Buffalonians don’t just go out of their way to help each other, they also keep a global perspective of where help is needed. Occasional Rise writer Vilona Trachtenberg is affiliated with ICA and helping with their efforts here.

Local non-profit, International Child Advancement (ICA) will host their third annual Empowered Fashion Show Fundraiser, except this year it will be virtual. The event will showcase an original collection, hand made and presented by the orphans they support at the GUAOA orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It will take place on Saturday, May 15th 2021 and is in efforts to help raise $10,000. The money will be used to fund the purchase of a small building to house vocational training at the orphanage, as well as additional equipment needed for their sewing, computer, and agriculture programs.


“We really want to showcase the success of the children we support,” said Evelyn Kessler, Founder and Executive Director of ICA. “So many children in the DRC don’t have access to an education and our vocational training not only gives them this access, but also teaches them valuable skills that set them up for a better life. The children in our sewing program are insanely talented, and we hope to empower them further by providing them with an opportunity to show their work outside of the orphanage.”

To support the local community as well, ICA is partnering with two black, women-owned boutiques for the show — The Restyle Loft and Ms. Eye Candy. Both are based in WNY and will showcase items from collections they carry. You will be able to shop their stylized looks following the event, in addition to pieces from the orphanage. Attendees will also enjoy a musical performance by Henri Star, concert violinist, accompanied by students from his Muhammad School of Music.

Early Bird ticket purchasers in the Buffalo area will receive a complimentary charcuterie box from Meet and Eat Charcuterie, a cocktail kit from TABS by O, and a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. To purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or for additional information visit www.childadvancement.org.

About International Child Advancement (ICA): International Child Advancement is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Amherst, NY. Founded in 2016, ICA supports orphaned children in the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through educational sponsorship, vocational training, and mentoring. ICA also assists refugee and underprivileged children locally in the WNY area.