A high-energy dance competition was the highlight of an Indian-American non-profit’s gala held Nov. 11, to raise funds for development projects for underprivileged children in India.
Vibha Vibe 2017, hosted by the organization named Vibha (vibha.org) raised $100,000 in its first gala in the Tri-state area, at the event held in Marigold banquet hall, Somerset, N.J. In the past, Vibha has organized several fundraising events such as the DreamMile and Vibha Cricket in other cities.
Describing itself as a ‘social venture catalyst’ founded in 1991, Vibha says it has raised $15 million and supported more than 250 projects in India and 10 projects in the U.S. impacting the lives of more than 300,000 children in need, according to organizers.
The hall was filled to capacity with more than 240 attendees, Keyur Shah, Vibha’s main organizer of the event, told Desi Talk. The chief guest was actress and model Pooja Batra, who will appear in the second season of the TV series, Lethal Weapon.
Several people were recognized for their contributions including Dr. Sudhir Parikh, publisher of Desi Talk and recipient of India’s Padma Shri award, Rupal Patil, a partner at Ernst & Young, and Raj Rajpal, a well-known finance radio show host. Among those who spoke about Vibha at the event were Shah, who also conducted the proceedings, Murtuza Attaar, an activist in the NY/NJ area, and Seem Chetal, member of Vibha’s advisory board. Batra orchestrated the fundraising drive encouraging those present to give to the organization
13 teams consisting of 16 paticipants and 13 choreographers participated in the Dance competition and also raised monies individually. Trophies were awarded for Best in categories of performance, dancer, choreography, costume and top fundraiser.
“Of note was the fact that some of these leaders had never danced before in their life, and their belief in the organization’s work propelled them to step up and take the stage,” Shah noted. Vibe 2017 also provided networking opportunities with many prominent personalities in attendance such as Shama Hyder who won the Anokhi award in 2016, authored the bestseller, “The Zen of Social Media Marketing.”
“This NGO is doing great work,” Dr. Parikh, told Desi Talk. “Most impressive was that most attendees were in their 40s and 50s. It’s heartening to see this generation of Indian-Americans opening their wallets for India and to help those in need in both countries,” Parikh added.
The silent auction was a great success thanks to the generous donations by Ashley homestore, fashion designer Anita Dongre and artist Medha Atre Kulkarni, Shah said.
One of Vibha’s first initiatives ten years ago was with Sikshana, funding 70 schools in Karnataka to improve the Government schools with motivational training. In February, this year, Vibha in partnership with Sikshana signed a 50/50 partnership valued at around $200,000 to cover 1,500 schools which educate around 116,000 children, with Government of Karnataka. On Sept. 13, this MOU was expanded to cover the whole state – 48,000 schools reaching 2 million children, Vibha said in a press release.
89.2% of the donations of this 100% volunteer driven organization go towards such child development programs.
On its website, Vibha says it works to seed, grow and scale grass-roots ideas that can solve systemic problems related to the underprivileged child; it works as a platform that brings together corporates, grass-root entrepreneurs, donors, volunteers, govt agencies and partner organizations; it screens projects ‘painstakingly’ and helps successful scalable projects on a wider scale.