More than 550 Kutchi origins attended the 9th KOJAIN Sammelan which was from July 13 to 15 at the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport Hotel in San Mateo, California.
The theme of the Sammelan this year was ’Kutch Jo Dhabkaar – Valley Jo Rankaar (Heartbeat of Kutch – Echoing in Silicon Valley) and featured many activities for the whole family such as the celebration of the Kutchi New Year, a welcome Saamaiyu, Kutchi culture demonstration, Raas-Garba, opening session keynote speakers from India, informative and educational sessions, cultural program, exhibition, music and dance.
The attendees experienced the Sammelan App for the first time, in which they could view the venue as well as a schedule of all of the activities which were going on.
Among those who attended were San Mateo City Hon. Mayor Rick Bonilla and his wife Susan, Ashok Shah and keynote speaker from India Dr. Ela Dedhia as well as other distinguished guests.
Every year during the Sammelan, KOJAIN honors people of Kutchi Oswal heritage in North America who have achieved excellence and unique contributions in fields of art and crafts, science, education, cultural activities and community services.
This year’s awardees included:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Navin S. Dedhia of San Jose, California for “Vision, Leadership, and Lifetime Commitment to Support and Promote KOJAIN”
- Leadership Award: Hemant M. Shah of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for “Acting as an Ambassador of Indian Culture and Trade in Canada”
- Special Recognition Award: Late Meenaben Shah of Hockession, Delaware for “a Leader and Tireless Community Service Worker and Generous Donor To KOJAIN and Other Jain Organizations”
- Service Award: Nikita Dedhia Shah of St. Louis, Missouri for “Promoting Education Opportunities in Germany for Indians”
- Recognition Award: Tanvi Chheda of Stanford, California for “Excellence In Scholastic Achievement”
- Recognition Award: Jesika Haria of San Francisco, California for “Excellence In Scholastic Achievement”
KOJAIN is a Non-Profit 501 (c) (3) organization established in 1996 and incorporated in the State of Maryland with a mission of operating and promoting cultural, charitable, educational and humanitarian activities in North America as well as maintain, educate, enhance, advance and preserve the heritage of Kachchh through art, language and culture. Kachchh is a region located in the Northwestern part of Gujarat State in India.