By Afreen Zaman (YES 2013-2014, Bangladesh, hosted by AFS in San Antonio, TX)
Winter Clothes Drive 2017 was an initiative to collect blankets and clothing items from individuals and institutions through donations and then distribute them to an underprivileged community so they could keep warm during the winter. YES alumni Al Faruque Ratul (YES 2010-2011) and Afreen Zaman coordinated the clothing drive. On December 21st, four YES alumni traveled with Wasi Mahmud Moni (program director) and Mahmudun Nabi (external volunteer) to Bhaolar Haat, Thakurgaon. On December 22nd, the YES alumni team traveled to the site of the project in Bhaolar Haat where they were greeted by the former chairman of the village and their host for the day. The group set up the banner and organized the materials for easy distribution. The beneficiaries were chosen beforehand by the local organizers and given tokens to hand in in-order-to receive the provisions. The local organizers and the two coordinators gave brief commencement speeches and explained the clothing donation process to the villagers. Each recipient collected a blanket, and clothing items and accessories according to their needs. 50 underprivileged household benefited from the clothing drive!
There were a few closing remarks by the authorities and a certificate ceremony for the dedicated volunteers. The local organizers were presented with YES Alumni Bangladesh mugs as a show of gratitude. The volunteers started their return to Dhaka on the night of December 22nd and reached their destination soundly on the morning of December 23rd. The local community provided great support during the project and made it a success!