Headlines      Issue Released December 15, 2004


Chhamaka chhama chhamke: These bewitching Christmas revellers were part of the crowd shaking their angoori badan to the rhythms of that very popular Jaanwar hit just before consenting to pose for this exclusive Indo Caribbean World shot. The occasion was the Annual Christmas Dinner and Dance of the Canadian Indo Caribbean Association (CICA) of Hamilton held at the Bombay Palace Banquet Hall last Saturday. The 200-odd guests of the CICA comprising adults and kids of all ages were in an electrifying mood throughout the evening. And why not? They were treated to a fare of delectable foods, an inviting family atmosphere, entertaining and irresistible dance music and an ambience that was both cosy and congenial. Numerous door prizes donated by individuals and organizations were distributed with great fanfare in a hilarious atmosphere. The success of the event could be measured by the fact that when the bar was closed and the music turned off very few people were willing to exit the premises. 

Pix by Prakash Audho

The Canadian Hindu Arts & Cultural Society (CHACS) presented a cheque for $5100 to the Credit Valley Hospital Foundation from the proceeds of its Fundraising Diwali Gala Dinner. CHACS is involved in promoting the Hindu culture and has started the first full time academic Hindu school one year ago. The school caters for kids 2 1/2 - 6 years old. Sara Balkissoon, CHACS PRO said the gift to the Hospital was in keeping with CHACS philosophy of giving back to the community. In picture above, CHACS President Mr. Nirvan Balkissoon (center left) and Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Sarah Balkissoon (center right) present the cheque to the President of Credit Valley Hospital Mr Wayne Fyffe and Mrs.Mridula Joiner, Campaign Director Credit Valley Hospital.



The gift of

a lifetime

By Camille Ross

This Christmas, The Caribbean Children’s Foundation (TCCF) gave Vergina Seeram the greatest Christmas gift a child could ask for: good health and happiness.

Vergina, 11, underwent surgery two weeks ago at the Hospital for Sick Kids. Doctors successfully operated on the hole found behind the glands in her neck.

The $25,000 surgery has left Vergina feeling healthy for the first time in years. She left Vreed-en-Hoop, Guyana, for Canada after undergoing three operations in five months.

Vergina’s parents first noticed the problem when she was five years old, that her neck swelled on-and- off regularly. The hole gradually released small particles of food and liquid near her glands, causing the swelling and infections.

Her father, Devanand Seeram, said the doctors and nurses in Guyana did everything they could to help her. But a lack of proper medical equipment impeded them from pinpointing the problem.

Now, two weeks after Vergina’s surgery in Toronto, she says she feels alright but misses Guyana, where her mother, two younger brothers and her sister anticipate her arrival. Before she can return home for Christmas, the doctors have scheduled further blood tests for her on December 23. Vergina’s father hopes they can catch a flight back to Guyana in time for Christmas.

Seeram said his daughter seems fine from the outside, but he cannot be sure whether she’s fully recovered on the inside. "She has been her normal self, walking around, playing Nintendo and practising her math and spelling" he said.

He added, "we are all so thankful to TCCF for everything they’ve done." Seeram said Vergina had been in and out of school and separated from her friends for so long due to her sickness. He hopes she will be able to lead a healthy and normal life from now on.

The President of TCCF, Jay Brijpaul, is happy the Foundation could successfully assist Vergina. "A guardian angel found that precious girl," he said.

Little Vergina was TCCF’s 7th and final patient for 2004. This number is an accomplishment compared to the three operations they funded during the Foundation's first year, said Brijpaul. In four years they’ve helped save 23 children.

To date, supporters of TCCF have donated a total of $475,000. The foundation has no administrative costs, so every single dollar has gone to saving the lives of children from the Caribbean.

When asked whether she wanted to stay in Canada, Vergina, a very honest little girl, responded "No! I want to go home now, I miss it."

In the next week, Vergina will be crossing her fingers with the hope that she’ll be on a plane ride home before Christmas so she can re-unite with her little brothers and her sister whom she said she misses.




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