When Haitians started their day about a decade ago, they could not have imagined the devastation that was going to befall their country. As the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck, more than 220,000 lives were claimed. The quake, (one of the deadliest natural disasters on record), ruined much of the country’s delicate infrastructure and left many Haitians in dire need of help.
The said tragedy, however, brought Fedly Bonneau and Austin Gideon Adobasome- Anne, a deep sense to stand with the needy, and they strived to see how they could contribute to make the world a better place for others. When they met in Tamale, Ghana in 2012, they formed a partnership to achieve what has become Sustainability Developmental Goal #3, based on the UN’s humanitarian list, —ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages.
With this in mind, seeing so many people languishing in illnesses and not having access to proper healthcare, they thought of a way to be part of the solution, which resulted in the formation of Bottles 4 Life, Inc. (B4L) – a non-profit organization in 2013. Even before its conception, they were already involved in doing health teachings in Ghana, speaking on radio programs (with the topic –is what you’re eating, eating you), and conducting health screenings in small villages.
Also, B4L established a plan to have sustainability. They realized that if people recycled plastic bottles in the US, they could, in turn, save the planet and donate towards the organization. Recycling is also a tool used in the communities they work in. This initiative allows support to people who want to recycle instead of throwing everything away. In Mae sot, for instance, blue recycle bins were put in various restaurants and other places. When the bins were full of recyclable items, they then received calls to pick them. The communities, as well, who are the beneficiaries of B4L services, participated in this endeavor by collecting these recyclable materials, then bring them to the recycling center. Indeed! This platform inspires the locals who were already the recipient of compassion, to not just leave and say thank you, but help carry the agenda forward in making even just a corner of the earth cleaner than it should.
In addition to that, since 2018, B4L has been working along the Thai-Myanmar border to facilitate access to medical treatment. They were able to achieve this by converting a donated 1997 Toyota van into an ambulance, which provides free transportation (to and from medical facilities), to anyone in need. The bulk of patients transported by B4L are undocumented Burmese migrants. There’s a big need for this means as that is the main reason why most migrant workers do not seek medical attention. The price of a taxi is almost half a day’s wages for some. Others are afraid they will be caught at a checkpoint by police officers (because they don’t have proper documentation to be in Thailand), while a number of them are living in remote areas, that’s why they don’t bother trying to have their health checked. By partnering with local clinics and villages, B4L is just a call away whenever one needs a drive to the medical center.
Although transportation is the focus for B4L here in Mae sot, the team had all been able to provide packed vegetarian meals to parents in the general hospital whose children were admitted to the intensive care unit. Such provision did not only alleviate the want for food but also, it gave awareness on embracing a nutritious practice. Afterward, praying for the sick on their beds with their families was received with bliss, and to say that they were grateful would be an understatement.
Best of all, to furnish education is one of its noblest aims. Knowledge is power, so to speak, and those who were blessed by this pursuit were the 44 preschoolers in Myawaddy, Myanmar. They were taught about reading, writing, proper hygiene, and a healthy diet. Inculcating health guidelines at a young age will give a fair chance of embracing the said principles, which can stay with them for a lifetime. This learning medium, as well, bridged B4L to the children’s families and communities, which was an opportunity to widen the influence about a lifestyle that brings vigor and satisfaction.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2