NEW YORK – Children’s Hope India (CHI) held its 26th Annual Gala on October 7, 2018, at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, in New York City, where the organization raised money to further its prime mission– the education of underserved children.
This year’s theme, “Unlocking the Potential of India’s Children at the Secret Garden,” focused on the goals to ‘Educate, Empower, and Enrich’. There was food; there was the beauty of music; there was the honoring of several individuals for their commitment to public service and making a difference in the lives of the less privileged—three remarkable people from very different walks of life, each of whom has shown the value of education in their work.
But most of all, there was generosity in heart and in spirit as over $1 million was raised to support CHI’s new school in Bengaluru and a learning center at a refugee camp in Jodhpur—as well as other projects providing education and medical care both in India and the New York metropolitan area.
The event brought together CHI’s many supporters for a real live celebration of bettering children’s lives. Included on the guest list were the Consul General of India Sandeep Chakravorty and his wife Taruna, Chandrika Tandon, Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank, and designer Anita Dongre.
What started as a small group of women professionals trying to make a difference with one orphanage in Mumbai today covers 20 projects across India and has taken on four schools, namely CHI’s own Children’s Hope India Girls School in Bhopal, a school in Jammu, and two Ekalavya Schools in Hyderabad.
CHI President Dina Pahlajani, after recognizing the gala’s current and past year’s honorees and sponsors, and the enormous impact their contributions will have on changing lives, spoke to the mission of the organization.
“Whether it is in a non-formal setting like our mobile school or in a formal setting like the Children’s Hope Girls School in Bhopal, we stay true to the core values that this organization was founded on—Every Child Counts. We provide the ‘wholistic’ and ‘holistic’ care that includes medical care, nutritional support, sports and arts programs and add components like meditation and yoga where possible. This year our Cradle to Career approach took a much needed leap by adding college scholarships to enable the bright children from our schools and some youth in our community based programs pursue their dreams,” she said.
A highlight of the evening was the felicitating of Lotus Award Honoree Anand Khubani, who is Chairman and CEO of IdeaVillage Products Corp. and the master marketer behind today’s top-selling TV products.
Khubani and his entire family are committed to bringing education and new opportunities to underprivileged children.
Khubani spoke about the impact his early travels to India had on his life, and his dedication, in line with the mission of Children’s Hope India, to address the problem of extreme poverty in India and to transform children’s lives.
“Thanks to your generous support of tonight’s event, we have changed the lives of 5,000 children,” he noted, adding, “If, over the course of time, these children have an impact on 10 people’s lives, and they have an impact on another 10 people’s lives and so on, over five generations we will have affected over 500 million people.”
Chandrika Tandon presented the Making a Difference award to Ravi Kanth Ganti, who spoke about the successes he and his team have achieved in the academic arena with their students: 99% pass with 93% first classes in Telangana state X grade board examinations.
Ganti shared this insight: “Building an institution called a ‘school’ is THE transformational strategy for change. It is the creation of the Institution that leads to deep, lasting and irreversible impact in the life of children and their families.”
Ganti is Chief Operating Officer of Ekalavya Schools, one of Children’s Hope India’s cornerstone projects. He has led the operations team managing five Ekalavya Schools, for underprivileged children.
Dr. Manjit Singh Bains, thoracic surgeon, cancer researcher, educator, and humanitarian received a Special Impact Award.
Bains is an Attending Surgeon in the Thoracic Service, Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a Professor of Surgery at Cornell University Medical College. In addition to being published extensively, Bains has received numerous awards for his professional and humanitarian work.