Skye lecturer hosts online auction for UK foodbanks and Indian resilience centre

A college lecturer on Skye is running an online charity auction today to help raise funds for food banks in the UK and a project in India close to her heart.

The auction which is being held on Facebook has around 20 unique handmade items, which have been kindly donated by creative people who live all around Scotland.

Originally from Shetland, Layla Sawford moved to Portree in January to work for the University of the Highlands and Islands.

She is currently volunteering with Skye Community Response and helping to fundraise for the Centre of Resilience in Bihar in India, among other projects.

Layla worked with the directors of the Centre of Resilience – Kumar Prashant and Benjamin Reid-Howells – last summer and spent three months in India last winter.

During that time she visited the centre which is in the fourth poorest state in India, Bihar.

Bihar was historically the educational epicentre of India, however, it suffers from floods and droughts, cases of extreme poverty, and wide-spread disease – but people, like Kumar Prashant, are working tirelessly to elevate this state out of poverty.

Kumar Prashant travelled with his friend Ben from India to Scotland by motorcycle helping multiple humanitarian initiatives along the way. The motorcycle journey took them 3 years.

As one of the very first projects, before leaving India, they built a self-sustainable house together entirely from waste.

Kumar is now living in this house and working with the local population to create grassroots projects that can provide jobs, and a steady income, to people in the surrounding village.

Speaking to the Free Press Layla said: “Many creative individuals I spoke with when the pandemic first hit felt like they would like to help those less fortunate than themselves but they weren’t quite sure how to.

“I decided to create the auction to allow creative people to donate any items they would like and use the auction as a platform to promote their wonderful work.

“I made the call-out amongst friends initially but I have now had donations from a number of individuals outside of my immediate friend circle.

“The auction items include; a beautiful ash bowl from Shetland, a handmade serenity stone from Skerray in the north of Scotland, signed copies of CDs from The Peatbog Faeries’ Ross Couper and a patchwork made by a Greek Ambassadors wife interned in Germany in WW2.”

The auction is taking place today (Sunday 5th July) and runs until 10 pm.

Bids should be placed on the event page on Facebook which can be accessed by clicking here.

Layla added: “Those who would not like to purchase any items, but would still like to donate, can still give monetary donations – no matter how big or small!”

Fifty per cent of the funds raised will go to food banks in the UK – it will be the makers choice to specify which foodbank – and the remaining 50 per cent will go to the Centre of Resilience in Bihar.