The Association of Indians in America, NY Chapter (AIA-NY), considered among the oldest Indian-American organizations in the country, hosted a successful fundraiser June 9, at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. The event, entitled “Spread Hope,” is part of Project India, the philanthropic arm of AIA committed to help meet the needs of the underserved in India.
Event was sold out and was a huge success, organizers said in a press release. It was attended by more than 250 movers and shakers from the Tri-state area, including prominent individuals such as Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, Kalpana and Amit Doshi, Dr. Sudha and Sudhir Parikh, Asmita and Arun Bhatia.
India’s Consul General in New York Sandeep Chakravorty was the Chief Guest.
At the event, the Project India team shared the experiences of the last 10 years when it was launched as a response to the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS in India. Those attending were reminded that much work needed to be done and that every dollar raised goes directly to the help of the needy.
“In the past decade, AIA’s partnerships with a renowned NGO called Gujarat AIDS Awareness and Prevention (GAP), located in Ahmedabad, and supported by a group of Physicians of the Brooklyn Hospital, have made immense strides in making a measurable difference in the lives of thousands in rural and tribal villages,” organizers said. Programs have evolved as the Team gained more experience and the attention today is on comprehensive healthcare for women and children.
According to AIA’s Project India, more than 2,000 families across 80 rural and tribal villages along the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan, have been beneficiaries of its program. These areas have minimal access to medical care. Programs are monitored, evaluated and refined to align with the need and outcomes, the audience at the event was informed.
The visual Presentation at the event highlighted key programs of Project India and their scope, scale and significant results. Annual medical camps, teachers training, Mamta Day (Women’s health checkups) Bal Gopal/Bal Mukul (for orphans living with HIV/AIDS), and Prevention of HIV from Mother to Child were cited as examples of the most effective outreach. Project India team member Asmita Bhatia noted that the results are encouraging due to the dedication of trained workers, earned trust of the villagers and local panchayats and school authorities.
The programs resonated deeply with the night’s keynote speaker, Ambassador Sandeep Chakravarty, who engaged the crowd with his personal story and admiration for the Association of Indians in America and its efforts with Project India.
The evening also included a musical theater with its North American Premiere, called Three Women, written and directed by Isheeta Ganguly. The play was based on Rabindranath Tagore, showcasing the dilemma of women in the past and the present. All actors Avantika Akerkar, Mahima Saigal, Zayn Marie Khan; narrator Samrat Chakrabarti and musician Abhishek Chauhan got a standing ovation.
The artists traveled from India, sponsored by Cheapoair and Turkish Airways.
Marymount Manhattan College, East 71st street provided an ideal venue for the event according to organizers, who thanked Executive Vice President Paul Ciraulo and President Kerry Walk of the College for their support.
The AIA’s New York Chapter President, Gobind Munjal, invited all to the 31st Deepavali Festival scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 7 at South Street Seaport.
The Association of Indians in America (AIA) is the oldest not-for-profit organization of Indian-Americans, founded on Aug. 20, 1967. It has chapters and membership spread across the United States.
For more information on Project India, visit projectindiaaia.org.