Fourth Gala Diwali Dinner and Dance Honors Families of September 11 Attack Victims

On Sunday, October 21, 2001 Karuna Charities hosted its Annual Diwali fundraiser at Holiday Inn, Gaithersburg, Maryland.  Organized with the talents and energy of dedicated women like president Amrit Kalotra, board members, and volunteers, the glittering event was sold out.

This year, instead of raising funds at the Diwali function for building a resource center for battered women, Karuna Charities helped the families of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by donating the entire net proceeds to the American Red Cross.  This is Karuna's heartfelt way of giving back to America, a little bit of the love and caring that it has showered so freely on its immigrants from South Asia.

This year, Karuna Charities has been active in the following ways:

bulletDonated School Supplies to National Center for Children and Families, Bethesda, Maryland.
bulletDonated almost $10,500 to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake, India.
bulletProvided cash support to the Navrangpura village uplift program targeting local handicraft women workers in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
bulletProvided financial support to a needy woman supported by ASHA, Inc. in the Washington metropolitan area.
bulletHeld the third Karuna Golf Tournament fundraiser.
bulletServed meals and provided toiletries to members of the Helping Hands Shelter in Maryland.
bulletDonated cash, clothes, and blankets, to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake.

The Karuna board consists of, Kanti Singh, vice president; Promila Banik, secretary; Jasbir Sethi, treasurer; Savita Malhotra, joint secretary; and Satya Devi Roy and Bina Dhir, joint treasurers.

The Indian American community in the Washington metro area converged with great enthusiasm for the annual Diwali fund raiser. This year, the delightful and elegant MC, Monika Samtani, Channel 9 reporter and anchor, kept the pace of the auction and entertainment moving smoothly. Superb entertainment was provided in the form of:

bulletA puja dance presented by the Nrityagandha school of Kathak (dancers: Anjana Arora, Aparna Karmarkar, Manjula Kumar, and Renu Prakash)
bulletGroup songs by Meenu Sidhu and group (singers: Kanti Singh, Shukla Khanna, Vibha Nayyar, Satwinder Sidhu, Meera Chopra, Promila Banik, Jalmeen Soni, Brij Ahluwalia, Shashi Arora, Kamlesh Gulati, Sheroo Aggarwal, Sneh Sabrawal, Meenu Sidhu)
bulletMohini's Charm, a dance composed by Jayanti Paine Ganguly of the Konarak Dance School, Herndon (dancers: Shivangi Avasthi, Parul Anjaria)
bulletTraditions in Transition, a fashion pageant produced by Manjula Kumar (partipants: Parul Anjaria, Sujata Avasthi, Shivangi Avasthi, Reeta Bakshi, Geeta Bakshi, Sakshi Bector, Veena Bhatia, Narjis Bhokari Ali, Naureen Butt, Aparna Karmarkar, Chandana Karmarkar, Savita Malhotra, Renu Prakash, Fatima Said).

An auction was held of two round-trip Air India tickets and three autographed photographs donated by Washington's photographer journalist, Padmashiri Rajan Devdas.

The attendees were addressed by president Amrit Kalotra who dedicated the fund raiser to the recovery effort in which every American is engaged.

The Chief Guest, Douglas Duncan, Montgomery County Executive, won everyone hearts by actively participating in encouraging the highest bids for the photo auction. The Special Guest, Aloke Prasad, Deputy Chief of Mission, Indian Embassy praised the efforts of the South Asian women's group for its contributions to the community.  Special Guests Gordon Aoyagi, Administrator of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue struck a poignant note by his remarks about the high-risk rescue work being done by firefighters.  The evening was enlivened by live songs of the D.J., Hemant.  Delicious food was catered by Ashwani and Janak Arora of Natraj Restaurants and Catering.

Karuna thanks all the sponsors, donors, volunteers, and members for making this program successful. The grand sponsors of the event were Air India; Indus Corporation (Shiv and Meena Krishnan); Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Verner Liipfert, Bernhardt, McPherson and Hand Law firm; and Photo Journalist, Rajan Devdas.  Sponsors were Premvir Singh; Sukhdev Singh Darhele; Provincial Real Estate (Sujata Avasti); Manjit Singh, CPA; Daman and Madhu Walia (ARCTECH); and Jyoti Gujral (Professional Planning Associates).  Karuna appreciates the generosity and entusiastic support of Darshan TV, Kaleidoscope of Asia TV, Manoranjan TV (Shashi Aggarwal), Express India, Apple Printers (Param and Jagjit Duggal), and Flags (Anita Mehta).

Greetings for the fundraiser were sent by the Governor of Maryland, Parris N. Glendening and the Secretary of State, John J. Willis as well as by the Lt. Governor of Maryland, Kathleen Townsend Kennedy.   

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