On Monday 4th December, 700 British teddy bears were donated to refugee children in Northern Uganda as Christmas presents by World Vision and their collaborative partners: Kenya Airways, Swissport, and Bolloré Logistics.
The 6,000 mile journey began back in the summer outside of London's St Paul's Cathedral, where all 700 teddy bears first came together. The flash-mob of bears outside of the Cathedral organised by The International Children's Charity, World Vision UK, performed a sit-down stunt on the steps of the cathedral, as an attempt to highlight the struggle children in South Sudan face when fleeing the countries conflict. With raging conflicts still in circulation, thousands of struggling children continue to cross the border into Uganda. Many of the children are lost, alone, sick or spilt from their parents.
The 6,000 mile journey began in Milton Keynes, where all 700 bears were transported to Uganda by Kenya Airways. Throughout the journey, World Vision gained public support through tweets, Facebook share and Instagram posts using "#BearsOnStairs" with the aim to bring social awareness and support to the sufferings in South Sudan and Uganda.
On December 4, World Vision's star teddy bear, and leading bear on social media 'Precious' reached the Imvepi refugee settlement. The teddy bears will be played by many children at World Visions 31 Child Friendly Spaces in the settlements. These dedicated spaces provide the young people with a safe place to play, to gain basic education, engage in peace-building activities, learn about their rights and protection, and steadily recover from distress.
Paul Sitnam, World Vision Response Director, Northern Uganda said: "Children at our centres were so happy and excited to welcome Precious and her furry friends. These children have already gone through so much - it's heart-warming for them to know they are not forgotten, especially during the festive period. We're very grateful to people in the UK who donated these bears. Thanks to them, Christmas has come a little early for children here!"
Stuart Innes, Managing Director of the UK joined forces with World Vision to assist with the transfer from Entebbe, Uganda to the Settlement in Uganda, ensuring safe delivery of the bears. Stuart sent a special thank you to those who have helped ensuring smooth delivery: "From my side thanks to the Team in London led by Graeme Cann and to the guys in Uganda, Craig Lentz, Oliver Wells, thank you and please pass on our gratitude to your teams there".
Jacquelyn Udeh PR Executive from World Visions sent special thanks to Bolloré Logistics for all their help in ensuring the bears arrived safely in Uganda:
"I JUST WANTED TO SAY A HUGE 'THANK YOU' TO GRAEME, STUART AND THE TEAM FOR THE SAFE DELIVERY OF THE BEARS."