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Bringing the comfort of sleep to children around the world

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  • children

By Debbie Dryden  |  May 08, 2013
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Sleeping Children Around the World received a 2011 Humanitarian Projects Award from the American Sleep Medicine Foundation. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine established the foundation to enhance sleep health for all through research, education and humanitarian aid. SCAW’s Debbie Dryden provides this personal update.

“I know who you are - you are the lady who gave me my blankets!”

This simple statement, chirped by a beaming little girl in the dusty schoolyard of the Belapur Primary School, reaffirmed my purpose as a Sleeping Children Around the World volunteer. The girl with the smile as bright as her mother’s sari had received a bedkit last year when we were working in her remote village in India.

The American Sleep Medicine Foundation recognizes the importance of sleep for children. Their mission is to enhance sleep health for all through research, education, and humanitarian aid. Through their Grant to Sleeping Children Around the World, I was back in the villages one year later to see the impact of the bedkit, to talk with the kids, and the parents, and the teachers.

What I heard from these individuals did not surprise me; it was what I have heard over many years in different locations and in different languages as a volunteer for SCAW. The feedback is good, we’re getting it right - the children are sleeping well, their health is good, they are attending school and learning. I shift my questions, trying to pry out new answers; how could it be that a simple bedkit be this good? How much would you pay at the market for this item (more than what our overseas partners have negotiated)? Is there anything you would sell from the bedkit in order to help with other family needs (a vehement “no” to that one). Rephrased, reconfigured, the answers are the same “everything is helpful, everything is good.”

Do they wish for more? Sometimes no, sometimes yes. It makes me happy when there are requests for more. A stronger backpack, more school supplies, a laptop, could we move the medical center closer to their home please? These are not the requests of people who are ungrateful, there is an overwhelming abundance of gratitude expressed; rather, these are the requests of people who are starting to dream big dreams. It seems to me that people are able to dream big when their basic needs are covered, are blanketed in this case. So when I hear the requests for more, it tells me again that we are getting it right by providing the children with their basic human right for a good night’s sleep. The bedkit donations are allowing people to dream in more ways than one.

Read the complete update from SCAW on the ASMF website.