Organization holds packed charity event for orphan Filipino children

Maya Rowencak, founder of Maya's Hope

Maya Rowencak, founder of Maya’s Hope

On Tuesday, June 11th Maya’s Hope held a charity event and exclusive screening of Todd Kellstein’s documentary “Buffalo Girls,” depicting the lives of two 8-year-old professional Muay Thai fighters in Thailand.

The event, organized by FilAm-Ukrainian Maya Rowencak, raised awareness about the struggles of children abroad. She founded Maya’s Hope, a non-profit organization that helps provide sponsorship for impoverished children in the Philippines, and funds for medical emergencies for special-needs orphans in the Ukraine.

The audience watched in fascination and sorrow as the story of the two little girls that had to fight to earn a living for their families unfolded. When the film ended, Maya explained that as sad as the girls’ situations were, the children that Maya’s Hope sponsors in Ukraine and the Philippines do not even have the option to earn such a living as fighters to escape a life of poverty. But she said she considers all those children as “fighters because of what they face every day.”

The Mercedes Club in Midtown West was packed with more than 100 attendees, including Consul Zaldy Patron, a friend of Maya.

The event concluded with a surprise presentation featuring Square Circle New York, a Muay Thai gym in the Financial District. The gym is a proud sponsor and is owned by Beatrice Fiedorowicz and Rob Rogan, who both have close ties to Maya’s Hope. Rogan is Filipino and Fiedorowicz spent her childhood summers in Zaporozhia, Ukraine.

Guests entering the luxurious Mercedes Club were greeted with pink and glittering adornments, the most conspicuous of which were the voluminous bouquets of bright magenta balloons. As the line quickly grew, volunteers scrambled to check off names, stamp hands, and manage the concession stand, where popcorn and mango and lychee flavored jelly snacks were sold.

The crowd was then invited to the spacious outdoor deck where guests could observe Muay Thai fighters train and learn more about the Thai martial art. After one last thank you from Maya, many guests stayed to fill out pledge cards for Maya’s Hope or place their contributions in the glass jar.

The audience enjoying a treat of popcorn and Muay Thai demonstration (below). Photos by Melanie McLean

The audience enjoying a treat of popcorn and Muay Thai demonstration (below). Photos by Melanie McLean

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