Bollywood Supports Women’s Empowerment

The Share and Care Foundation, joined by TV Asia, presented an evening of speakers and dialogue to celebrate the launch of the initiative to “Inspire Change and Empower Women.” Major personalities from Bollywood joined media giants and public officials to celebrate the launch of the program. (Also see: TV Asia’s YouTube Video, An Evening with Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi, Parts 1 and 2, below.)

Share and Care, in partnering with the TV Asia series Shades of Shakti, confirmed that media attention is an essential strategy to arouse awareness of an important cause whose success relies on emotional impact and visibility. The award-winning show features the extraordinary achievements of South Asian women living in the United States who have taken control of their personal and professional destinies—often in the face of daunting obstacles. Share and Care has a dream, in which every woman feels safe, secure, self-reliant, empowered, and assured a life of dignity. According to Share and Care Foundation President Arun Bhansali, “A pragmatic and powerful approach is necessary to create sustainable opportunities and fight injustices . . . to empower women.”

The celebratory evening featured Dr. Ketki Shah, Chairperson of the Foundation’s WE initiative, who shared the campaign’s vision, goals, and strategy for 2014. She emphasized two key areas: abuse prevention, and livelihood projects, both prioritized to promote self-sufficiency.

Dr. Shah was followed in the program by Hon. Consul General of India Shri Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay who discussed the suffering of women in India, and endorsed the Foundation’s timely initiative. The non-profit’s goal is to enroll 350 women with a pledge of $100 a month over the next 10 months toward a goal of $300,000 to support three programs in India and one in the United States.

Mr. H.R. Shah, Chairman & CEO of TV Asia, and well-known entrepreneur, philanthropist, and community leader, spoke about the role the media can play in emphasizing the importance of the work by the Share and Care Foundation.

Legendary poet, lyricist, and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar, a prominent figure in Bollywood and one of the industry’s most popular and sought-after lyricists, recited some of his work to the pleasure of those in attendance. Celebrity couple Javed and Shabana Azmi are supporters and guides of the Foundation’s mission and have partnered in many projects uplifting women’s causes.

Shabana, in referring to the brutalization of a 5-year-old girl in Delhi, said, “We are numbed by the horror of the act. The culprit has been booked, but can justice ever be done? We can’t just be bystanders.” Shabana read a poem penned by Javedji’s son Farhan Akhtar, the well-regarded Indian film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, playback singer, lyricist, and television host. The poem was offered as a tribute to the WE campaign.

Later, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar joined in “conversation” with media anchors and producers. They provided their honest views on the importance and difficulties of gender issues, which was followed by a lively question and answer period with the audience.

View TV Asia’s An Evening with Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi—Part 1 & 2

About the Share and Care Foundation
The Share and Care Foundation, founded in 1982, is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for deserving, economically challenged women and children of India by partnering with communities, philanthropists, and local charitable organizations. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

For more information: Email Tejal Parekh or phone (201) 262-7599

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