Diwali 2009

Twelfth Annual Karuna Diwali Ball

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 Members. 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 success.

Be sure to attend and help out at the 2010 Diwali Gala!