32nd Annual Gala Crosses $1 Million Year-End Goal

2014 ANNUAL GALA'S PACKED HOUSE RAISES $725,000 TOWARD INSPIRING CHANGE – EMPOWERING WOMEN PROGRAMS

The 32nd Annual Gala was held November 9, 2014, at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ. The annual gala draws in huge crowds as one of the must-attend fall season events in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area (read the India Times write-up here). This year’s event was no exception.

1,270 attendees | $725,000 raised

SHAKTI, a scintillating collection of dance and musical performances, mesmerized the audience. SHAKTI is the work of renowned choreographer Amit Shah, creative director for Aatma Performing Arts Group. The show opener invoked Lord Ganesha, paying tribute to women’s empowerment with “Goddesses of India.” Next, the audience was taken through the colorful Holi festivities, an ancient Hindu welcoming of spring, and divine love of Radha Krishna surrounded by devoted gopikas. India’s regional diversity was on vibrant display with a medley of dances from Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Punjab, and Gujarat. The unity in diversity theme was further underscored with a dance tribute to the Mughal emperor, Akbar. An Indian gymnast performed a breathtaking display of agility and strength with Mallakhamba, a traditional Indian sport performing feats and poses in concert with a vertical wooden pole or rope. Select hits of Bollywood dominated the second half of the show. 

 

The young dancers dazzled the audience with their strength and exuberance. The versatility and rigor of their training in classical Indian dances, ballet, modern, hip-hop, jazz, and of course Bollywood style was awe-inspiring. Additional credit goes to assistant choreographers Kruty Shah and Rohit Gijare and all the live musicians, including vocalists Roopa Mahadevan and Vandana Iyer.

Share and Care honored several women with Impact Awards for their courageous and powerful stories of success against many challenges. In recent months and years, Indian society has been shaken to its core with horrendous crimes against women. According to the United Nations Development Programme, India’s story of emerging-market growth and rising superpower is marred by “poor performance on women’s empowerment and gender equality is reflected in India’s low rank on the Gender Inequality Index—129 out of 146 countries. In fact, among the South Asian countries too, India is second from the bottom, just above Afghanistan.”

Share and Care President Arun Bhansali notes that acute awareness of these challenges propelled them to formulate and launch programs that are already helping to carve their niche as an innovative but results-oriented American foundation blessed with deep understanding of Indian milieu.

Press & More Photos

From the Bergen.com online news, some beautiful photos of several VIPs are available here. From the India Times, click here to read the entire article. And from TV Asia, the first information and entertainment channel for the south Asian community in North America, has a 6 min., 15 second feature story, watch it here!

Credit for photography to Ujjwal Dalal and Sonali Dalal. Press release available here.

The Share and Care Women’s Empowerment Initiative – WE

WE is developed and managed by women, for women. WE’s goal is to cultivate a powerful chain of good deeds through a peer-to-peer state ambassador program, WE chairperson Dr. Ketki Shah said. The potential of 50 ambassadors committing to $100/month for 10 months a year, each of them in turn recruiting seven additional donors to generate $350,000 is both revolutionary and realistic:

50 ambassadors
$100 per month/
10 months
x 7 additional donors each
$350,000

According to Shah, Share and Care’s 32-year history supports the claim that:

“We are probably one of the few organizations with a commitment to escalate our engagement with women’s issues and make it institutionally sustainable.”

Women spanning multiple generations have made oversized contributions as resourceful volunteers, visionary trustees, and resilient co-founders, over and above being accomplished physicians, entrepreneurs, and homemakers. 

In 2015, WE will provide skills training and career opportunities to 50,000 poor working women. Said Shah:

“Together we can dramatically and sustainably improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of suffering and abused women. Together these women will transform their families, communities and the nation.”

Quality Education for the Children of Rural India

Quality education for children as a way out of the cycle of poverty and social discrimination is the other pillar of Share and Care, whose programs recognize that literacy is not education and education that fails to translate into jobs or self-employment falls short of empowering youth. Share and Care has accepted the challenging task of educating brilliant yet economically challenged youths for college degrees in science, technology, and vocational courses through its Educate to Graduate, or E2G, program.  E2G connects donors to these children through a rigorous process of selection, monitoring, and evaluation. These students not only achieve stunning success academically and financially, but also inspire other youth through their stories. Currently, the E2G program has 840 students in colleges—but unfortunately another 5,000 shortlisted students are waiting for support. E2G’s goal is to support at least 1,000 students by early 2015.

Through our Educate to Sucess, or E2S program, we also target specific regions of rural India where youth are faced with additional challenges. Northeastern India is often forgotten by the mainstream Diaspora, but we at Share and Care consider it our obligation to help them join the mainstream and promote national integration.

You can experience the heart of our signature programs by watching four short video clips on our YouTube Channel at youtube.com/SCF4India:

In the Words of St. Valentine
Transform Lives Forever

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