When 260 women get together, what can be better than getting inspired, enjoying shared laughter over common experiences, shopping to support emerging women entrepreneurs – and at the same time helping the girl child to get a great education?
All this happened on May 8, 2019 at the much anticipated Children’s Hope India Spring Luncheon at the Carltun in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, Long Island. This multi-faceted event raised $50,000 for the education and vocational training of girls in India and the New York Metropolitan area, according to a press release.
This pre-Mother’s Day luncheon brought in two generations of Indian-American women to support the cause of education. The guests included Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive and Taruna Chakravorty, wife of the Consul General of India.
Moneesha Sani, emcee of the evening as well as a member of the luncheon committee spoke eloquently about the work of Children’s Hope India and pointed out that over the past 27 years CHI has sponsored more than 20 projects and has helped over 300,000 women and children in India and the US.
A highlight of the spring luncheon is the Woman of Distinction Award, given to a woman who has managed to balance the challenges of the workplace, home and social responsibility. The 2019 Woman of Distinction is Jaishri Kapoor, Vice Chair of the board of trustees of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and supporter of many iconic arts organizations.
In her inspiring talk she spoke about how she had always wanted a career in the arts and has continued to follow her passion by supporting iconic institutions and also young people to achieve their dreams in the arts. She said, “Each of these projects brings me closer to America and yet makes my bond with India that much deeper!” She looks forward to bringing performance arts to the CHI projects in India, and said, “I applaud Children’s Hope for the work they are doing for girls in India and I salute you for using the performing arts to do so.”
Guests at the Luncheon also got more than they bargained for – a barrelful of laughs, thanks to Zarna Garg who was the reason for smiles with her unique standup comedy routine which is very different from that of other comics. Known as funnybrownwoman, Garg is a wife, mother of three kids, a lawyer and a businesswoman, and her comedy touches upon everything from immigrant life to Indian food.
The spring luncheon was spearheaded by CHI board member Kavita Lund, and organized by the CHI benefit committee comprising of Babita Advani, Milan Devjani, Aarti Kamat, Moneesha Sani and Madhulika Shroff. It was coordinated wonderfully by Jharna Jaisinghani of Artistic Affairs, and DJ Sharad provided the fun music for this lively event. Simran Khiantani and Sunita Sadhnani contributed to creating the spring like atmosphere at the luncheon.
The CHI luncheon is always a big supporter of desi women entrepreneurs and this year there was an exciting marketplace of jewelry, shawls, candles, essential oils, chocolates and clothing from many creative and enterprising women, with a percentage going to CHI. These innovative businesses included ReeMat, Dhashi, Artistic Affairs, Kaia- Jewelry from the Heart, Shawlux, Saj Creations, Bija Essence, Manu Cashmere and Argento Silver Styles Inc.
Vikas Kapoor donated for performance art at CHI schools in honor of his wife, Jaishri Kapoor, CHI’s Woman of Distinction. Sponsors for the meet included Knights of York, Sani Family Foundation, Seema Advani and Rita Patel.
Pierce Country Day Camp came in as a supporter of CHI and reached out to the Indian community about its state-of-the-art summer day camps for children in Long Island.
Between photo opps, the shopping, the cocktails in the outdoors, networking with friends and learning about the work that children’s Hope India does, the afternoon raised $ 50,000 for the girl child’s health and education.
The Children’s Hope India Luncheon is now in its 11th year. The CHI Girls High School is set up to educate up to 800 girls from the surrounding villages and slums of Bhopal.
Twenty girls from Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi are pursuing higher education in various colleges and technical institutes through the CHI Tandon scholarship program. Each girl was the first member of the family to even finish high school. Now their dreams of becoming financially independent engineers, doctors, business women and computer analysts are well on the way to becoming reality, said the release.
More than two decades ago, Children’s Hope India started as a small group of women professionals hoping to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children. Now in 2018, Children’s Hope India has over 22 projects across several cities in India and the New York Metropolitan Area, and has impacted over 250,000 children by looking after their health, education and vocational training.
The focus of Children’s Hope India (www.childrenshopeindia.org) is the ‘whole’ child and providing all the tools a child needs to progress from poverty to prosperity with a cradle to career approach.