$70,000 raised to support Kelowna's East Meets West charity

Diwali bash raises $70K

More than $70,000 was raised for the East Meets West Children's Foundation at its annual Diwali dinner in Kelowna on Oct. 19.

Three hundred and twenty people attended the event at Parkinson Rec Centre, along with special guests the Followell family of Mississippi, who adopted daughter Eden, who was rescued by an East Meets West sponsored orphanage in Kolkata.

Eden was abandoned at a train station in 2013, when she was just three days old. Her hands and feet were deformed at birth. She was taken to hospital, where she underwent three major surgeries funded by East Meets West.

The Kelowna-based charity supports the Navajeevan orphanage and Navadiganta home for girls with medical and educational needs, along with a creche or preschool in Krishna Nagar, and a boys orphanage in Mumbai.

It also continues to support 12 babies and toddlers seized in a child trafficking ring in Kolkata.

The charity has also worked with Rotary International and Her International to assist in the building of schools, and locally it supports the autism program at the Starbright Child Development Centre, Karis Support Society and more.

"This year's Diwali dinner was a phenomenal success. We know we can't change the world, but we are trying to make a difference one child at a time. Seeing Eden look healthy and happy makes us happy and makes everything we do so worthwhile," said board chair Mohini Singh.

Fellow board member Sharon Shepherd added: "This is a real team effort with many volunteers that results in such a successful annual sold-out fundraiser. The community continues to support meeting the serious medical needs of children at home and in other countries, particularly India. Children are our future, and their health needs are our priority." 

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