Children’s Hope:

Jaishri Kapoor, an Indian American vice chair of the board of trustees at the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, received the ‘2019 Woman of Distinction’ award at the Children’s Hope India Spring Luncheon May 8 in East Meadow, Long Island. The luncheon raised $50,000 to support the cause of education. (photo provided)

On May 8, the Children’s Hope India Spring Luncheon at the Carltun in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, Long Island, over 250 women got together to raise $50,000 for the education and vocational training of girls in India and the New York Metropolitan area.

This pre-Mother’s Day luncheon brought in two generations of Indian American women to support the cause of education. The guests included Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Taruna Chakravorty, wife of Consul General of India Sandeep Chakravorty.

Moneesha Sani, emcee of the evening as well as a member of the luncheon committee, spoke eloquently about the work of Children’s Hope India and pointed out that over the past 27 years, the organization has sponsored more than 20 projects and has helped over 300,000 women and children in India and the U.S.

One of the highlights of the spring luncheon is the ‘Woman of Distinction’ award, which is given to a woman who has managed to balance the challenges of the workplace, home and social responsibility.

The ‘2019 Woman of Distinction’ award was presented to Jaishri Kapoor, vice chair of the board of trustees at the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and a supporter of many arts organizations.

In her inspiring talk, Kapoor spoke about how she had always wanted a career in the arts and has continued to follow her passion by supporting iconic institutions and also young people to achieve their dreams in the arts. She said, “Each of these projects brings me closer to America and yet makes my bond with India that much deeper!”

Kapoor said she looks forward to bringing the performance arts to the Children’s Hope India projects in India, adding: “I applaud Children’s Hope for the work they are doing for girls in India and I salute you for using the performing arts to do so.”

Guests at the luncheon also got more than they bargained for – a barrelful of laughs, thanks to Zarna Garg, a standup comic. Known as ‘funnybrownwoman,’ Garg is a wife, a lawyer, a businesswoman, and a mother of three. Her comedy touches upon everything, from immigrant life to Indian food.

The CHI luncheon is always a big supporter of Indian American women entrepreneurs and this year there was an exciting marketplace of jewelry, shawls, candles, essential oils, chocolates and clothing from many creative and enterprising women, with a percentage going to CHI, said a press release.

The Children’s Hope India Luncheon is now in its 11th year. “Thanks to our supporters we have been able to expand the educational initiatives both here and in India, empowering more girls,” the organization stated in the press release. “The CHI Girls High School is set up to educate up to 800 girls from the surrounding villages and slums of Bhopal.”

Twenty girls from Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi are pursuing higher education in various colleges and technical institutes through the CHI Tandon scholarship program, it said, adding that each girl was the first member of the family to even finish high school. “Now their dreams of becoming financially independent engineers, doctors, business women and computer analysts are well on the way to becoming reality,” Children’s Hope India said.

More than two decades ago, Children’s Hope India started as a small group of women professionals hoping to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children. Children’s Hope India now has over 22 projects across several cities in India and the New York Metropolitan Area.

The spring luncheon was spearheaded by CHI board member Kavita Lund, and organized by the CHI benefit committee comprising of Babita Advani, Milan Devjani, Aarti Kamat, Moneesha Sani and Madhulika Shroff. It was coordinated by Jharna Jaisinghani of Artistic Affairs, and DJ Sharad provided music for this lively event.

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