Karuna Charities 15th Annual Diwali Gala was held on Sunday, November 17, 2013. The event was well- attended by over 250 supporters.
The Chief Guest from the Indian Embassy, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu expressed his deep appreciation for Karuna Charities work in the Washington area to help the underprivileged in India, the U.S. and around the world. He noted that it is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving that is the core of charity.
A warm welcome address by Mrs. Amrit Kalotra, President of Karuna Charities described the difference that the charity has made in people’s lives. Started 15 years ago, this charity helps support battered women and their families in Montgomery County, MD and Fairfax County, VA. Karuna’s education grants at NOVA Community College, VA; Montgomery College, MD; the University of the District of Columbia (UDC); and the Universities at Shady Grove, MD and have helped needy students from all communities. Karuna Charities is also involved in community service. The Karuna group engaged in this work looks after the needs of various shelters and orphanages, and prepares hot meals for the homeless.
Hands-on community work is conducted annually by the board members and friends of Karuna at the Missionaries of Charity during Diwali and at the D.C. Shelter around Thanksgiving/Christmas. Karuna, with its 150 members has distributed $300,000 to the needy. Part of the funds collected from this year’s fundraiser will go to the victims of Hurricane Haiyan in the Philippines.
The entertainment began with an energizing dance medley by the students of the Kalanjali Dance School.
Vigorous dancing and music set the tone for an exciting auction of an Air India ticket to India. The bid belonged to Mr. Kapoor. The auction was followed by a talent contest. The guests voted young Shivani Prakash best female singer. Her confident presentation of “Rangilo Maaro Dholna” won the hearts of the audience. The winner among the male singers was Prashant Malviya. His rendition of “Phoolon ke rang se, dil ke kalam se” brought back a rush of old memories. The Singing Talent Contest is one of the most popular events of the day. The audience participates in choosing the winner by voting in groups at each table.
Attractive raffle prizes were provided by and LowfareIndia / World Travel Network; Bombay Tandoor; Holiday Inn, Gaithersburg; Law Offices of Raja Bhandari; G. Threads, Kashmiri Shawls; and Gold City Jewelers. The attractive prizes together with the eagerness of the audience to help raise money made the raffle very exciting. The well-produced brochure was the work of Sangita Kalotra. Karuna Charities thanks DJ Hemant for his lilting numbers and Bombay Tandoor for their excellent catering services. Of course last but not least, Karuna thanks Nilima Mehra, the glamorous host for the evening.Karuna Charities would like to thank the grand sponsors: GTV, DISYS, Air India, amongst other numerous sponsors and donors. Karuna stands tall today because of the tremendous support of the community.