Karuna Charities’ highly anticipated Diwali
fundraiser started off on an elegant note with the Mistress of Ceremonies,
Nilima Mehra (known in Washington as the hostess of Salaam India and
Chitramala, two local television shows) outlining the program that was about
to unfold. She introduced the President of Karuna Charities and Karuna Board
The Chief Guest, Dr. Natwar Gandhi, D.C. Chief
Financial Officer lighted the lamp signifying the movement from darkness to
light and delivered an address on the work of Karuna Charities conducted not
only in the D.C .Metropolitan area but also in India.
Representatives from Montgomery College (Dr.
Sanjay Rai, Interim Vice-President & Provost of the Germantown Campus; Mr.
David Stein, Development Associate Director/Major Gifts Officer), Northern
Virginia Community College (Mr. John Ruffino, Executive Director, NVCC
Educational Foundation) and the University of the District of Columbia (Ms.
Felicia Brant, Executive Director of Development) were special guests at the
event. Mr. Rajeev Rajan, Counselor (Community Affairs) from the Embassy of
India was also present.
Karuna President, Mrs. Amrit Kalotra gave a
welcome address and thanked the donors for supporting Karuna Charities. She
praised the efforts of Karuna Charities that has grown from a small
grass-roots organization of women focused on helping needy women and children
to a mature organization that has distributed nearly $175,000 since its
inception 11 years ago.
Dancers from the Kalanjali School of Folk Dances
performed a variety of dances choreographed by Mrs. Priti Vasavada. The young
performers were: Deepika Sharma, Ruhi Vasavada, Sapna Virdy, Anjali Dalal,
Isha Sharma, Aashvi Vasavada, Palak Desai, and Sarina Dey.
There was a talent contest for youth and another
talent concert for adults. Bhavya Dhingra was the winner of the youth contest
for her flawless Bharat Natyam rendition. Nargis Ali and Sonia Dhingra
together won the adults talent contest with their duet. The winners were
announced by Vice President Mrs. Sujata Avasthi. Ms. Rashmi Sinha, wife of Mr.
Sanjay Sinha, Community Affairs Minister, gave away the prizes.
Karuna Charities particularly wants to thank the
young dancers for yet another beautiful performance. And of course, a special
thank you to Ruhi Vasavada for her last minute participation in the Talent
Contest due to the unavailability of the other contestants because of
unavoidable circumstances. Karuna Charities appreciates Ruhi's gesture which
signifies that she always helps when help is needed.
The raffle draw was one of the most popular items
of the evening. Generous raffle prizes were provided by Holiday Inn
(Gaithersburg), Radiance, Bombay Tandoor restaurant, the Law office of Raja
Bhandari and Zevar Jewelers.
Author Achamma Chandrasekaran autographed her
award-winning book of short stories, “Daughters of Kerala” for Karunites and
donated a portion of the proceeds to Karuna Charity.
Vice President and Treasurer, Mrs. Jasbir Sethi
gave a vote of thanks.
Dinner was catered by Mrs. Rani Varma’s famous
Bombay Tandoor restaurant.
Dinner was followed by dancing to music by DJ
Hemant Kumar and party.
The Diwali committee was committee was composed
of Sneh Sabharwal, Jyoti Gujral, Manji Kohli, Mara Puri, Merrylin Dawson,
Rajni Singh, and Nilima Mehra.
The brochure was produced by Sangita Kalotra,
Puneet Sharma, and Apple Printers.
Karuna thanks all the donors and sponsors for making this fundraiser a
Be sure to attend and help out at the 2010 Diwali Gala!