More than a thousand guests and supporters attended the annual gala and fundraiser of the well-known non-profit Share & Care Sept. 21, at Bergen Academy in Hackensack, N.J.
The highlight of this year’s event was a challenge thrown out by renowned Bollywood actress, former United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and cancer survivor Manisha Koirala to Share & Care , to double its outreach for women’s empowerment activities.
Share & Care works on numerous development projects in India.
Currently, Share & Care has reached a little over 10,000 women. Koirala’s challenge, which was taken up by Share & Care, hopes to reach 20,200 in the year 2020, according to Sharad Shah, president of the organization. “We accept the challenge,” said Shah, and noted that Koirala promised to return to the Share and Care event after the organization meets the challenge.
The two-hour cultural program, with two segments of one hour each broken by an interval, was themed “Bollywood Boulevard” and showcased the music of the film industry from its Black & White period, through the ‘Golden Era’ to the present. Most of the performers were local talents, who worked in collaboration with artists from India, noted Dr. Manoj Desai, chair of the gala and member of the Board of Trustees of Share & Care.
“We raised $600,000 at the event. And overall this year, we have raised $1.1 million for the projects,” Dr. Desai told Desi Talk.
Dr. Ketki Shah of Share & Care introduced Manisha Koirala describing her as a “distinguished humanitarian” and an “advocate of women rights.” Koirala’s book, Healed, was also released at the event. It shares the highs and lows of her life, career, and relationships, including her battle with ovarian cancer.
In her speech, Koirala praised the work of Share & Care and talked about her life and her book.
Dr Sudha Parikh, who has also been involved with Share & Care women’s empowerment projects, presented a plaque and bouquet of flowers to Koirala, congratulating the Bollywood actress for her humanitarian work. Dr. Sudha Parikh also felicitated Trupti Desai and her husband businessman Kenny Desai who was not present, for their support of Share and Care projects.
During the intermission, slides with patrons names, videos with interviews of patrons including Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, and Padma Shri H. R. Shah, chairman of TV Asia, were shown. A seven minute video showing Share & Care’s work in various projects, was shown. It was produced, written and directed by Anthony Scalia with the guidance from Sharad Shah and Varsha Mehta.
Dr. Sudhir Parikh, in his video message praised the work of Share & Care, an organization that he has supported for the last 37 years, and urged people to open up their hearts and wallets to give for projects to uplift the poorest of the poor and empower women in India.
The ceremony honoring the artists was conducted by Dr. Manoj Desai, chair of the gala, who told Desi Talk about the various programs undertaken by Share & Care, including interest-free loans to needy students which is now being replaced by scholarships; the women’s empowerment program that trains women on how to stay safe, provides health care and nutrition, and has achieved “very good” results in reducing maternal and child mortality. Share & Care also donated $40,000 for Gujarat and Maharashtra flood relief efforts, and has helped build some 1,000 toilets, a program that is awaiting clearance for building more of the same.
Some 40 Share and Care Volunteers helped organize the gala, Shah said, and recognized the following for their hard work – Amar Shah who managed theater and show related arrangements; Dr. Desai who worked with the production company to ensure best production; Sudha Bhansali and Asha Dalal, who chaired production of the souvenir; Mardhavi Patel handled various duties; Jyotsna Maniar and Dilip Parikh who managed the ticket distribution; and office staff Tejal Parikh and Jyotindra who provided great support.
Chairwoman of Share and Care Jayu Parikh thanked all those present.