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Children’s Hope India – The Quest for Giving“There are so many ways to give, there are so many things to give…I wish you will all have your own epiphany and you would re-dedicate yourself on a different scale and a different level to finding your own radiance and giving that to the world; because you will find that even peace is not going to be enough – you will want blessings for yourself and the planet when you’re done – and that’s my wish for you. The Gayatri Mantra, the beautiful six thousand year old Vedic mantra, says: ‘Let my heart shine as bright as a billion suns.’ Om Shanti Om Shanti Om Shanti. – God Bless all of us, God bless Children’s Hope, and God Bless the planet.”
I’m starting at the ending but these closing words by Chandrika Tandon in her powerful remarks about how we define success and life’s journey at the Children’s Hope Gala got a huge roar of applause and a standing ovation. Tandon who was honored as the Lotus Honoree at Children’s Hope 25th Anniversary Gala certainly knows a thing or two about giving: she is the largest individual donor in the organization’s history. A leader in the field of business, education and the arts, she has given of herself, her knowledge and her music.Over 500 guests from the tri-state area had gathered at Pier Sixty in Manhattan on October 28, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Children’s Hope India, a New York-based organization dedicated to the service of underprivileged children in India and the US. attended this gala event which was full of leading names from the business and arts worlds. India’s Consul General in New York Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty and Mrs. Chakravorty were the chief guests, and the film director Mira Nair was there in person to introduce her Broadway bound show ‘Monsoon Wedding’. The Master of Ceremonies of this 25th Anniversary Gala was Tinku Jain, noted broadcaster and philanthropist. It was indeed all about giving and Grammy-nominated Chandrika Tandon’s music from her brand new album ‘Shivoham – the Quest’ set the mood of the evening – the search for love, peace and happiness. The album weaves together the voice of Chandrika with over 200 world musicians in a joyous celebration. In fact, guests took the good vibes home since there was a gift of this CD for each guest.
The evening’s Making a Difference honoree was Bob Roth, who is the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation and has taught transcendental meditation to children and vulnerable populations in 35 countries. He said, “Without meditation and yoga we will never truly heal the trauma that afflicts so many children who grow up in the slums of India or the crime ridden streets of some neighborhoods in New York City. But with these ancient, evidence-based practices we can give each child a true foundation for a healthy, productive, happy life.”
The evening raised close to a million dollars for education. It was about giving through donations, silent auction and a live auction of material and immaterial things. The impassioned master auctioneer, Christie’s Sandhya Jain-Patel, raised close to $270,000 in the course of 15 minutes. Amongst the luxury items for bidding were gorgeous diamond earrings from the Madison Avenue jeweler Nirav Modi; a fabulous Jamini Roy painting donated by DAG Modern Gallery which is in both New York and New Delhi; and a delightful stay in a villa belonging to the Bulgari family in the wine country of Tuscany. (The red wine served that evening was from the Bulgari vineyards.)The immaterial things which were priceless were school buses, education and even a playground for the first girl’s secondary school being built by Children’s Hope in India – the Children’s Hope Girls Academy in Bhopal with an opening scheduled for March 2018. This will ensure education for 800 vulnerable girls in Gandhi Nagar and surrounding villages – girls who would otherwise have been compelled to stay home and look after siblings or be married off. Over the course of this evening, funding was raised for two school buses to transport the girls from their villages to the school, a digital learning center equipped for distance learning, a playground, and classrooms, as well as nutrition and medical care for the students.
Mira Nair gave a lively talk and introduced her much talked about Broadway bound show ‘Monsoon Wedding’ with the performers Namit Das, Anisha Nagarajan, Kuhoo Verma, Michael Maliakel, Meetu Chilana and Levin Valayil. The show had the exuberant dancers from Payal Kadakia’s SA Dance Group including Payal herself, Sumika Rajguru, Rashi Birla, Manisha Nair Sokka, Rhea Ghosh, Richa Kalra and Radhika Mehta.
Many donors, supporters and volunteers contributed their talents to the wonderful evening which in spite of audacious fun-raising certainly managed to reach its fund-raising goals too, for the education of under-served children in both India and the New York area. Now that’s something to smile about!
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