11002 Bill Sergeant’s Efforts Help Children of the Togo, Africa
Feature photo: Bill Sergeant (centre back) is pictured with the SCAW Travelling Volunteers and Overseas Volunteer Partners, along with 10 of the 5,000 children who received a bedkit during their distributions. 100% of the $35 donated goes towards purchasing the items shown in the picture. Each bedkit had 12 items in it, including a mattress to sleep on and mosquito net to protect them from Malaria, which is prevalent in Togo.
Bill Sergeant (RMC ’76), who is from Barrie, travelled with five other volunteers to the Togo, Africa with the Canadian charity, “Sleeping Children Around the World” (SCAW) from 7 – 22 April 2017. Working closely in French with volunteers from the Lome, Togo, they helped the ‘100% Charity’ distribute 5,000 bed kits to needy children at 10 schools in the southern plateau region of Togo.
This was Bill sixth trip with SCAW and fourth as a SCAW team leader. He has also done trips on behalf of SCAW to the Philippines, as well as Mumbai and Belgaum in India. This was his first time travelling to Africa on behalf of the charity, but he thoroughly enjoyed the experience, thanks to the outstanding work by SCAW’s Togolese Overseas Volunteer Partners (OVPs). They are the ones who receive the funds for the bedkits from SCAW. With those funds, they purchase the materials, employ cottage industries to make some of the kit’s items, and then collect the items, pack them, and transport the kits to the 10 distribution sites. Bill and his team of bilingual Canadian volunteers then work closely with the francophone OVPs at the distribution sites, taking photos of each recipient and handing out the bedkits to the deserving children. There is no greater feeling of satisfaction than to see the children’s faces light up as they receive this gift ‘from Canada’ that will help to improve their quality of life, assist them with their schooling, and ‘give them a good night’s sleep’.
SCAW is one of the few charities that can claim that 100% of each donation goes towards the bed kits for needy children. It is operated by volunteers, from the processing of donations to the distribution of bed kits. The Travelling Volunteers do so at their own expense and without benefit of a tax receipt. Travelling volunteers supervise the distribution of bed kits, photograph children with their bed kits, and write articles for the donor newsletter. Since SCAW’s inception, over 250 individuals have gone on bed kit distributions. Requisites for travelling volunteers are a love of children and travel experience — with the physical and emotional capacity to withstand this form of travel. All pay their own travel expenses. SCAW offers volunteer information workshops twice a year. If you are interested in travelling with SCAW, please contact us to attend an upcoming workshop.
SCAW relies on Overseas Volunteers in the country of distribution who select children with the greatest need, organize the manufacture of bed kits, choose distribution sites, and help travelling volunteers distribute bed kits. Examples of overseas volunteers include groups such as Community Service Clubs, Salvation Army, and Religious Orders. Locally produced bed kits result in:
- elimination of transportation costs
- provision of materials and labour at minimal cost
- employment for families in the country
- assistance to the local economy and the country as a whole.
More information about SCAW can be found at www.scaw.org