I visited the SCAW Booth at the Toronto RI Convention in 2018 and I met some of the descendants of the family who started this amazing project nearly two decades ago.
SCAW raises Canadian $35 per child to receive a blanket, foam mattress, set of clothing, a stationery kit and a mosquito net. However, once we started our negotiations for them to visit South Africa, we advised that mossie nets should be replaced with a blanket and they agreed. In addition, due to our excellent negotiation skills, we still had enough money to buy the scholars each a set of toiletries too. In total we managed to get R 580k. Money well worth spent! In some instances, donors have sponsored up to 20 children. Depending on the number of donations from one person or family, this is the number of children in a photo. So some pics would have one person or 10! The photo is then sent to the donor. A printed sheet with the donors name and reference is put in front of the children being photographed in a frame…
EClub of Southern Africa D9400 contributed financially to the transport costs together and Edelweiss Glass and Aluminum also delivered packed goods to some schools. The latter stored the 1500 mattresses and they received all the goods – we did the main packing here too. There were 10 Filadelfia Ark residents and 20 Rotarians, friends, family and colleagues of Liana van der Walt’s who joined too. In addition six Beeware workers were also involved in the buying and packing of the bedkits. We were fed snacks and lunch and refreshments was also served! A super day of hard work packing 1500 SCAW bedkits as they were referred to.
The distances between schools was vast and the early morning traffic delayed us on a few occasions but the scholars were most appreciative – as were the parents and school management team. In most of the schools, we were well looked after with teas/coffees/cake and even lunch in some instances. We met salt of the earth people who assisted with this week-long project. The Queen of Hearts is an organisation in the south of Johannesburg led by Rtn Miriam Behr and they worked tirelessly to ensure that the southern Johannesburg schools were ready to receive their bedkits.
Project and club Treasurer AG Carolyn Khoury and Dr Ellenor Meyer (club member too) suggested the schools in Tshwane. Rtn Rufus (surname to follow) also supported transport for the team during the week.
The SCAW team visited SA at their own personal expense and the team was headed by Beth Poad. Jim Miller, Anne and Suzanne joined them. Thanks to David Dryden, the driving force behind the project from the Toronto headquarters and to Beth and her team. A lot of planning, some challenges – but in the end 1500 children aged between 6 and 13 (they made an exception for us as the actual age banner is 6-12 years old) received 20 items in their bedkits!
Thanks too, to many companies who reduced their original quotations substantially. Foam Mattress, Statesman Stationers, Pep Stores, Bondi Blu and a number of others.
I thank the support from EClub President Kgabo Ralebepa, D9400 DGE Annemarie Mostert and the club members and we look forward to another project in our area soon.
By Shirley Downie