ARTESIA, CA – In a show of solidarity, the Indian-American community in the Southland joined hands with the local Nepalese community at a fundraiser which drew hundreds to the Santan Dharma Mandir on May 2. More than $120,000 was raised which will go to help with relief operations in Nepal which was struck...
The Guest of Honor , Honorary Consul of Nepal for San Diego , Rishi Dhaka, in his emotional address, mainly in Hindi, lauded the efforts of India and Indian-Americans to help his country Nepal in this crisis hour. Calling India ‘Bada Bhai’ ( big brother) he recounted the immense help the Government of India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special team had poured in from day one. He was touched by the helping hand extended to his country by the local Indian-American organizations and repeatedly expressed his gratitude to all present for their generous support. With tears in his eyes he went on to paint a picture of post-quake Nepal, revealing official statistics of the massive scale of destruction with the death toll touching over 7,000 and counting as more bodies are being discovered daily. Almost 140,000 homes have been razed to the ground and a million kids are in need of help. He also recognized members of the Nepalese-American Shree Pasupatinath Foundation who were present at the event, for their tremendous support. He wrapped up his appeal by urging all in the audience to give.“ Your every penny counts to save lives,” he said ending with a loud ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai.’
Nitin Shah and Jayesh Shah of the Jain Center of Southern California took center stage in the fund raising effort. Donations and pledges kept pouring in as they egged the audience on to loosen their purse strings, with inspirational quotations and anecdotes on giving. A video presentation of the massive destruction and loss of life caused by the quake touched the audience. Nitin Shah announced that $60,000 was raised by seven families and towards the end of the evening a matching amount was raised by those present, making the total raised over $120,000. He said the first check of $18173 would go to the Shree Pasupatinath Foundation for providing over 1500 tents to those who have lost their homes.
Dilip Butani, Ashok Patnaik and Amrit Bhandari also spoke urging all to give .
The fundraising was interspersed with music by local singers and musicians who volunteered their services to keep the audience entertained throughout the evening. Emcees for the entertainment segment were Smita Das and Qusro Patel.
Earlier, the event opened with Viajaya Bhanu of the Sri Sakti Sarade Kalaniketan leading her Nepalese students in a dance to pay tribute to victims, following which a two minute silence was observed in their memory. Well know local singer Jayshree Gohil proceeded with singing a bhajan in her melodious voice.
The singers who kept the evening alive were Ami Khetani, Charenjeet Virdi, Hemant Mehta, Jwalant Parikh, Kirti Patel, Mayuri Patel, Ram Tasildar, Suresh Bhatt, Vishal Ailawadi,. The musicians were Hari Bhatt, Rishi Thakar, Zeeshan Nadir and Banjamin while the sound engineering was done by Ajay Khetani.
The major sponsors for the fundraiser were B.U. Patel’s Tarsadia Foundation, Sarva Mangal Family Trust, Pravin & Sudha Mody and Bipin & Hina Hira.
The evening started with a free dinner for all, hosted by Jay Bharat.