Wednesday, 13 November 2019

South Africa 2019: Final day of distributions

Today we were back to the township schools to distribute our last group of bedkits. The children were so excited and had been eagerly awaiting our arrival.

Our primary contact at the school was Abigail, a social worker who described the dire circumstances in the homes of the children we met. She optimistically pointed out that through education, the lives of these children can be changed.

She described a program in the school where parents can volunteer to work at the school providing assistance with cleaning, cooking and organizing and using the limited skills that they have. These parents accumulate volunteer hours and are paid in “moolah” which they can spend to purchase grocery items from the local grocery store. This program restores the dignity for marginalized women and allows them to be positive role models for their children while empowering individuals to make choices and save for special items. We were very impressed with the focus on dignity and empowerment. And as an added bonus, the school is immaculate!

What a wonderful distribution site to end our time in Johannesburg with!

Team South Africa 2019

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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Bangladesh, 2019: Patuakhali, Distribution Day 5

A four hour drive from Khulna brought us to our hotel in readiness for a series of distributions nearby.  Today (Tuesday) the SKD team handed out 640 bedkits in Patuakhali. 

The road there took us through the area recently devastated by Cyclone Bulbul, trees down and buildings damaged, with a major clean-up under way.

We took the ferry across the Barisal River, but not before stopping at a cha booth.

Patuakhali gave us yet another well organized and successful distribution!

Chris Hills
Team Bangladesh, 2019

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Monday, 11 November 2019

Bangladesh, 2019: A Perfect Day and One to Remember

Today offered a complete contrast to the previous day . . .the sun came out, the streets dried up and we were able to complete our distribution.

Our distribution was held at a non-governmental school with 900 students, mainly orphans. What a delightful, cheerful and welcoming throng of students, all eager to show us their school work which included English lessons, Mathematics, Bengali, and Science. 

This site was well laid out with a smooth flow of children, arriving, changing into their new clothes, having their photos taken, and then receiving their bedkits. 

A perfect day in every way!

Chris Hills
Team Bangladesh, 2019

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Bangladesh, 2019: Distribution Day 3, 700 Bedkits distributed!

The SKD team together with many, many, volunteers continued to bring smiles to the children of Bangladesh. 

The cyclone kept the day on the rainy side, but with the help of two portable shelters we were able to take the photos, and hand out the bedkits while remaining dry.

The site had to be cleared...meaning the removal (by hand) of several motorbikes. 

A colourful reminder of home:

Chris Hills
Team Bangladesh, 2019

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South Africa 2019: Time to rest and enjoy the sights

The SCAW team had a wonderful free day as it is Saturday. One of the Rotarians had us all over for a lovely dinner and a sleep-over. We woke up early to make the journey north to visit an Elephant sanctuary. These are all rescue elephants that now live on the massive property. We also saw a monkey sanctuary. Then we were off for a tour of the exhibit entitled “Cradle of Humankind”. What a wonderful day was had by all.

Team South Africa 2019

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Bangladesh 2019: Distribution Day 2 - Battling the Elements, Day 4

Today we battled the elements to find a suitable site for our second day's distribution. A cyclone is sweeping this area of Bangladesh so we had steady rain most of the day, making the original site impossible. 

The children were kept dry throughout the day making for many more happy smiles. 

Those selected for a bedkit wear a lanyard identifying them, their parents, and their school. 

This is the well-guarded "passport" to the photo site.

Chris Hills
Team Bangladesh, 2019

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Friday, 8 November 2019

South Africa 2019: An especially exciting day

Today we visited two more schools and distributed over 400 bedkits. Things got a bit hectic because both schools were holding graduation exercises and awards assemblies as well.

The school year ends in late November with all students writing exams. This was a doubly exciting day, as many received proficiency awards for their studies as well as bedkits. This will certainly be a day they will not soon forget!

Team South Africa 2019

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Thursday, 7 November 2019

Bangladesh 2019: First Distribution Day at Noapara, Day 3

We flew south to Jessore to start our first distribution at Noapara. We were greeted at the school entrance by the school band who welcomed us with a great rendition of Queen's "We will rock you!" (Freddie Mercury would have been proud).

It was a rousing welcome from children, parents, teachers and local volunteers. 


As we made our way inside, flower petals were showered on us! 

Today we were eased into the flow of the 2019 distribution handing out 340 bedkits.

Chris Hills
Team Bangladesh, 2019