Saturday, 30 November 2019

Bangladesh, 2019: Our Final Distribution - What Adventures and Accomplishments!

The distribution that started in Bangladesh on November 7th has now reached its conclusion with a final 468 children in Mirzaganj receiving their bedkits. What a journey! 

Rotary Dhaka's SKD team has achieved so many firsts with this 2019 Sleeping Children distribution. Since their modest start of 50 bedkits in 1984, approximately 180,000 bedkits have been given to Bangadesh's needy children in all areas of the country.

The generosity of Sleeping Children's donors has brought smiles, hope, and the knowledge that someone, far, far, away cares deeply for the children of Bangladesh.

Chris Hills,
Team Bangladesh, 2019

Bangladesh, 2019: Finally Continuing our Distributions on Nov. 29

After a break since November 16th, the SKD team was in fine shape for the 1300 bedkit distribution at Gerakul.

Yet again, their use of two photo-sites proved invaluable as two streams of children were delivered smoothly and efficiently from the change rooms all the way through to the handing out of the bedkits.

The more senior students from the school were the invaluable volunteers at this site, as well as volunteers from local Rotary clubs.

The site at Gerakul was especially meaningful as this was the ancestral home of Dr Niaz Abdur Rahman, not only this year's Rotary Club of Dhaka's chairman, but he was also the second site photographer!

Great teamwork from everyone involved!

Chris Hills
Team Bangladesh, 2019

Friday, 29 November 2019

Pune 2019: Mission accomplished!

Wow! 8,000 bed kits and 8,000 happy children! 

Can you tell by the smiles on our faces how happy we are? What a team! Everyone worked so hard and accomplished so much. Tomorrow we will be celebrating with our Rotary partners at a farewell dinner. Soon we will be home with so many memories of this wonderful experience.

Sitting, from left to right - Kay Mountford, Fran Wilson, Diane Barrick,
Andrea Tynan, Cindy Hobman and standing, Archie DeGaust

Diane Barrick, Team Leader
Team Pune 2019

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Pune 2019: Visits

Today was a day of visits. We started our day visiting schools that had been selected last year to receive bedkits. The teachers of each chosen school decide which 70 children receive a bedkit, based on need.

Both schools were primary schools, grades 1-4. The children were in class when we arrived. They were so excited to see us and welcomed us with songs.

It was nice to chat with the teachers. According to them, the chance to receive a bedkit increases the child’s interest in school because they can only receive a bedkit if they are in school; and the children who receive a bedkit sleep better, which leads to better attendance and better learning.

Next, we visited the homes of some children who received bedkits last year. These visits give us a glimpse into how these children live, as well as how the family uses the bedkit items.

Our first visit was to a 2-room home shared by two children, their father and grandfather. Vaishnvi, 8 years old, used to sleep on the bare cold stone floor. Now she sleeps on her mat with blankets. Her teacher says Vaishnvi loves school and does well. School has extra importance for Vaishnvi as her mother passed away three years ago, and her teacher has become a surrogate mother to her.

Another home visit took us to a 1-room home owned by someone in the husband’s family. Six adults and two children all live together in this 8’ x 8’ room. We were happy to see the sleeping mat, blankets and clothing received last year were still being used today.

We finished our day with visits to a couple of manufacturers. We always like to see where the bedkit items are made and ensure working conditions are good and employees are treated properly.

Both businesses are family businesses, having been started by fathers and now carried on by their sons. Each employs 15-20 workers full-time, all working six days a week.

In order to produce the large quantity required for the bedkits, these businesses hired additional workers. In many cases, these additional workers were women who would sew in their homes.

A very interesting day. It was wonderful seeing the families continue, a year later, to use the bedkit items. It was so satisfying to see the bedkits provide additional employment and a boost to the local economy. Finally, it was heartwarming to hear the teachers speak of the benefits a bedkit brings to a child’s life.

Cindy Hobman
Team Pune 2019

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Sunday, 24 November 2019

Pune 2019: Images from our travels through India

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. There was no distribution today, so we thought you would like to see India as we are. This is an India that you won’t see in any tourist book.

Migrant workers travelling to the farm.

Living conditions.

Ploughing the fields.

Selling socks on the street.

Apartment Building in downtown Pune

Laundry Drying

Every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. Research tells us that a good night’s sleep improves health and the ability to learn. We thank all of the donors who have helped these beautiful children through your bedkit donations.

Cindy Hobman
Team Pune 2019

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Saturday, 23 November 2019

Pune 2019: Interesting journeys and gratifying results

Today we were delighted to meet up with a truck full of children and parents heading to our distribution site at Supe. The children were already bursting with excitement!

We made a stop along the way to visit a very old temple dedicated to Ganesh, the Hindu Lord of obstacles.

It is always so rewarding and humbling to see the hundreds of parents and children eagerly awaiting our arrival. The distribution is planned and the children chosen many months in advance, so the excitement is palpable.

Each member of the SCAW team was given a wonderful gift of a scarf and a plaque from the education officer of the district of Baramati.

The long wait was finally over and the children and their families headed home with their gifts from our generous donors in Canada. 

The team began the long journey back to Pune, which culminated in one of the worst traffic jams we have ever seen. Two of our brave Indian friends actually got out of the van and began directing traffic, and our skilled driver wound his way through the chaos that is Pune traffic.


Diane Barrick
Team Pune 2019

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Friday, 22 November 2019

Pune 2019: A taste of local culture

Today, we had an exciting ride through the countryside to our destination of Islampur, which was about 1½ hours from the hotel where we were staying. The country roads are narrow, which makes passing huge trucks full of sugar cane a real challenge.

When we arrived at our destination, the welcome ceremony included the turban wrapping, ceremonial dancing, and we were brought to the site on a tractor-drawn float.

The children came from many different schools in the area and some had travelled over an hour to reach the distribution. We had help from over 100 volunteers to make it a successful distribution, and 997 children were excited to receive a bedkit today.

After the distribution was finished, we were treated to a special dinner at the home of a farmer who helped with preparing the site for the distribution. We were given Puran poli which is a Maharashtra specialty.

Fran Wilson
Team Pune 2019

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