In 2020, Waste to Wonder donated 47 School-in-a-Box containers’ worth of quality furniture to schools around the world. Given these ‘boxes’ are 40-foot shipping containers, that’s a lot of furniture! This year, we aim to make that number 100, and our friends and partners at Spark of Hope and Africa First are hoping to receive and distribute 30 of those to worthy causes in Senegal.
Our charitable ‘School-in-a-Box’ programme compiles of much needed desks, chairs, cabinets, and any other useful furniture and equipment that a school, training centre or social enterprise could put to good use. We acquire these items by partnering with businesses who’d rather see their waste benefitting others than being sent to landfill. This decision is one that helps the environment as well as helping others in disadvantaged communities.
Once we complete an office clearance, items that are reusable are donated to the programme and come to our storage hangar in Wiltshire, where they wait to be matched to a good cause. Once we have enough furniture to fill match a request and a shipping container, they become School-in-a-Box worthy. They’re then shipped to a ‘hub’ charity, which distributes these precious resources to schools, training centres, and social enterprises across the world.
Spark of Hope is once such hub. Based in Senegal, these miracle-workers have equipped 13 schools with Senegal, including ‘Tafsir Niao Faye’ and ‘Mansour Sy’ and ‘Camp Merchant’.
Maguette Diop (Maggi for short) has worked with Spark of Hope for a number of years and has recently opened a partner charity ‘Africa First’. Maggi says, ‘I came across Waste to Wonder in 2018 while I was working in Canary Wharf as a cleaner. I have always wanted to work for or set up my own charity. When facing so much inequality and poverty, it’s easy to feel powerless, but partnering with Waste to Wonder allowed me to have a voice and make a difference in my community back home.’
Underscoring the key principle at the heart of Waste to Wonder’s operations, Maggi says, ‘I believe that it’s better to donate furniture to the needy as, to me, that’s a form of recycling’.
The charitable peers that share our vision are what make our redistribution programs possible. These invaluable partnerships take our reach from local to global, and multiply our power to make a difference.
Waste to Wonder’s involvement with Spark of Hope has been extra special. While she was working with Spark of Hope – a charity her brother formed – we had the privilege of being there at the inception of Maggi’s new charity that aims to spread their work even further.
She says, ‘I’m lucky that I found Waste to Wonder as they’ve been wonderful in helping me understand many things about setting up my charity. I really couldn’t have done it without them, and I am forever grateful’.
Waste to Wonder’s Operations Director Vince Smith says: ‘It continues to be a pleasure to work with Maggi, Spark of Hope and her new venture Africa First. Our entire business model is shaped around best practice in ethics and environmental sustainability. We aim to minimise waste, maximise educational opportunities, and support disadvantaged communities around the world through redistributed furniture and equipment. We’re excited about Maggi’s ambition and look forward to our continued relationship with and support both charity’s incredible work’.
We hope 2021 will see a rapid expansion of our School-in-a-Box program. We aim to donate 100 containers this year. That’s £2.5 million worth of furniture! But we can’t do it without the help of our UK partners.
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We are office clearance specialists for socially conscious businesses. If you have an upcoming clearance project in the UK or Europe that you would like to see benefit communities, please get in touch to see how we can manage it for you.