Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Sri Lanka: Mission Accomplished!!

The 2015 SL Team has completed our distribution and we are preparing to travel home today. After a busy week, we've had a wrap up meeting with the rotarians and have begun to reflect on our work and make recommendations for the next distribution.

During the distribution, members of the team had the opportunity to interview bedkit recipients. This helps us evaluate the contents of the kit and find out more about the families who receive these gifts from our donors.

Julie, Gail and Susan did interviews with the help of the rotarians and learned a lot more about Sri Lanka and the lives of the people in each region we distributed in. Because of the demands on family life, a range of caregivers accompanied children to the distribution and the team was able to interview mothers, fathers and grandparents. 

One highlight was the real value of the bedkit, not just in practical terms, but also financially. Some parents told us that the value represented at least three days wages, for an occasional labourer. Work for them is not always regular with farming and industry greatly affected by the changing weather. The rainy season brings particular hardship in some of the areas we worked in; causing crop loss and a variety of health issues. 
It has been an emotional experience for the SCAW team, travelling through areas of Sri Lanka that were greatly impacted by civil war in the not-so-distant past.  We understand that there will always be a greater need than what we can give, but after seeing 4,500 grateful smiles, the team feels hopeful knowing that a safer and more peaceful future lies ahead for these children.

To close our live reports, we wanted to share a few photos of happy families departing with their bedkits. Thank you for your comments, donations and support.

- Team Sri Lanka 2015
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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sri Lanka: Visit To A Recipient's Home

After another successful day distributing bedkits Team SL 2015, travelled to the home of one of our bedkit recipients to better understand the impact of our work.

After a few delays to our journey due to road closures and our mini-bus struggling with the smaller local roads, the team climbed into a jeep provided by the Sri Lankan military and made our way to the home.

We met a young mother with three children whose story was very touching. She was a single mother sharing a small home with her father. She and her three children shared a single room which served as kitchen, bedroom and living room. Her story was humbling, but through the difficulties she has faced she was very proud to show us the new home that was being built for her and her children about fifty meters down the path.

This three roomed structure of clay, wood and metal would provide more living space for the family when it is completed. The SCAW team was comforted to know that the bedkit would serve the family well, not just today but well into the future when they move into their new home.

Team Sri Lanka 2015

Friday, 2 October 2015

Sri Lanka: International Children's Day in Sri Lanka

How wonderful to have one of our distributions coincide with this special day!
School was hopping with singing competitions, games and ice cream treats.  Teachers and children alike were caught up in the Sfestivities.  It didn’t take long for the SCAW team to join the fun.

It was particularly meaningful as 444 of the bedkits were from St. Brigid School in Georgetown, ON.  Children helping children!

On our way out, all the school children were dancing to music from the radio, so we had to join in the festivities. Enjoy the photos and the video!

Team Sri Lanka 2015

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Sri Lanka: Polonnaruwa

Team Sri Lanka is pleased to report that we have completed our third day of distributions in the Polonnaruwa area - 2400 bedkits have been distributed and we only have 2100 left to go! We are sorry for the sporadic updates to the blog, weather has been wet and stormy, and as a consequence our access to internet has been scarce.

We know that friends and family will have been checking the blog for photos and updates, so we’ll give you what you came for with a run down of our typical day and some shots of Team SL 2015 in action.

Typically our day starts early and we work fast to beat the afternoon rain. Each day we arrive to schools at the start of the day and work through the hot morning sunshine to try and get our photography done outside. We have heard from locals on several occasions that “the rain has come early”, which means mother nature has thwarted our plans to complete the distribution before the inter-monsoon season sets in. Though our t-shirts are soaked, our spirits are not dampened! 

SCAW supporters will know the daily routine: meet the children, set up, take photographs, monitor the process and hand out bed kits: all aided by the Rotarians who have hosted us and arranged the distributions with the Sri Lankan military. Here are some photos of the SCAW team in action:

While the children wait in line for their bed kits, it is important to keep them entertained. Chris H does a great job of this, with the aid of our toy bag.

Linda heads up the photography station, with help from Chris W who has also been taking shots. 

Linda is photographer-bombed by a young boy who wants to get his own shot.

Gail, Julie and Elizabeth all do a wonderful job of handing out bedkits, sharing the gifts sent by your donations.

Today, Susan helped by interviewing bedkit recipients to find out more about them and gather feedback to help improve future distributions. 

But enough about the team, the real stars of each day are the children who come to collect their bedkits.

Rain or shine, the results is always rewarding!

More updates to come soon, thank you for all your comments and messages.

- Chris W (and the SL 2015 Team!)
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