THE RapidFire Kidz Foundation (RKF) was established in 2012 with the intention of assisting underprivileged children throughout the country.
Eight years later, founder and president attorney Kevin Ratiram has not failed to deliver on that mandate.
Ratiram and a team of equally committed men and women have been bringing joy to children shut in at the San Fernando General Hospital over those years.
Courtesy its Eyes Right programme, RKF has also given the gift of improved sight to many children whose parents could not afford to buy them a pair of spectacles.
Through its many fundraising projects and from the generous donations of individuals and corporate citizens, taking children from orphanages to eco and other tourism sites, and treating even more at Christmas and Easter have become a norm.
One of the more laudable projects, to date, has been the establishment of a playpark at Palmiste Park.
With the unprecedented covid19 pandemic and the suffering of people, especially the migrant community from Venezuela who are now without work and barely able to care for their children, RKF in conjunction with the Presbyterian Church (PCTT) expanded its outreach to this group.
Last month, RKF extended a helping hand to the La Romaine Migrant Support (LARMS) group which was established in March 2019 by Roman Catholic priest Monsignor Christian Pereira, Marsha De Caires, Livia Rincon and Gitanjali Angie Ramnarine.
Hampers were presented by the church on April 17 and by RKF on April 21.
Ramnarine, who is co-ordinator of LARMS, said the group was originally established at the St Benedict’s RC Church, La Romaine, to create a friendly space for children traumatised by their sudden uprooting from their native Venezuela. However, it soon turned into catering to the social, educational and psychological needs of the children and helping their parents to find jobs.
“Fr Pereira has been the backbone of LARMS, the golden key that opened the door to a safe space which we have now outgrown,” Ramnarine said.
Venezuelan native Sarah Garcia, who serves as chairman of RKF’s hamper donation committee, said many migrant families, especially Venezuelans, are in dire need of assistance due to the stay-at-home measure and workplaces closed.
“Many migrants live from day to day, often depending on small income from domestic and construction jobs
“Most have no savings and are unable to access state grants. They are in a perilous situation, especially those with kids.”
Garcia encouraged others to assist, no matter how little or how much one could afford.
Vice president of RKF is Presbyterian Moderator Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan."The PCTT has always had a preference for the poor and marginalised because of its history of indentureship,” Abdul-Mohan said.
“Thus, in fulfilling its mission beyond the walls of the church, the PCTT since April 2019 initiated a Migrant Support Group as part of its social responsibility and outreach efforts.
“Since then, the church has been assisting the Venezuelan migrants through the provision of basic necessities. There is an ongoing "food bank" that is replenished as often as needed in collaboration with other stakeholders such as the RKF.
“In this time of crisis, we are called to unite more than ever, to assist our sisters and brothers in need.”
Ratiram said it was a privilege to lend a helping hand in these trying times and that the work of the foundation was far from finished.
Ramnarine expressed deepest gratitude to the church and RKF “for your magnanimous gesture of support to the migrant/refugee communities in this time of pandemic.”