Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bangladesh: Kuakata - Mission Completed!


Our last day at Kuakata which is located right on the Bay of Bengal. We had the shortest traveling time ever, for the first time in recent memory that a SCAW Team slept at the site (distribution was at our hotel). We spent lots of time with our final 200 children and handled them the with TLC - tender, loving, care. Great day had by all. Lots of smiles from the children and tears from the team members.


Theo Nandy - A very emotional day as we reached our goal of 6000 bedkits

Mary-Jo Lang - It went "soooooo" fast!

George Foster - Another feeling of satisfaction as 6000 children are given a good nights sleep.

Judy Snobelen - Emotional day as we made memories that will last a lifetime for us and for the children.

Neil Chopp - My senses have been stimulated by the environment and the day to day life of the people in Bangladesh.  I have recognized the countries widespread poverty, their hope for the future and their love of god.

Debbie Stelzer - The children were wonderful, the team was wonderful, an unforgettable experience.

Mike Foster - Many wonderful memories! The Rotary Club of Dhaka did an outstanding job with their planning, organizing and the care of the SCAW Team. 

Judy Snobelen for Team Bangladesh 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Bangladesh: Patuakhali

Today's bedkdit distribution site in Patuakhali is a district in the South-Western Bangladesh about a 2 hour trip from Bairsal which included a ferry boat ride across the Payra River. The city is surrounded on 3 sides by rivers. The 2 major rivers are the Laukathi and Lohalia, which are directly connected with the Bay of Bengal. The bedkits were given out at the District Shilpokola Academy, a cultural venue which holds 500 people. 

The Rotary Club of Patuakhali along with the Rotary Club of Shantinayar worked together to bring 400 children to the site.  60 of children travelled 60 km by boat launch from Kache Para Island  (2 hour boat trip).  This is the first time that the SCAW and Dhaka Rotary Team have distributed in this area.  The children receiving the today were the most needy that we have seen to date. 

Team Bangladesh 2015
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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Bangladesh: Jhalakathi

Today's distribution of 300 bekits took place at a Government school in Amirabad in the area of Jhalakathi.  This is the first time that SCAW has made a distribution in this area.  It was very evident the children where definitely in need. 50 of the children were from the school itself, 150 from the local area and the other 100 traveled approximately 7 km. The teamwork of the local rotarians and volunteers was truly evident from the moment we arrived. The children entertained the SCAW volunteers with dancing and a visit to their classrooms.  We had the opportunity to meet a 110 year old man at the local tea stall who had donated the land for the school to be built 75 years ago. The day was a huge success and we were all very happy knowing that these 300 children and their families would be having a good night's sleep.  A special thank to all our donors for making this a reality. We only have 2 distributions to go with 600 bedkits and our mission of 6000 bedkits will be complete.

Mary-Jo Lang for Team Bangladesh
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Monday, 16 November 2015

Bangladesh: Banaripara - Leading by Example!

A most rewarding distribution today. 500 hundred bedkits successfully distributed in Banaripara. Banaripara is a south central village in the Division of Barisal approximately 250 km south of the capital city of Dhaka. The location of the distribution took place on the property of Captain Moazzam and his wife Farzana Hossain. The hosts opened their home and the surrounding grounds for a successful distribution. 

At each of the distributions, the word, sponsorship has been regularly shared between the Rotarians and volunteers from the local village. Prior to the bedkits being distributed today, I had a brief opportunity to speak with Rotarians of Dhaka and with Moazzam (past President for the Rotarians of Dhaka) to gain a comprehensive understanding of the term, sponsorship.  It was explained, that sponsorship is a large component of what makes the distribution successful. Most often an individual or a number of individuals will sponsor the children who are receiving the be kits. This is not to be confused with the purchase of a bedkit which is completed by the donor. Sponsoring children at a distribution entails paying for the packing and storage of the bedkits prior to distribution, the cost of transporting the bedkits to the distribution site, financially covering the costs of trainers who teach the volunteers what is necessary for a successful distribution, and the costs for the visiting managers who visit the site in advance to check on its suitability and preparedness. An individual can also sponsor a light one time meal for each child and pay their transportation costs if the children are transported from a distance away from the site. 

Today, Captain Moazzam and Farzana Hossain covered 100% all of the costs including a meal and the transportation of all 500 children. Today, some children travelled up to four hours one way by boat and then bus to the site and then home again in the mid-afternoon. Moazzam and Farzana also fed well over 40 volunteers and the local security personal with a wonderful and healthy lunch and tea in their home. 

When I spoke with Moazzam, he indicated that it is his and his wife’s love for others and a need to share what they are able, to help the children in Bangladesh. There were 500 smiling children today and their families will have a good sleep this evening. The Hossain family set a clear example for others on what it means to be giving and to make a difference for children. 

Neil Chopp for Team Bangladesh

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Bangladesh: Gournadi!

Today saw our team visit the village of Gournadi, in southern Bangladesh.  On our arrival we saw the now familiar crowds of parents and children.  It was actually pretty noisy and a bit chaotic but it didn't take long for the local Rotarians to get things in order.  The children here struck us as a bit poorer than other areas, but just as friendly and enthusiastic as every other town we've visited.  Their parents all called out lots of thank yous when we approached them at the gates.  We successfully distributed 700 bedkits to children who will sleep well tonight.

At the end of our work, we were invited to tour a typical home in the village. Our "tour guide" was a beautiful young girl who spoke excellent English and proudly showed us her bedtoom, kitchen, and study area piled high with books.  Her favorite subject is math. We were then invited for a delicious Bangladeshi lunch in the nearby dining hall and then we're on our way back to our hotel. Another successful day of distributing bedkits. Today we have distributed a total of 4600 bedkits and have 4 more distributions to complete our 6000. 

Only another 1400 bedkits left to distribute! 

Debbie Stelzer for Team Bangladesh
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