Seven more Guyanese children treated in India

In the past 14 months, from September 2005 to November 2006, through the generosity of Guyanese-Canadians across Canada and the Sikh Community of Toronto, Three Rivers Kids Foundation, a registered charitable organization in Ontario, in collaboration with The Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG), was able to help 22 children (19 from Guyana and 3 from India) receive medical treatment in India to correct serious heart defects .

The most recent group of seven children from Guyana and one from India were treated in New Delhi in November 2006. Their names are Ravindra Persaud from Essequibo, Safeerah Allicock from Essequibo, Monika Singh from Unity, Cherry Ann Martin from Berbice, Harish Kumar from Berbice, Joshua Henry from Rumveilt, and Shaneeeza Khan from Berbice. The children range in age from 22 months to 13 years. Six of the seven children had open heart surgery to correct serious heart defects. One child had part of his left lung removed, and one child had eye surgery as well as open heart surgery. The child from India whom we assisted was adopted.

The group arrived in Delhi on October 28th, 2006. The children were all admitted to hospital upon arrival. Surgeries commenced on Monday, October 30th. However, two of the surgeries were delayed because one child had a fungal infection of the skin and another child had scabies. These conditions had to be treated first before surgery could be performed. Post operative recovery was uneventful and the last child was discharged from the hospital on Sunday, November 10th. The group returned to Guyana on November 18th, 2006 all in very good health and new leases on life. Three Rivers Kids Foundation supplied all the children with their entire course of medications for the post operative period.

Jeanette Singh a Registered Nurse and President of Three Rivers Kids Foundation accompanied the group to India. She stayed with the group until their return to Guyana.

Safeerah, one of the children in the group, celebrated her 2nd birthday on November 2nd, 2006. This was no ordinary birthday. Safeerah has congenital rubella syndrome and as a result of this developed severe cataracts in both eyes. She could perceive changes in light levels but could see nothing else. Two weeks after having open heart surgery to close a very large ventricular septal defect, Safeerah underwent eye surgery to remove the cataract. It is beyond explanation to describe the feelings and emotions when this child waved at the staff 24 hours after having eye surgery as she was being discharged from hospital. For the first time in her young life, she was able to see.

The cardiac surgeries were performed by peadiatric cardiac surgeon Dr. Anil Bhan and peadiatric cardiologist Dr. Viresh Mahajan. Dr. Meera Luttra did the pneumonectomy and Dr. Sanjay Dhawan did the eye surgery. The children were all treated at Max Devi Devki Heart and Vascular Institute, in Saket, New Delhi. The costs for all eight surgeries were $25,420 Canadian Dollars. The cost of the airfares for the children and their mothers from Georgetown to India was $22,790 Canadian Dollars.

Three Rivers Kids Foundation has many poor and sick children from Guyana who are waiting for much needed treatment. The Foundation is planning to take the next group of children from Guyana to India for treatment in 2007. Dave Pahuja and Indy Singh, both born in Punjab, India and living in Toronto have made a commitment to the Three Rivers Kids Foundation to sponsor one child each from Guyana every year. For our last trip, Mr. Pahuja sponsored Safeerah Alicock, and Mr. Singh paid for part of the airfares for the entire group. The cost for sponsoring a child is about $6,000 Canadian Dollars. This amount will cover the surgical costs and the airfare for the child. The Foundation is appealing to the Guyanese business community across Canada to help us by sponsoring a child a year. Sponsorship can be done individually or as a group.

The Foundation gratefully acknowledges the assistance from BWIA for reducing the cost of the airfares, the British High Commissioner in Guyana for waiving the charges for the UK visas, Dave Pahuja, Indy Singh, Dr. Gavin Jagan, Dolly Sukhdeo from Ottawa, CIOG, Surjit Singh from Air India, Delhi, Faizul Haniff from Comfort Inn, UK, Richard Aziz from Shabnam Radio, Archie from Hawiian Artic, Pandit Lokhnauth Misir from New York, Pandit Bhola Misir and members from Shiva Shankar Bhawan, Pandit Bram Jairam of the Panorama TV Program, G. Prasad of Caribbean Oriental Foods, and to everyone who donated their time and money to make this mission possible. Special thanks to Taiwo Stuart from BWIA and Roy Van Tholl from CIOG, both from Georgetown, Guyana.

For more information about our next mission or to make a donation, please call Jeanette Singh at 905 891 6149 or visit our website at . Donations can be mailed to Three Rivers Kids Foundation, 1531 Kenmuir Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario L5G 4B6.

The Foundation’s inaugural trip to India was made in September 2005. At that time four children from Guyana were taken for treatment. In April 2006, another 10 children were treated. Three Rivers Kids Foundation is proud to announce that in a 13 month span, from September 2005 to October 2006, they would have given a total of 22 children (19 from Guyana and 3 from India) a chance to live normal lives.

Three Rivers Kids Foundation has virtually no administration costs. All its board members are volunteers. There are no expenses such as rent, heating, water, electrical, etc — this means is that every dollar that is donated to the organization goes directly to helping these children.

The Foundation is appealing to those who have not yet sent in their pledges to kindly do so. All donations should be sent to: Three Rivers Kids Foundation, 1531 Kenmuir Avenue, Mississauga, Ontario L5G 4B6. Tel: 905 891 6149. There are hundreds of children waiting for our help. Tax receipts will be issued.