As posted on the Stratford Beacon Herald website, April 5, 2013.
By Mike Beitz, The Beacon Herald
After five trips to south Asia to help some of the poorest children on the planet, Doug MacDougald is switching continents as he continues his charity work abroad.
The Stratford man will be travelling to Togo, Africa next week to volunteer with Sleeping Children Around the World, a Canadian-based charity that distributes bedkits to young people in impoverished nations around the world.
The organization was founded on the idea that every child deserves a peaceful night’s sleep.
“It’s a different continent, a different country, a different culture,” said MacDougald Friday, “but the work is the same.”
He will lead a team of seven volunteers that will hand out some 5,000 bedkits to 5,000 needy children in Togo, a west African nation bordered by Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso.
A bedkit, which can be purchased with a donation of $35, typically consists of a mosquito net, bedding and a groundsheet or mattress, as well as clothing and school supplies.
MacDougald recently made a presentation to students at Upper Thames Elementary School in Mitchell about Sleeping Children Around the World, and they responded by holding a fundraiser that brought in enough to donate 26 bedkits for the Togo trip.
The kits makes a big difference to the children who receive them, said MacDougald, who has already participated in five distributions in places like India and Bangladesh.
“It is very rewarding work,” he said, “but it’s also humbling, and it sets all of us back on our heels because there’s so much need.”
People often don’t realize how fortunate they are to be born in developed nations until they see the crushing poverty of underdeveloped ones, he suggested.
Sleeping Children Around the World is a “100% charity,” which means that every dollar donated to the cause goes to help the children. There is no overhead and volunteers pay their own expenses to travel abroad to distribute the bedkits with the help of overseas volunteers.
More information about the charity’s work can be found at www.scaw.org.
Where Internet access is available, the team will also post blog entries about the Togo distribution to that site.