Silver Jubilee 2023

Karuna Charities Washington Inc., with a woman President (Amrit Kalotra) and all-women Board (Kanti Singh; Jasbir Sethi; Sujata Avasthi; Promila Banik; Bina Dhir; and Savita Malhotra) and Ambassadors (Gita Bhatia, also Webmaster; Jyoti Gujral; Mara Puri; Sushma Oberoi; Rohini Khera; Priyanka Rattana; and Sangita Kalotra) celebrated 25 years of service to the community on Sunday, May 21 at the Double Tree Hilton in Gaithersburg, MD. The Mistress of Ceremonies was Mrs. Nilima Mehra and the DJ was Mr. Hemant. They have also been a part of Karuna Charities for the last 25 years.

A call for service, compassion to help those in need has been the force that has guided this group on a beautiful journey. This community of givers and helpers has provided large-hearted support. The journey has been rewarding for givers and receivers.  

Karuna members remember with deep sadness the loss of their founder, Lekha Sreenivasan who founded Karuna Charities 25 years ago in Washington D.C. metro as well as Karuna Charities at different points in time in Africa, Austria, New York, and Texas. 

We celebrate Karuna’s mission of compassion to those in need, particularly women by providing a helping hand and scholarships through institutions of higher learning in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.  

The event started with tributes to Karuna founder, Lekha Sreenivasan by her son Sree Sreenivasan and her husband TP Sreenivasan. The President of Karuna Charities Washington Inc, Amrit Kalotra presented a plaque to Mr. TP Sreenivasan.  

A personal message was delivered from Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador of India. The Guest of Honor, Community Affairs Minister Mr. Jag Mohan gave a speech congratulating Karuna Charities for its work, followed by a welcoming song by Sangeeta Simlote and Parasuram Iyer.  A lamp was lit by board members and ambassadors to start the event.

In her welcome address, president Amrit Kalotra pointed out that Education is of paramount importance for it allows a person to earn and to be independent. Karuna has set up four scholarships for the needy, particularly women, at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Montgomery College, Maryland, the University of the District of Columbia, and the Universities at Shady Grove, Maryland.  

Karuna Charities also participates in community service. We cook and serve meals in shelters, give cleaning materials in orphanages and Mother Teresa homes. Most recently we have delivered food to shelters, monetary help to food banks, and provided additional funding through the aforementioned universities to students struggling to make ends meet.  

Karuna also contributed wholeheartedly during the very dark period of Covid days. Karuna Charities contributed around $19,000 to food banks, shelters in the DC metropolitan area in 2019 and 2020 and also reached out to Covid affected people in India with much needed medical supplies worth $10,000 in 2021. 

During the intense Covid period, Karuna added another Chapter to their activities by bringing about awareness of the needy amongst our very young generation, ages 12 and under. This youth group wing is headed by Priyanka Rattana and Sangita Kalotra.  

The last two years saw a revival of the Golf Tournament which enabled Karuna to arrange a fundraiser out in the open. It proved very popular under Ajay Kalotra, the principal architect of this tournament. 

Dr. Shambhu Banik noted that the current Karuna president, Amrit Kalotra was recognized by President Biden with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her leadership and dedication to community service. 

An award was presented to Mrs. Amrit Kalotra by Neena Shenoy:

The Mistress of Ceremonies, Nilima Mehra who recently received an honorary United Nations award “The Key to the Heart of Peace and Love” held the Auction of Paintings which included works from Simi Bhandari, Nalini Bhat, Dr. Lalita Kaul, Payal Tak, and Dr. Meenakshi Mohan.  

There was a beautiful dance performance by dancers from Rythmaya Dance School: Nirathi Rao, Sheila Oak Maggin, Jigi Dahagam, Kavitha Jaspal, Munni Islam, and Neha Oak. 

Raffle donors were Mama Tigre, Bombay Tandoor, Double Tree by Hilton, Comfort Inn, Sakson Settlements, Personally Painted Painting by Dr. Lalita Kaul, GTThreads Kashmir Crafts, ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery, and Ruby’s Collection. 

An award titled “You Make a Difference” was presented to President Amrit Kalotra by Mrs. Neena Shenoy.

The winners of the Singing Talent Concert were:

Himank Pande for “Tareef Karoon Kya Usski” in the Male category;

Rakhi Bhatia Tulsiani for “Zara si Aahat” in the Female category;

Rakhi Bhatia Tulsiani in the Female category;

and Navin Mathur and Pooja Mathur for “Mujhko Apne Gale Laga Lo” in the Duet category. 

Certificates were presented to all the Board Members and Ambassadors. 

The Platinum sponsors were: Environmental Management Services, Inc.; and International Business and Technical Consultants, Inc. 

The Gold sponsors were: Blossoms for Pink, Mrs. Jyoti Gujral; Mr. Mohan Kapani; Dr. Nilima Mehra; The Universities at Shady Grove; Mayberry Dental, Dr. Vikram Chauhan; Mama Tigre, Mr. and Mrs. Ajay and Renu Prakash; Dr. and Mrs. Prasad and Radhika Nataraj;  Suresh, Neena, Nikhil, Rajiv Shenoy and Family; and three anonymous donors. 

The Silver sponsors were: Dr. Shambu Banik and Mrs. Promila Banik; May Jewelers; Dr. Lalita Kaul; Mrs. Indira Kaur Ahluwalia; Northern Virginia Community College; Mrs. Harpreet Kaur and Mr. Manjit Singh, CPA; University of the District of Columbia; Desai and Shah, PC, CPAs; Mrs. Neeta Mallhi; and Bombay Tandoor. 

Donations were received from Sree Sreenivasan; Purnima Mookim; Meenakshi Mohan; Horacio & Paula Verdun; Jasvir and Neera Jaspal; Gregory Gallant; Kanti Singh and Kuldev Singh; Dr. Darshan Saluja and Meeta Saluja; Parasuram Iyer; Meena Singh; Kamal Dang; Anshu Kapoor; Madhu Bhatia; Aarti Subramanain; Abha Patel; Renu Thakral; Ajay and Sujata Avasthi; Sanjay and Madhur Khanna; Dr. Baljeet and Jasbir Sethi; Bina Dhir; Renuka Misra; and Mr. and Mrs. Sunil Singh. 

The delicious food was catered by Bombay Tandoor.

Professional pictures of the event are available at:

The Indian Express newspaper devoted a full page article to this Silver Jubilee event: