Hi from Dubai where TNT have recently been in touch with GSTF about their work with the World Food Programme with this thought for the day:
To feed the worlds’ 59 million hungry schoolchildren would cost $3billion per year. In 2007 $107billion was spent on fast food globally – Go! Figure!
TNT and World Food Programme have had a special relationship for several years, during which time they have built schools, provided clean and safe water supplies, delivered emergency aid to disaster zones and very importantly fed thousands of hungry children around the world. This year in the UAE TNT decided to take a different approach, operating a ‘Twinning Programme’, which in effect means they take the responsibility to support and develop a specific school in Nicaragua.
At the end of March a representative of TNT UAE visited Nicaragua on a five day field visit to see first hand the work WFP does on the ground and the plans that have been created to try and further assist these very poor people…..here is his exclusive account of the flower smelling visit….
A fairquestion to answer is ‘Why Nicaragua?’ It’s a fair point; and TNT thought a long time about it when they have equally needy communities much closer to where we live. The TNT business unit is made up of a number of diverse countries, from UAE & Saudi Arabia at the richer end, to Chile and Namibia at the other end of the spectrum. By putting all their efforts in one direction and for one cause will make the results so much more powerful, ultimately we will be helping children who really need the support and it doesn’t particularly matter where they live.
Nicaragua is a Central American country with 5.5 million people. 46% of those people live in poverty and 15% are in extreme poverty. The country has no real natural resources and the infrastructure is regularly destroyed by extreme weather, earthquakes and lives under the threat of one of its active volcanoes waking up.
After arriving we all transferred from Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, two hours away to Matagalpa, the region most in need of their help and the base for journeys out to the schools.
The hotels they stayed in were not quite the Burj al Arab, but there was a reasonable bed, shower facilities and we were fed at regular mealtimes. These things we consider basics are beyond the imagination of most of the people they met. In most communitiestheyvisited there is no electricity supply, no running water, not even toilet facilities, so as you can imagine these people are very poor.
The work already being done in the schools is targeted well and comes directly from the previous fundraising TNT has made. Children who attend school are fed one meal per day and it consists of a balanced diet that is enough to sustain them and that’s it! There are no luxuries or extras, the meal contains one spoonful of beans, one tortilla and one small cup of water and cereal mixed into a drink and that has to last 24 hours.
We were all surprised to find out that TNT’s money is used specifically to buy this food, WFP would struggle to carry on the specific feeding programme without our support.
One of the visits they made to a small community called La Cuarenta had a schoolroom built by TNT volunteers in 2007. The locals were very happy that we had come back to see their progress and were asking what had become of the individuals that lived with them for three months, it was a very touching visit by all accounts.
It’s hard to put across in words how little these people have, however, they are dedicated to improving themselves, they have great fun in their communities and made us feel extremely welcome into their lives. In each school they had prepared songs, dances, poetry and sports demonstrations. Some of the children were very brave standing up in front of a crowd of foreigners all snapping photographs.
In coming to a conclusion and go back to the question of why they should do it; they simply looked on it from the perspective of ‘because we can’ and it makes their staff proud to be part of a company that cares enough to do something even in these difficult economic times. (Text supplied by TNT UAE and modified for this post)
So – applause for the TNT team is in order! Helping others to GO! Smell the flowers.
They will be focusing their efforts to raise money for the children of Matagalpa in various ways throughout the rest of the year, the most visible of which will be ‘End Hunger – Walk the World’ which they will arrange all around the world each year. This year it takes place on June 5th here in Dubai and 7th in other parts of the world and will be promoted soon through the media so keep ‘em peeled!
Any comments of the TNT initiative are welcomed here, together with your experience with CSR, helping others and things that make you stop n think. Cheers!