This week and next, 64 Reckitt Benckiser employees from 33 different countries are arriving in Brazil for this year’s RB Global Challenge in aid of Save the Children.
31 of them are already well under way with the Community Challenge in Petrolina, north-east Brazil.
The team, along with the trekkers who will arrive next week, has raised nearly £300,000 for Save the Children over the past nine months.
Some of these funds are being used to renovate and rebuild two creches in the Joao de Deus community of Petrolina.
Below two of the Community Challenge volunteers recount their first day:
Mmalorato Mabaso, NPS Manger for Reckitt Benckiser South Africa:
“I used to think I understand the word diversity when I referred to diverse in the context of my beautiful country – South Africa.
“Coming to Petrolina – a remote village in Brazil has changed my understanding of the word in a broad way.
“Participants came from every corner of the world – South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Dubai, US, UK and every where you can think of.
“The passion, commitment, team spirit and the energy is awesome. The thirteen to thirty hours of travel did not dampen any one spirit. The team came together with one goal in mind – ‘Bring hope to children’.
“This was observed in the way in which despite hard labour and unfavourable weather – everyone persisted in finishing the tasks on hand. The day started with group being split into two teams. The Joao Paulo team was amazing.
“Different emotions and reactions were observed when the co-ordinator gave a brief review of the state that the crèche was in before the project started. That even fuelled the passion to over deliver on the project.
“A welcome note was done by the Secretary of education and she expressed her appreciation for what the team was about to do.
“After a brief review of what had to be done for the day, everyone got their hands and feet dirty. The tasks on hand were weeding, sanding, digging and painting.
Oh what a memorable experience.”
Martin Ridgers, works at RB Nottingham.:
“Today was our first day working on the creches. As we arrived there was a little apprehension between the challengers.
“Not knowing what to expect perhaps. What was immediately obvious was the poverty of the area that the creches are situated in.
“The difference our work was going to make to the children cannot be exaggerated. After a quick guide around the creche we all got straight to work.
“We were all really eager to start and got off at a quick pace, quickly realising that if we were going to last the duration in the heat and humidity, then we would need to slow down a little.
“Work was plentiful and we all worked brilliantly as a team (The RB way of course!). From my experience, this first day was a real eye opener as to just how much we take for granted.
“Everyone appreciates the work we are doing in the creches; it makes it feel that bit more special knowing you’re making a real difference.
“We even got free coffee from a local supermarket next to the creche. A small gesture perhaps, but a very humbling one!”
We all returned to the hotel weathered, dirty and sweaty…. A good days’ work I’d say!’