Sleeping Kit Distribution project of Rotary Club of Dhaka, Bangladesh, since 1984.
-Rtn. PP Rafqiul Islam Rowly PHF
A smile of a child after receiving the Sleeping Kit pack in a cherubic face, something to cherish for rest of the life. The satisfaction of seeing the smile is certain to give an enthusiasm to do more for the down trodden people around us.
Rotary Club of Dhaka and many other partner Rotary clubs have experienced the blissful joy in the smile of the children through Sleeping Kit Project since last 31 years. This is a joint project with SCAW (Sleeping Children Around the World). In 1983 Rtn. PP Salimullah met the SCAW team at Rotary Convention in Toronto, Canada. He invited SCAW to work with Dhaka Rotary Club in Bangladesh. Since then Rotary Club of Dhaka and SCAW has been distributing the kits in different parts of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh every year a team of Rotarians and SCAW volunteers from Canada travel across from one part to the other part of the country to give Sleeping Kit to the deserving children.
SCAW is a Canadian based philanthropic organization founded by Mr. D. Murray Dryden (1911-2004) and his wife Margaret Campbell. One night while traveling in India, Mr. Murray Dryden tripped over a child sleeping on the street. A man of ideas, he decided that he must and would do something for children who had no comfortable bed. He couldn’t feed the world, or alleviate hunger, but he believed a good night’s sleep could make a hungry child’s life more comfortable. Every year SCAW raises fund through its volunteers and arrange to distribute sleeping kits through its overseas voluntary organizations like Dhaka Rotary. As of today SCAW has distributed 12,77,630 bed kits in 33 countries.
The first distribution was with 500 kits in 1984. Last year Rotary Club of Dhaka distributed 6000 kits to different parts of Bangladesh. Every year a committee is constituted with active and energetic Rotarians to perform this colossal project. This team needs to work relentlessly for three months to make sure a very good quality Kit is handed over to the most deserving children in any part of Bangladesh. With the experience of 29 years, Dhaka Rotary Club has developed a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for this project. This SOP was not only appreciated by the SCAW President but also shared with other organizations in different countries who are partnering with SCAW like Dhaka Rotary Club.
The activity starts with the procurement of Kit items. A thorough tendering process is done with critical quality check. It is an utmost priority to procure best quality material within the given budget. Last year total procurement value for kits was Taka 1,73,55,722. The items procured were Mosquito Net, Bed Sheet, Pillow with cover, Blanket,Sleeping Suit (Pajama &T-Shirt), Wrapper, Ground Mattress, Slipper, Summer Dress, Winter Dress,School Bag, Tiffin Box,Water Bottle, Jute Bag and a Note Book.
After the procurement is done the next challenge is to assemble the kits. A store is rented with minimum 8000 Sqf of space for storing purchased items, assembling them and keeping the kits till transportation to the distribution centers. A team of 11 professionals are engaged for 2 months to assemble and store the kits.
Meanwhile the committee invites the member of the Club and all partners Rotary Clubs for their expression to joining the distribution. The committee sends the detail of how to choose children from diverse culture and religions andalso with other compliance conditions to participate in the project. Normally 7 to 8 distribution centers are selected considering the request from different part of Bangladesh. Selection of distribution centers also follows compliance as per SOP. The club hires 8 to 9 twenty feet container lorry to carry the kit to the distribution center. The lorries need to be present in morning at the center on the distribution date.
On the day of distribution children comes from different area adjacent to the distribution center. Sometimes children travel over 100 km to come to the distribution center. The project has been able to reach children as remote as enclaves across the border area. When children come, they are normally queued by gender. They are given new dress to ware. They are photographed with the sample kits. These photos are sent to the individual donor by SCAW. Children enjoy the festive environment with dresses, funs with SCAW volunteers and Rotarians.
Then best part of the project is handing over the kits to the individual child – an angelic face with glistening eyes conveying gratitude expressed in heavenly SMILE. This celestial experience blows away all the pain taken by the Rotarians & SCAW to organize the whole project.
Rotary Club of Dhaka is blessed and proud to organize and to continue this project with other partner Rotary Clubs for last 29 years. It is the hard work done by our past leaders which has been continuing over years. Rotary of Dhaka is grateful to SCAW for having confidence in partnering with the Club. Rotary Club of Dhaka is also thankful to all the partner clubs for joining hands to reach most deserving children and also sharing distribution and logistics cost with Dhaka Rotary Club.