It’s August, which means students are getting ready to go back to school. Whether returning to the classroom with social distancing measures or continuing with at-home and remote learning, no one's ready for their first day without the right school supplies.

For millions of children around the world, however, it’s hard enough to get equitable access to education, let alone the resources needed to thrive in school.

This year when stocking up on school supplies, you can choose items that give back to the millions of students impacted by poverty, climate change, and COVID-19.

In a June 2020 report, Save the Children estimated that 1.6 billion children were forced out of school during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, fearing that 9.7 million children would never return. While the pandemic amplified barriers to learning for children everywhere, those living in poverty were especially hard hit.

As a global recession wiped out funding for teaching and learning resources, many students lacked educators, classrooms, and supplies. Meanwhile children facing conflict and crisis may not be able to continue their education this year because of their gender, because of a lack of family income, or because the closest school is too far from their home.

When children aren’t in school, their chances of achieving economic freedom are stunted. Girls, in particular, face higher rates of early marriage, adolescent pregnancy, and income instability when they stop formal learning.

So to help you out in choosing your school supplies to have an impact this year, we’ve rounded up a list of some back to school products helping Global Citizens everywhere defend the planet and defeat poverty to lead us towards a more equitable and sustainable future.

1. Eco-Friendly Pencils

Wearing down your pencils to the nub while practicing endless math problems and conjugating French verbs? Instead of throwing them away when they’re too short to use, try growing something instead, like fresh produce or beautiful flowers.

Sprout pencils come with seed capsules to help you grow your own plants. Try your hand at planting basil or coriander and watch the greenery bloom from the comfort of your own home.

Purchase the Sprout pencil here.

2. Duolingo Plus Subscription

Jumpstart your foreign language education this school year with Duolingo, which makes it easy for people around the world to learn new languages.

Duolingo's ultimate goal is to give everyone access to a private tutor experience through technology. It does this by offering free language education used by everyone from billionaires and movie stars to public school students in developing countries.

Global Citizen has teamed up with Duolingo to offer you the chance to win a three-month Duolingo Plus subscription by taking action on today’s most pressing issues.

Enter to win this reward here.

3. Recycled Paper Notebooks

Though we may live in the digital age, students around the world rely on paper products to learn. But by prioritizing using recyclable and natural resources, it can help make notebooks and textbooks more sustainable.

The Decomposition Books from Michael Rogers help students defend the planet by using 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper. And with fun, nature-inspired cover designs, they are sure to inspire a deeper connection to the environment.

Purchase a Decomposition Book here.

4. Socially Conscious Clothing

Whether you’re sitting in a classroom or in front of a webcam, you can share your passion for taking action on social issues by supporting Social Goods, an organization that stocks statement-making clothing. Every item you purchase on the site includes a non-profit donation to organizations defending the planet and defeating poverty around the world.

Social Goods teamed up with Global Citizen for Women’s History Month earlier this year for the "She is Equal" collection, which supports gender equality initiatives.

Purchase clothing from Social Goods here.

5. Zero Waste Starter Kit

We all know the importance of reducing our individual carbon footprints, but it can be daunting to know where to start. By taking small steps to remove plastic from your life, you can help defend the planet from plastic pollution.

This school year, commit to taking steps to become more sustainable with Global WAKEcup’s Zero Waste Starter Kit. Whether you’re in elementary school, middle school, or high school, you can benefit from the reusable water bottle, straw, or backpack, all of which are included in the kit. And as a bonus, 10% of the profits from every sale are donated to the Marine Conservation Society in the UK to fight ocean pollution.

Purchase the Zero Waste Starter Kit here.

6. SnackMagic Snack Box

To truly be a Global Citizen, you have to engage with cultures different to your own. And what better way to learn about different regions of the world this school year than through their favorite snacks?

Global Citizen has partnered with SnackMagic to offer you the chance to win an international snack box when you take action to defend the planet and defeat poverty. And for every snack box gifted to someone else, SnackMagic will donate snacks to those in need through its Snack and Give Back program.

Enter for the chance to win a SnackMagic Snack Box here.

7. Backpacks

Every child deserves a backpack to hold their school supplies, but not everyone has access to the learning resources they need to be successful. Sydney Paige is trying to change that.

For every backpack purchased, Sydney Paige donates a backpack filled with school supplies to children and classrooms in need. When picking out your backpack this school year, choose one that will help others return to learn, too.

Purchase a backpack here.

8. Snack Bars

During long school days, a simple protein bar is the perfect snack to get students back on track to learn. But for the millions of children suffering from acute malnutrition, that protein bar can also be a lifesaver.

For every purchase of a snack bar, oatmeal, or granola, This Bar Saves Lives will donate food aid to children experiencing malnutrition around the world. Each item is loaded with the right nutrients to help children enjoy healthy and sufficient diets so they can focus on their education.

Purchase snack bars here.

9. Socks

From long days of learning in school to running around after to expend energy, we put our socks through a lot. That’s why it never hurts to have too many — so why not choose socks that help reduce inequalities around the world, too?

Conscious Step puts the world’s most pressing issues at the forefront of its mission, defending the planet and defeating poverty with every pair of socks sold. That’s why Global Citizen partnered with Conscious Step to give residents of the United States the opportunity to win a pair of socks when they take action on our website or app.

For residents of the US, enter for this reward here.

You can also buy Conscious Step socks that help support mental health, protect endangered species, and save LGBTQ+ lives here.

You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defend the planet and defeat poverty by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.

Global Citizen Life

Demand Equity

9 Back-to-School Essentials Helping You Defend the Planet and Defeat Poverty

By Jaxx Artz