathrooms, handwashing stations, and “inspired” teachers.
american apparel
Image courtesy American Apparel

To date, Pencils of Promise counts 418 schools built, with more than 72,000 enrolled students across multiple countries. The organization also contributes 20 percent to each school build through labor and materials.

The collaboration marks the company’s latest involvement with international humanitarian projects. In late 2015, American Apparel partnered with West African artisans to create a line of custom designed, limited-edition T-shirts through One Family People, a human rights organization that benefits women in Sierra Leone. 

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