BCP Pakistan Organizes Health Screening for the Community
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 520 million people worldwide with chronic hepatitis B or C infection, and Pakistan is among the nations most afflicted.
Various factors can lead to hepatitis, or liver inflammation, and hepatitis B and C are among the main causes of severe liver disease.
Given the importance of this health issue, the BCP Pakistan team planned a day of free screening for hepatitis B and C for the students of a local girls’ high school. The screening was extended to the girls’ parents and the surrounding community as well.
A team including a medical officer, four paramedics and 10 BCP volunteers offered their services to make the activity a success.
A total of 226 people were screened, and three tested positive for hepatitis B and seven for hepatitis C. The people who tested positive were counseled on the next steps to take in order to treat the disease.
The medical officer and volunteers also held awareness sessions with the students and other visitors, giving them information about hepatitis, including its symptoms, treatment and prevention.
Ayesha Kanwal was one of the participating students. “I am grateful to BCP for this initiative of providing health awareness to the students,” she said. “Firstly, we are satisfied after the screening that we are healthy and, secondly, we can pass this knowledge on to others on how they can protect themselves against hepatitis B and C. I am confident that BCP will continue such activities in future as well.”
BCP Bolivia: Graduating Children’s Homes with Best Foot Forward
BCP’s partner on this project is the TIA Foundation, which works with all the children’s homes in the city of Cochabamba. The foundation’s goal is to support and motivate the young people living in these homes to develop their individual life projects. It aims to provide them with opportunities to acquire tools and knowledge that they can have productive adult lives, since, at the time they must leave the homes at 18 years old, most of them not ready to face this reality and end up on the street or involved in crime.
BCP Bolivia and TIA developed a four-prong approach to their partnership.
Members of the BCP team have volunteered to hold educational workshops for these vulnerable young people on finances, life and work skills, income generation and project sustainability. This part of the project got underway on a recent Saturday with a workshop attended by 60 children from different homes in Cochabamba. Two BCP volunteers addressed the topic "Planning your Life," presenting tools so the children could articulate a positive future life for themselves.
Secondly, BCP volunteers participating in this initiative will each be assigned a child to mentor as he or she goes through the process of leaving the home.
The project also includes BCP members teaching these teenagers how to create micro-enterprises. The results will be evaluated at a fair where the young people can sell their products, with the proceeds to go to the children’s homes.
Finally, BCP is sponsoring a scholarship for a teenager enrolled in the program who is at university preparing for a career. This person is expected in the future to help motivate and train younger teens in the program.
The coordinator of the TIA Foundation, Isela Velasquez, commented, "This program will help us a lot so that the children have practical tools so they can start their own enterprises as a way to be inserted efficiently in society. The volunteers of the Bata Children’s Program, with their experience, will share their knowledge so we can achieve that goal."
Store Managers Join BCP Ecuador as Volunteers
The group met over coffee at the Bata Ecuador offices in Quito.
Seasoned volunteers explained the mission of BCP, who the target beneficiaries are, how it has been implemented so far in Ecuador and in several other countries, and the current challenges and goals. For example, BCP Ecuador focuses on carrying out activities near the capital city and aims to benefit at least 30 children with each project.
Team members also recounted their involvement in past activities, and it was an emotional moment as they relived deeply moving experiences.
The new volunteers were encouraged by what the team shared, and at the end of the meeting they confirmed their desire to participate and support BCP. They received BCP T-shirts and pins to wear during activities.
The team’s numbers thus swelled to 19, with plans to keep increasing membership.
Elizabeth Calero, store manager of Bata Condado, commented, “I’ve followed BCP activities on Facebook, and now I’m very excited to contribute to its projects.”
Adriana Merchán, store manager of Bata El Bosque, was also very positive. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the community. I’ll participate in everything I can, and I hope soon I will be the one sharing my experiences with new volunteers!”
The team immediately scheduled the next meeting to discuss proposals from the new members.
Special Needs Children Celebrate with BCP Volunteers in Bolivia
In the first event, volunteers delivered 12 pairs of shoes to the Arnoldo Schwimmer school in the city of Quillacollo, where a special team teaches children with Down’s syndrome. The donation was made in order to help support their efforts, and to bring happiness to the children on National Children’s Day.
For the second activity, six BCP volunteers visited the “Niños con Valor” (Children with Value) foundation, a charity based in the city of Cochabamba, which houses and cares for underprivileged children, particularly those living with HIV.
In total, 37 children took part on the day, which saw a fun-filled program for everyone to enjoy. The volunteers had planned a variety of different games for the children, and the joy visible on their faces as they played together showed the level of commitment by the BCP Bolivia team in making such a memorable children’s day for all those present.
Micaela Escalier, one of the BCP Bolivia volunteers present on the day, commented: “Being able to perform an activity to be able to see the smile of these children is the best reward we can have.”
Paola Navarro, director of the “Niños con Valor" foundation, added: “We are very grateful to the volunteers of BCP Bolivia for dedicating time and so much affection to all the children, sharing with them in the games and activities they prepared.”
