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French kids create charity for free school equipment

Five children in the Nord have joined together to provide free school equipment for families in financial difficulty, and are now aiming to raise €3,000 to spread their mission further.

Ten-year-old Victor - who lives in Ronchin, near Lille (Hauts-de-France) - created the associationFeutres et Compagnie (Felt Tips and Company)" - one year ago, with four other school children: Emma, Samantha, Pauline and Lilya.

The association offers many of the most-needed school items, including pens, felt tips, folders, notebooks, and dictionaries.

In just one year, the group has collected over 1,300 kilos of items, and distributed them to families in need.

Local families were the first recipients, but the group is now starting to send items abroad too, including to Morocco, Tunisia, and eastern Europe.

Last year, after the Irma hurricane devastated the West Indies French island of Saint-Martin, the charity sent over 600 kg of items to children in need there, thanks to the support of the Territorial Army and postal service Chronopost.

Victor came upon the idea last year when he realised, in CE2, that many of his fellow pupils had “rather empty pencil cases”.

He said: “Some pupils always asked if they could borrow things. So I asked my mum if we could get more items, to lend them out. And then I had the idea of creating a bigger group to help more people.”

Victor’s mother said she did not realise the group would become such a success.

She said: “There are people everywhere in France who have sent us items [to help out] - people from Brittany, Normandy, Toulouse, Savoie. There is even a woman who sent us pencil cases that she herself had filled. We didn’t realise we would have a house and a garage full of items!

“But we’re happy - it’s proof that this is needed.”

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