Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Volunteers work to help the impoverished

As published in the Stratford Beacon Herald, April 7, 2014.

by Donal O'Connor

City residents Doug MacDougald and Sue Orr will be heading off to Togo in West Africa on April 12 to distribute bedkits to impoverished families through the Canadian charity, Sleeping Children Around the World.

They will be part of a team of six volunteers delivering 5,000 bedkits to 5,000 very poor children, said MacDougald, who took part in a similar trip to Togo a year ago.

The country of about 6.6 million is bordered by Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso.

The team will deliver bedkits in 10 towns and villages, said McDougald, and he is very much looking forward to it. The Stratford veterinarian and business leader has been on several other trips as a volunteer with Sleeping Children.

A bedkit donation costs $ 35. Each kit delivers a mosquito net, bedding and ground sheet/ mattress, clothing and school supplies, all purchased in the country where the kits are handed out.

Volunteers with Sleeping Children pay their own way. Administrative costs not covered through donations are paid from a legacy fund established by the founders.

Since the charity began its bedkit distributions in India in 1970, more than 1.3- million kits have been handed out in 33 countries.

The charity works only with trusted volunteers, for example Rotary Clubs, in each country of distribution, and volunteers personally deliver the bedkits to children in need.

Each donor who contributes $ 35 receives a photo of the child who receives the bedkit, a newsletter from the travelling volunteers and a tax receipt.

For more information the Sleeping Children website is www.scaw.org.