At the end of the day, the BCP volunteers distributed over 40 pairs of shoes to all the boys and girls, and seeing how happy the children were in receiving the gifts, running and playing in their new footwear, was a great reward for all those involved.
BCP Zimbabwe Congratulates Volunteers for Hard Work in 2016
The event, which was attended by Bata Zimbabwe country manager Ehsan Zaman, along with BCP coordinator Bongani Mafuwe and all of the BCP Zimbabwe volunteers, began with a round table introduction session, where every volunteer was given the opportunity to express their ideas and thoughts on how BCP Zimbabwe could improve its impact on the community.
After this, BCP coordinator, Bongani Mafuwe provided a report on the year in numbers. She explained that, in 2016, a total of 1,655 people were assisted through the BCP program in Zimbabwe, thanks to the work of 179 volunteers who participated throughout the year.
She commented: “Let us all be aware that when we do our activities, we understand that we are representing our organization, and therefore we must make it our priority to leave good impressions in all the communities we associate with. It is our duty to uphold the values of the organization, and to continuously build the reputation of this organization.”
David Ngwenya, a 30-year veteran of the company, added: “As BCP, it is one of our many responsibilities to ensure we conscientize the public and our children on the importance of a clean and healthy environment. Therefore, as BCP volunteers, we must see to it that we protect our environment, not only by picking up the litter, but by correcting bad behavior when we see it.”
The luncheon ended with the country manager encouraging the volunteers to perform a skills analysis, in order to continue to promote projects that will make best use of the skills pool. He also highlighted that charity should begin at home, and that BCP should aim to lead by example when taking care of the surrounding community. He also took note of all volunteers’ suggestions on how the program could be improved, and promised to take them all into consideration.
BCP Colombia Volunteers Support Fire Victims
On March 22, seven BCP volunteers accompanied the Civil Defense, a government-supported organization that helps populations in disadvantaged areas to respond to natural disasters, to the El Hueco sector of the La Frontera neighborhood. The typical household in this vulnerable area is made up of a single mother with several children. They depend for their livelihood on informal jobs.
When the BCP team arrived, the faces of the women and children still showed bewilderment but, notwithstanding the tragedy and the rainy afternoon, the children’s curiosity overcame their shyness and they welcomed the volunteers affectionately.
BCP – represented on this occasion by Patricia Arenas, Valeria Castaño, Andrea Gallego, Beatriz Giraldo, Angela Parra, Laura Silva and Paula Zuluaga – was proud to show solidarity with these children.
One by one, the volunteers gave the children of the affected families shoes, pants, shirts, dresses and toys. The children, ranged in age from 6 months to 14 years old, thanked the team and flashed huge smiles.
Zuluaga recounted that one young girl said she didn’t want clothes or games, but just a hug. "The experience was unforgettable, but there was a moment that definitely left a mark on me, and it was the strong hug of a girl who preferred that to any object that we could give. It was really emotional and gratifying."
BCP India Advances Dental Health for 1,000 Students
The activities were held at a state middle school located in the Digha neighborhood of Patna, not far from the Bataganj factory. The BCP team regularly holds health check ups and awareness sessions for the students, in line with the BCP Pillar “Children’s Health and Safety.”
To carry out the activity, BCP partnered with a non-profit organization, the School Health Annual Report Programme, or SHARP, and a team of doctors.
The oral hygiene awareness workshops were conducted by trained professionals, who distributed dental kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste and tongue scrapers to all the participating students.
The volunteers included BCP coordinator Alok A. Kanth and Srinivasa Rao, welfare officer at Bata India, who helped organize the event.
The school principal, Vidyanand Singh, thanked BCP. “We feel proud that Bata has been kind enough to support us in our school activities. The health check up camps are important to assess the health of the kids at regular intervals, so that if there is any disease, it can be identified and treated in a timely manner.”
BCP Colombia: Preschool Children Thank Christine Schmidt for Continued Support
The preschool, which is located in a disadvantaged neighborhood of Manizales, offers an education to children from low-income families. BCP Colombia volunteers have fostered a good relationship with the school.
On March 17, the children’s bright faces lit up the company auditorium. Besides Schmidt and some BCP volunteers, Claudio Alessi, country manager of Bata Colombia, and Justo Fuentes, president for Latam, made sure to be present.
The children presented Schmidt with photos of themselves to remember them by, and nine of them performed a dance. The school also gave Schmidt a plaque of appreciation for her continued support.
Schmidt thanked the children one by one and gave them uniforms and shoes for the school year. She repeated her pledge to support Colombian children.
The preschool children were incredibly grateful for the gift of clothes.
It was a fitting start to BCP’s calendar of activities in Colombia this year, as it highlighted the program’s commitment to support vulnerable children through donations and other contributions to better their quality of life.
Sandra Catalina Pino, BCP volunteer and systems engineer at Bata Colombia, said, "It is very important to support the education of children in different ways, especially if they come from less privileged parts of the city. The Bata Children’s Program is an important platform for assisting children by providing them with a variety of means to obtain a comprehensive education and strengthening in them important values and qualities such as gratitude, which was reflected in the presentation they prepared for Christine Schmidt’s visit."