Dean & Wood Supports an Adventure to Ecuador

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Published: 09 November 2016


Olivia Hawkins - Dean & Wood
Olivia Hawkins
Refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler Dean & Wood, recently supported a student’s humanitarian and conservation expedition to Ecuador.

​Olivia Hawkins (17) is a student studying maths, philosophy, law and geography at Bedford Sixth Form College. She had a dream to go on an expedition to South America and needed to raise funds to make this happen.

Every year students travel to developing countries of the world to help local people and communities with projects important to them. Students travel to Ecuador to help prevent deforestation, improve and protect safe drinking water supplies and to protect the local biodiversity. During the expedition students have the opportunity to travel around and explore their host country.​

Fund raising activities

​However, it is no picnic for students who want to travel to Ecuador on the expedition. Olivia had to raise £5,000 to go on the month-long adventure, which took place in July and August 2016. To raise the money, Olivia organised a range of fund raising activities including bag packs, mufti days, discos, and enterprise days.

Working hard to raise the funds for the expedition had secondary benefits for Olivia. 
​“Whilst fundraising, I have also gained a phenomenal amount of life skills and experiences that will be incredibly beneficial to me throughout my future career,” she stated. 
 
“Some of these include organisational skills when arranging activities and the use of communication skills whilst organising my events was key to their success.”

More than skills

​It was not just new skills that Olivia developed in the build-up to her trip.
​“My overall confidence has grown remarkably throughout my fundraising experience. I have managed to strengthen my resilience and realised in times of struggle that I had gone too far to give up. My overall attitude has become more proactive and my drive, determination and enthusiasm has helped me to make the best possible decisions.”
​Dean & Wood supported Olivia with a donation to her fund for the trip. The wholesaler was impressed by her energy and enthusiasm. Nick Kilner, Head of Dean & Wood, said: 
​“By Dean & Wood helping projects such as Olivia’s, we aim to encourage young people into industry and develop the communication and leadership skills of our future generations.”
 
“You need confidence to organise and raise funds for challenging projects. When people like Olivia succeed it makes them well-rounded individuals who will be ideal candidates for future employment.”

The projects

Olivia Hawkins in Ecuador
​Olivia started her adventure in Puerto Rico on the Pacific Coast, building a child development centre for three communities containing 600 people. They also built a playground for the local school, helped to plant trees in an environmental centre, as well as cleaning up the villages and nearby beaches. 

In the next stage, Olivia went to the Galapagos Islands where she snorkelled and swam with dolphins, sharks and turtles. 

Following this, Olivia was in the mountains 3,800 metres above sea level where she and her group helped to refurbish a school, build an allotment and a community kitchen. In the newly-built kitchen, she learnt to cook local food, including a guinea pig. It would have been an opportunity missed if she had not learnt to play the panpipes, which she duly did. 

Finally, Olivia went into the Amazon rainforest where she helped to build a tourist bungalow, toilets for the locals and refurbished a community centre. She also helped to build a playground and learnt carpentry skills. 

​Olivia summed up her trip:
​“This journey has given me an experience of a lifetime. I managed to get so much out of this trip and look forward to many more in the future!”
​She concluded:
​“Thanks to Dean & Wood, my employability skills have strengthened and I have really come out of my shell. By wearing the Dean & Wood t-shirts during the trip people from Ecuador asked about the company and commented on their generosity and foresight.”

“I have improved socially, mentally, and physically. My problem solving and organisational skills have also improved and I have become more appreciative of the way we live and how lucky we are in comparison to others. Not only has the trip given me an unforgettable experience, the fund-raising from planned events and hard work has helped me to reach my goal. 

“Thank you Dean & Wood for being so supportive and helping me during my journey!”