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Thursday 21 March 2019
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Bodacious Gala for St Jude’s Girls

Samara Pantin, make up artist and business woman who recently left 
St Jude’s Home for Girls.
Samara Pantin, make up artist and business woman who recently left St Jude’s Home for Girls.

A "carnival couture gala" for an entrepreneurial workshop for students at the St Jude's Home for Girls, Belmont, is happening tomorrow at Castle Killarney, Maraval Road, Port of Spain.

Bodacious Girls is hosted by the NiNa Young Woman's Leadership Programme, an educational programme that works to empower girls to learn how to create their own businesses.

For the past two years they’ve had a mentorship camp for 12 girls from St Jude’s Home. This is a seven-day residential programme followed by a monthly mentorship programme in which the girls and mentors meet for activities such as motivational discussions, farm visits, stilt-walking and lunch outings.

Patricia Toby, event co-ordinator for Bodacious Girls, said, “At the camp we teach them how to be entrepreneurs. At the end girls have to develop a business and do a pitch. The first-placed person gets seed money."

The winner of the last workshop came up with the idea of an interactive Carnival museum. This sparked the carnival couture idea for the next workshop. At the gala, traditional characters will entertain the audience. Castle Killarney also has a Carnival exhibition running and guests will have access. There will be live entertainment from Freetown Collective, guitarist Marva Newton and violinist Danicia Morris. The girls from St Jude's will make a speech to tell the audience how they have benefited from the camp.

“We want to introduce the public to what we do with the girls so we could get help. We don’t have any funding. The first thing we have to do is this gala and put it out there for awareness," Toby said.

Danicia Morris is a sixth form student of Bishop Anstey High School who won the 2018 NiNa Young Entrepreneur’s Pitch competition with her app, Duple which connects musicians and event planners. She is also a violinist and member of the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. She’ll be performing at Bodacious Girls.

Toby said the NiNa Programme has been supported by the organiser Akousa Dardaine Edwards' close friends but hopes the gala will help raise awareness of their cause and get further funding. She said the NiNa Programme hopes to provide support to the girls after they turn 18 and have to leave St Jude’s.

Eighteen-year-old Samara Pantin is one such person. She's works at a store in Trincity Mall, and a couple of weeks ago did President Paula-Mae Weekes' make-up, thanks to the NiNa Programme.

At the beginning of February the President invited students of the NiNa Programme to her office in St Ann’s, where she met Pantin, found out about her budding make-up business – and invited her to do her make-up.

“It’s huge!" Pantin told Newsday. "I'm excited. She said she wants eyebrows like mine, and I told her I do make up part-time, and she asked me if I could do her make-up, and I said yes,"

The President did not disclose the occasion Pantin was glamming her up for, but Pantin hopes the President was pleased with her work.

Last year Pantin was part of the NiNa Programme's entrepreneur workshop. She said of her own business, "It’s really small. I’ve been doing it for two years now. I’m self-taught. I haven’t had schooling, but learnt from YouTube, and then I would go and practise on other people."

Bodacious Girls starts at 6 pm tomorrow. Tickets are still available. Anyone interested can go to the Facebook event page Bodacious Girl Gala 2019.

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