Arlington, VA – Washington Workplace, an award-winning commercial office furniture dealer in Arlington, teamed up with Business Furniture Installations (BFI) and a nonprofit alumni association to donate unused office furniture to Pioneer Middle School in Senegal, in West Africa.
Washington Workplace Design Team Lead Ashley Prout coordinated the company’s donation. Prout’s husband, Lamine Ly, is a Senegal native who attended the school. Senegal’s literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world, and Ly’s alumni group started the nonprofit last year with a mission to renovate their school. Their initiatives include updating restrooms, creating a library with books and upgrading each classroom.
Earlier this year, Washington Workplace moved locations and BFI retired from the furniture installation business. Both companies had inventory that was no longer needed. Prout approached Washington Workplace President John Murphy and BFI executives about donating the unused furniture to Pioneer Middle School.
“In our line of work, we see a lot of perfectly good office furniture being discarded, so I told my husband about it,” Prout explained. “With the help of his alumni association, we were able to determine exactly what the school could use.”
For two months, Prout and her family collected and organized chairs, desks, glass boards, lateral files and bookshelves. They rented a truck and hauled them to storage until they could procure a shipping container. Last month, the shipment arrived at the school in Senegal.
Murphy and his former BFI colleagues were grateful for the opportunity.
“Giving back is always rewarding, but making a difference through a personal connection with a staff member was extra special,” Murphy said. “Doing so during a challenging time for all of us due to the Covid pandemic gave us another reason to be thankful.”
The alumni association’s next goal is to build a library and stock it with books in French, the country’s official language.
To support this effort, please contact Ashley Prout at [email protected], or make a donation via the alumni association’s GoFundMe page here.