Monday, 17 December 2018

Pune: Home Visits

With the bedkit distribution over there were just couple of items to complete before the team headed home. We held a post-distribution meeting with our Overseas Partners (Rotary Club of Pune Cantonment) when we reviewed the current distribution; followed shortly by a wrap-up meeting with members of all the Rotary Clubs involved in the "Children's Bliss Project" in attendance

Well deserved recognition was given to those Rotarians who had contributed their time, energy, and enthusiasm to make this project the success that it was. A classical Indian dance presentation was beautifully performed by Pankaj's daughter-in-law Abhidnya. An absolute honour to watch. Several Rotary wives demonstrated a local folk-dance ...encouraging team members to join in.

Our final destination was to a school in Ashtapur followed by visits to several of the children's homes. The school was well equipped for the thirty students in attendance. Brightly decorated classrooms, wall charts, books, and toys created a wonderful learning environment for the children.

Their homes were very similar to each other. One large room approx 15' x 15' served as the bedroom with the family generally sleeping on the cement floor. Alongside this room, a second area approx. 15' x 6' was for food preparation. An outside wood-fueled fire pit was used for cooking. One house did have a two burner gas stove. Electricity was in all these homes.

One child lived with her Grandfather as her Mum had died. She had all of her last year's bedkit items neatly stacked on her bed.

In a second home we found a Grandmother raising her two granddaughters, following the death of her daughter. She showed us some of the items from last years bedkit.

A third house was home to a Mum and her two children, husband, and Grandfather. Their fire pit was inside their home.  The fourth visit was home to three children, Mother and Father.

The most basic shelter was a straw and twigs A-frame built by the family, with a dirt floor and no electricity. A Mother and two children lived here.

Team Pune 2018
Post your comments here:

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Pune: Another 7502 Children Sleeping Well!

Today, with 1002 children in Haveli, the team completed the distribution of 7,502 bed-kits to the needy children across eight sites in Pune. Inside the school, students dancing, drumming and playing the lejhim, welcomed us. 

After the official introductions, more students demonstrated traditional  Maharashtra dances. We were truly honoured to witness these elegant, colourful artists. 

Our heartfelt thanks go to all those Rotarians and volunteers in and around Pune who worked tirelessly for many months to prepare for this event.

All this would not be possible without those generous donors who provide the gift of a bed-kit and a smile to all these children. Many thanks 

For the children, 
Team Pune 2018
Post your comments here:

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Pune: In the Countryside!

After our factory visits yesterday, we continued farther out of Pune in to the countryside toward today’s distribution site at Mhaswad. What a refreshing change from the traffic, noise and hectic pace of the city. People along the way were working hard to farm their land and tend their herds of cows and goats. This is an area rich in fertile soil for many crops like sugar cane and corn. We arrived in Mhaswad just a day or so after a festival and the village roads were still a blaze of purple dye. Curious villagers congregated to welcome us and try to understand what this group from Canada was all about. Because we had spent 2 days traveling out of the city, it was a long 4 hour drive back to our hotel. However long the days, we keep reminding ourselves that we have now made 6500 children and their families very happy. Tomorrow is another day with the last 1000 kits to deliver!


For the children
Team Pune 2018
Post your comments here:

Pune: Visiting 2 Suppliers!

Today was a day off from distribution and we took advantage of our time by visiting two of the suppliers for the sleeping kits.

Mr. Patel provided the clothing for the children from his 250 square foot workroom which has if I counted right, 12 sewing machines. He has 6 or 7 people here but he also has another space with 10 employees as well as he contracts out to individual seamstresses who work at home. The electricity was out when we visited, which apparently is common and when that happens, work carries on at nights to meet deadlines. Mr. Patel showed us samples of his other work including uniforms, which looked great and provided chai during our visit.

We then drove out to a fully automated industrial plant that provided the kit containers, a polymer sack. This company is world competitive in the eco-friendly bio-degradable wrapping market. They pay their employees better than the government mandated minimum wage of 450 rupees or 9$C per day.

The local and Pune rotary clubs and the SCAW then went out to lunch to a great team building experience.

Below are pics of Mr. Patel, his sop and the polymer making equipment with the CEO.

Team Pune 2018
Post your comments here:

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Pune: A Successful 6th Day of Distribution!!

Our sixth day of distribution started, as always with a warm reception by the local hosts.  To the sound of drumming we were fitted with our pink headdresses before mounting beautifully adorned horses to ride to the venue where 750 excited children and their parents awaited us.

Following the requisite introductions by the Rotarians, our team leader explained and showed the content of the sleeping kit to the wide-eyed audience.

The venue, a newly constructed community hall, allowed us to set up a very efficient distribution flow under a covered roof, which kept us out of the unbearably hot sun. The local organizers did a fantastic job of determining the flow which enabled the distribution to go quickly and efficiently,  before we all gathered, around 5 p.m. for our joint lunch with our Rotarian partners.

Team Pune 2018
Post your comments here:

Pune: Bigwan!

We travelled out of Pune today to Bigwan where we were paraded into the grounds in a Jeep. We were working in a beautiful wedding hall therefore the children, parents, and the team were out of the sun!!

It was a pleasure to give out 759 bedkits to these very excited kids! We ended the day with a boat ride on the lake to see a beautiful flock of flamingos. So calm and peaceful after a busy day.

Team Pune 2018
Post your comments here:

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
Post your comments here:

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
Post your comments here:

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
Post your comments here:

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
Post your comments here: