Monday, 10 December 2018

Pune: Rest Day!

Today was a rest day and the team had the opportunity to visit the Shaniwarwada- a stately mansion built in Pune by the Peshawar in the 18th century at a cost of Rs.16,110.  In 1758 there were 1,000 people living in the palace area.  Destroyed by fire in 1828 which burned for 8 days.  Only the granite ramparts, teak gateways and stone foundations survived.

Interaction with children ongoing.  Our guide was a local Rotarian who explained that Sundays are family time and we encountered many groups of families as we toured the grounds.

We then visited the Hindu Majaraj Shinde Temple located just outside Pune where the great Shinde  who fought and won against the British army at Vadgaon lies.

Team Pune 2018
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Sunday, 9 December 2018

Pune: Modes of Transporation!!

A memorable entrance into Kadus today! After being fitted with bright pink turbans, the team were carried to the school in highly decorated bullock carts, lead by drumming and dancing students. What an honour! 

A cloud of brightly coloured balloons were released before the distribution of 1,000 bedkits to wide-eyed children began.

At the end of their hectic day, the children with their Mums and Dads made their way many means: riding in tuk-tuks, sharing a truck, piling onto motor-bikes, but with the vast majority walking happily down the dusty road, bedsit often carried sedately atop their heads. 

Team Pune 2018
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Pune: Swirls of Colour!

Another one thousand of Maharashtra's children received their bedkits today. The entire day was a hectic swirl of colour and activity, starting with a welcoming troupe of singing, dancing and drumming students who lead the team into the school.

Mothers, aunties, and grandmothers wearing brilliantly hued saris and shalwar kameez created a exotic rainbow of colours as their children accepted their bedkits after sitting patiently for their photo to be taken.

An intricate rangoli made of various coloured sands formed a welcome carpet at the entrance to the school where the distribution took place.

Team Pune 2018
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Friday, 7 December 2018

Pune: 1968 Bedkits Distributed So Far!!

1968 bed kits given out so far! The need here is so great and all the children and parents are thrilled to receive the bed kits.

They respond with “WOW!” when we show them each item.

Our team is working hard, not only to complete all the necessary jobs, but to make sure we spend time interacting with these beautiful children and their families. 

Before each distribution begins, we are treated to some joyful singing, traditional dances and customs unique to this region. 

Our Rotarian partners make sure we have water and fruit during the day and then treat us to a delicious local meal when our day is done. And then there are the many stops along the way for cups of steaming masala chai tea! 

5532 bed kits to go and we are all so excited for every child whose smiling face warms our hearts!

Team Pune 2018
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Thursday, 6 December 2018

Pune: Hassa!!

2 hours of driving took us to Meltham where the SCAW team  received a warm and ceremonial reception. 

After the welcoming speeches, beautiful performance by dancing girls and a showing of the content of the bedkit by our team leader, the distribution started. The flow of the children from changing thru to the giving out of the kits was already arranged by the local rotary clubs.

968 kits were distributed flawlessly.

The excitement was electric in the schoolyard as the children and parents walked away with the bedkits. 

We learned the marathi word "hassa" meaning smile while taking the pictures. Later the team was provided with lunch where we improved our skills in eating with our fingers.

Team Pune 2018
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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Pune: A Great First Day of Distributions!!

After a two hour drive we arrived at our first Pune distribution site where we were presented with traditional headdresses and welcomed and escorted to the stage by traditional music played by young ladies in traditional dress.

We sat on the stage for the formal start of the distribution, which included greetings from local officials and by our team leader, Chris Hills, while the young recipients eagerly watched and waited.

Close to one thousand  bedkits were distributed by SCAW members; the children received a large bag with handles with the bedkit items inside, plus a backpack filled with school items and a pair of shoes each.  The recipients also received eye examinations sponsored by our Rotary hosts. Each child was accompanied through the lines by a parent or other guardian, which made the handing over of the bedkit much easier for the children whose eyes literally popped open and they broke into a wide grin when they were able to grab the handles of the bag.

Team Pune 2018
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Monday, 3 December 2018

Pune: Packing Of 7500 Bedkits!

The packing of the bedkits was scheduled for Sunday.We split the team and half stayed closer to the city and half of us went to Bhagwan.

Everyone was very excited.Roterians,their families,and volunteers attacked these mountains of pillows, blankets, etc.After many hours of hard work by 100+ people, 7500 bedkits are ready to go!!!

