As published in the Stratford Beacon Herald, October 23, 2010
By MIKE BEITZ STAFF REPORTER
Doug MacDougald is helping the world, one child at a time.
The Stratford man is leaving for Bangladesh today to help distribute some 6,000 bed kits through Sleeping Children Around the World, a Canadian charity that believes every child -- no matter how impoverished -- has a right to a comfortable night's sleep.
Included in the bed kits are sleeping mats, bedding, mosquito netting, clothing and school supplies.
The $35 kits, paid by donations, are desperately needed in Bangladesh.
"These are some of the poorest children in the world," said MacDougald, who has travelled to the South Asian country twice before to distribute the kits.
Each time, it inspires mixed emotions, he said.
"It's very rewarding on the one hand, but it's also very conflicting on the other hand," he said. "We have so much here, and they have so little. So you see how fortunate we are, how far $35 goes in Bangladesh and how important it is to a child and their family and their community to receive this kind of donation from folks in North America."
What's "heartbreaking" is that for every child who gets a bed kit, countless others are still in need, he said.
But seeing the look on the children's faces as they receive their kits is gratifying, said MacDougald.
Stratford's Doug MacDougald is shown in Bangladesh on a 2008 volunteer effort with Sleeping Children Around the World. MacDougald is heading back to Bangladesh today to help distribute bed kits to needy children.
Volunteers also ensure there's a personal connection between donor and recipient.
A photo is taken of each child who receives a kit, showing the donor's name and country on a label. Each photograph is then mailed back to the donor.
MacDougald pointed out that Sleeping Children Around the World is a so-called "100% charity," meaning there is no overhead.
"One hundred per cent of your donated money goes to the child," said MacDougald, noting the charity gets its message out mainly by word of mouth and donors don't receive letters or phone calls or followup requests for donations.
Participants pay their own expenses to travel abroad and distribute the bed kits with the help of overseas volunteers.
MacDougald will lead a six-member team of travelling volunteers during his time in Bangladesh, which is expected to last just over two weeks.
More information about the initiative, including regular blog updates, can be found at www.scaw.org.
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