Advertisement

Mississippi family to speak at Okanagan-based charity event

Click to play video 'The Followells adopted Eden from India over four years ago, and are in Kelowna to speak at a local fundraiser.' The Followells adopted Eden from India over four years ago, and are in Kelowna to speak at a local fundraiser.
An American family from Mississippi is in the Okanagan to speak about the East Meets West Children’s Foundation. The family will speak at a fundraiser on Saturday – Oct 18, 2019

The East Meets West Children’s Foundation annual Diwali dinner dance fundraiser will have a special guest speaker this Saturday in Kelowna.

The Followell family has made its way from Mississippi to share its adoption testimony at the fundraiser.

East Meets West Children’s Foundation assists orphaned children, both globally and locally.

READ MORE: Adopted woman finds answers about her roots after Quebec opens up adoption records

“We try to provide the basic necessities, food, shelter,” said East Meets West Children’s Foundation board member Kam Boparai.

“There are a lot of children that sometimes are found and they might just need a surgery or medical attention that we help provide.”

The foundation is not an adoption agency, but it pays for surgeries and medical procedures for orphans in India, which helps some children better find a permanent home.

Story continues below advertisement

“When a child is brought to the orphanage, then it’s requested by us that this is the surgery they would need, or this is the medical attention they would need,” said Boparai.

“And as board, we would vote and see if it’s something we can provide.”

Click to play video '‘It was emotionally draining’: Ottawa family struggling with infertility tries to adopt from Pakistan' ‘It was emotionally draining’: Ottawa family struggling with infertility tries to adopt from Pakistan
‘It was emotionally draining’: Ottawa family struggling with infertility tries to adopt from Pakistan – Aug 9, 2019

It’s what made it possible for the family to adopt their daughter, Eden, from India more than four years ago.

“It wasn’t until we met Eden, about three years of paperwork and processing through the adoption journey that we realized there was this other entity which had been involved in her life,” said dad Robby Followell.

East Meets West’s Children’s Foundation paid for three surgeries while Eden was still in India to help with her hand, feet and leg deformities.

Story continues below advertisement

“So the surgeries that East Meets West funded really helped to straighten out her legs and give her the function of walking,” said mom Jessica Followell.

Click to play video 'Couple’s adoption dreams crushed after mom fakes pregnancy' Couple’s adoption dreams crushed after mom fakes pregnancy
Couple’s adoption dreams crushed after mom fakes pregnancy – Jan 9, 2019

Jessica and Robby are expected to speak at the Diwali Fundraiser on Oct. 19.

 “It’s based on the theme of Diwali, which is the festival of lights,” said treasurer Biki Kochher, “It includes dinner dance, silent auction, live auction, giving donations, dancing the night away.”

This event raises thousands of dollars for the surgeries and has done well enough to help other charities.

Click to play video 'Unwed mothers forced to give up babies: A shameful period for Canada' Unwed mothers forced to give up babies: A shameful period for Canada
Unwed mothers forced to give up babies: A shameful period for Canada – Jul 19, 2018

“We typically raise about $70,000 in one evening,” said Kochher.

Story continues below advertisement

The Karis Support society and the Starbright Children’s Development Centre have both benefited from the event.

While tickets for the event are sold out, donations can always be made online.