Black Pencil Project is an informal non-sectarian, non-profit and non-government organization and is run by private individuals in their small capacities and time. Below are common questions about Black Pencil Project Pencil Advocacy Programs.
1. How do I join BPP or any of the treks?
We invite everyone to join by simply sending us an email of intent. We don’t collect a membership fee. Anyone who wish to join our advocacy in any manner are considered BPP volunteers.
2. What’s the difficulty of the treks?
BPP Project Aral Treks are just above average than normal. While we don’t require physical fit or psyche, BPP Treks are that of expedition types which may challenge your endurance to harsh terrain and trekking paths.
3. How many hours are the usual of trek?
Communities, (though considered remote) have been reviewed thoroughly by BPP Project Teams and we make sure the actual treks wouldn’t last for more than 4 hours. As much as possible, we ensure that the school items we bring will be brought to the nearest drop of point for faster and efficient hand-over to the communities.
4. How much is the contribution for joining the Project Aral Treks
An informal, non-profit organization; Black Pencil Project has limited financial allotment for logistic and distribution thus we are requesting Project Aral Treks volunteers to share minimal expenses to cover transportation, lodging and food. Expenses table were provided during pre-climb and made sure at a very minimum. This will be equally shared by everyone just like how a mountaineering group does things.
5. Do we need to bring school materials during the treks?
No. School materials are already provided by Black Pencil Project partners. While we encourage material donation like pencils, crayons, paper etc. we can collect them and appropriate the materials to other deserving communities requesting for assistance.
6. Do we accept cash donations?
Yes. Black Pencil Project accepts cash donations to cover logistic expenses needed for reaching communities like Banaue and Babuyan Islands in particular.
7. Are we going to hand-carry the materials during treks?
At the minimum, Black Pencil Project will request you to carry at least a very small box of pencils or maybe erasers during the trek. The school materials we bring which are very very light are equally distributed among trek participants. Locales are often very helpful, thus making our treks equally rewarding knowing there are a handful who is willing to help. We also hire services of porters/ sherpas during the trek so we get a faster phase of trekking time.
8. What do you get for volunteering?
Other than sore feet, we can’t promise anything more than a rare opportunity to experience a contagious pencil advocacy.
9. What Do we bring? Can we bring our cameras?
Volunteers are advised things to bring depending on the trek destinations. More often than not, Black Pencil Project visits remote communities found in the mountainous areas of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao thus traveling light is advised among participants. Black Pencil Project treks are NOT a photo opt but we encourage volunteers to bring their cameras but advises them to be extra sensitive to local customs, culture and traditions. Photography ethics will be discussed during the pre-climb.
10. Do we have to attend the Pre-climb / Post Climb?
Yes. Pre-climb meeting are conducted to ensure that the treks will be clear, manageable and safe. This is also an opportunity to get to know finer details of trek itinerary, activity plan as well as your co-participants. After each trek, a post climb meeting will be called to discuss issues and concerns during the trek in order to improve future travel and serves us a guide.
11. What If I back out? Can I request for a reschedule?
Chances are no. Pencil treks take months of planning, thus we expect earlier sign-ups to really follow the schedules. This is also to prioritize early sign-ups and individuals invited to join our treks. At any rate, Pencil Treks pushes through with or without volunteers. Black Pencil Project would like to reiterate that our treks are not the normal tourist vacations get away nor a location photo op.