As the new school year starts and students head back to school, Pennies for Peace (P4P) is launching an exciting, newly-enhanced service learning program.

Service learning has become an essential part of the curriculum for many educators. Students participating in service projects learn valuable skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and leadership. They also gain appreciation for different cultures and learn about their own capacity as philanthropists. P4P helps students understand the issues facing the world and realize that they can affect change.

Ms. Karrel’s fifth-grade class at Chicago’s Hibbard Elementary School participated last year in Pennies for Peace. This is what she had to say about the experience:

“Service learning is important to our work in the classroom because it shows students that the skills we develop in class have a real world purpose. Service learning empowers the students, it shows them that their voices can be heard and they can make a difference even at a young age. P4P created an opportunity for the students to rally together and put all their efforts towards a cause that was important to them.”

Ms Karrel and class

Ms Karrel and class

P4P also offers opportunities to connect students all over the world. Last May, schools from Nigeria, Canada, Colorado, Chicago, to name just a few, participated in World Day of Cultural Diversity. The students celebrated by decorating posters, discussing other cultures, and collecting pennies. At the same time, thousands of miles away, students at CAI-supported schools in Central Asia made posters thanking students for donating their pennies and taking part in the event. Everyone felt that they were part of something bigger than themselves.

To date, Pennies for Peace has been implemented by over 7,000 schools and raised over $7,000,000 for deserving students in the impoverished, remote regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.

This year as students head back to class, tens of thousands of students in the U.S. and abroad will have the opportunity to participate in P4P. Educator Karen Hayes said:

“Many students are familiar with Afghanistan because of the war, but they did not know anything about their geography, food, ceremonies, education, and customs. The P4P toolkit and curriculum had all the resources for them to learn.”

Students and teachers participating in the program will have access to a brand new k-12 curriculum and toolkit. The lessons cover themes, such as the power of education, the effects of extreme poverty, cultural understanding, geography, politics, humanitarian effects, and our responsibilities as global citizens, and are aligned to the U.S. Common Core State Standards. The toolkit includes a sample timeline, template letters, new films, country facts, and more.

Students will learn about the cultures of Central Asia and experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from giving their time and energy to help students, just like themselves, who live without the same degree of freedom and opportunity we enjoy in the United States.

But P4P is not just for students and teachers. Anyone can participate – individuals, book clubs, and businesses. We hope you’ll explore our new, kid-friendly website and learn about the lasting effects of education, the regions in which we work, the projects that we’ve funded, and why we are so passionate about education.

And starting this fall, when you join Pennies for Peace you’ll receive a FREE map of Central Asia, new stickers for your penny jar, and a variety of beautiful photographs from the regions in which we work.

Pennies for Peace is a meaningful way for children, teachers, religious groups, individuals, and businesses to have an immediate impact in a region of the world where education can mean hope, possibilities, and peace.

Together we can cultivate peace, nurture hope, and change the world – one child at a time.

To watch the new P4P video and learn how to get involved visit

Or, register for the curriculum and toolkit.