Team Pune 2018
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Pune: Exploring & Pre-Distribution Meetings

There was nothing scheduled today until 5PM so the team took advantage of the free time to take their first tuk tuk ride and visit the Agakhan Palace where Gandhi was imprisoned from 1942-44 along with his wife and secretary.  Then at 5pm we met for a pre-distribution meeting with the local rotary club president and the committee in charge of the SCAW project.  Following the brief meeting we joined the local club and representatives of the 12 other clubs involved for a get together and dinner.

Team Pune 2018
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Saturday, 1 December 2018

Pune: The Team Has Arrived!

The Sleeping Children Team Pune arrived in Pune at 4:00 am to be greeted by three enthusiastic members of the Rotary Club of Pune Cantonment's bedsit distribution team. At that time of day the streets were deserted making our trip to the hotel swift and uneventful. After checking in, the 20 plus hour journey took its toll, and the team all went to their rooms for a well deserved sleep.

Later on in the day we met with Pankag Apte and Sameer Rupani, members of our Overseas Partners Team, to discuss the upcoming distribution of 7,500 bedsits, and the arrangements for our involvement in the following days bedkit packing. 

The team picture shows:
Chris Hills (TL), Sameer Rupani, Andy Greiner, Kathy Greiner, Gail Hills, Diane Barrick, Judy Snobelen, Lita Fearon, Pankaj Apte 

Team Pune 2018
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Thursday, 30 August 2018

Honduras: 6000 Children Sleeping Better Tonight!

6000 more children in Honduras are sleeping in their new bedkits, thanks to all our supporters who believe in our dream that every child deserves a good night's sleep! Our last few days of distribution were a joyful whirlwind of work and social time- how could our 16 days in Honduras go so quickly?! Each day we were greeted in the hotel by our amazing Rotaracts,starting our day with warm hugs and playful chatter. We'd hop in our van and travel through beautiful countryside to be greeted in the schools by excited children. A flurry of activity before the rhythm of the distribution kicks in - backpacks set, children registered and looking smart in their new t-shirts, photo taken, bedkits given- hugs, smiles, high fives all around... another great day on the job! Delicious lunches prepared for us each day by the wives of the Rotarians, served to a room packed full of happy volunteers, all who helped out through the distribution of the bedkits. Our evenings were more laughter and conversation whether at our hotel, the Rotary meetings, or the homes of the Rotarians.  Conversations about the children, their lives, their sleep, all of us dreaming big on how we could help these children; all of us committed to our work with Sleeping Children Around the World.

Our last distribution was a particularly fun day as we celebrated "Sleep Day"! This year our Rotaracts outdid themselves with their pyjamas, onesies, funky sleep caps, and as always, their boundless enthusiasm.  We will miss them, and all of our Rotary partners, when we return back to Canada.  It's been a wonderful trip, a rewarding adventure and, as always, 100% for the children!

Team Honduras 2018
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Friday, 24 August 2018

Honduras: In The Home Stretch!

Today our team completed our 10th distribution in Honduras. We are in the home stretch now! With only two more distributions to go, we have now given out 5000 of our 6000 bedkits. Go team Honduras!

Before heading out on our distribution this morning we had to say goodbye to Julia, a wonderful member of our team who is heading back to medical school in Alberta. Julia’s departure reminded us all that our work in Honduras will soon be coming to an end. With heavy hearts we climbed into our van determined to continue the hard work and amazing spirit of our original team.

Today’s distribution took place at a school within the urban centre of Tegucigalpa. Before we even entered the gates of the school we could hear a tremendous amount of excitement within the school’s walls. As the gates opened we were swept up into a mob of children playing in the school’s courtyard. The children greeted us with big friendly smiles and warm hugs. It was such a nice way to begin our day. The children continued to be playful and outgoing throughout the distribution, eagerly playing a game of “Simon says” or skipping rope while they waited for their photos to be taken. Upon receiving their backpacks and bedkits the children could not hide the excitement on their faces. One little girl was actually jumping up and down with joy as she waited in line for her backpack.

Upon completion of our distribution, we drove into the downtown core of the city, and had the pleasure of meeting with some of the women who sewed the pillowcases and sheets for the bedkits. These women have all been trained through a special program at the Alternatives and Opportunities Institution, which provides them with skills to enhance their financial stability. During our visit to the co-op we learned that 20 women were involved in the Sleeping Children project, spending approximately 2 months sewing the bedkits items for the Honduras distribution.

We are all so grateful for the opportunity to not only provide the gift of sleep to 500 more children today, but to have participated in a project that provides employment opportunities to these well-deserving women in Honduras.

Sleep Well!

Kelly Dodson for
Team Honduras 2018
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