Indians for Collective Action Nov. 10 celebrated its 51st year with its annual event in Campbell, California, with a successful conference and banquet.

The event was held at Villa Ragusa with more than 200 people participating, according to a news release.

Reshma Nigam, Indian American president of ICA, welcomed the gathering and explained the theme of the event, “How to Be An Agent of Change.”

She encouraged the audience to participate in the conference and listen to the inspirational speakers and decide to “be the change you want to see in the world” either by starting or reenergizing your efforts, according to the release.

The engaging conference and inspiring speeches from the visiting luminaries made the evening memorable, it said.

Women’s Leadership chair Lata Patil crafted the conference model to be participatory in the form of roundtable discussions, according to the release.

“Join the Conversation” was the objective of the conference and the goal was to engage the audience, increase their philanthropic aspirations, invite the audience to play an active part in shaping ICA’s future objectives, and offer a channel to promote social development in India, it said.

The facilitators in each session encouraged the sharing of ideas by all participants; the topics of discussion in each session were Education, Women’s Empowerment, Environment, and Health, according to the release.

The visiting guests of honor, Vinayak Lohani of Parivaar, Satyajit Bhatkal of Paani Foundation, and Dr. Anagha Amte of Lok Biradari Prakalp participated in the conversation, it said.

In the second half of the event, ICA honored the two leaders from India, Vinayak Lohani and Satyajit Bhatkal.

Bhatkal of Satyamev Jayate fame spoke passionately about his fight against drought in rural Maharashtra. He said water scarcity is a man-made condition, and only people’s efforts can solve the crisis. He emphasized the power of communication to mobilize, motivate and train people in this mission to eradicate drought, according to the release.

Lohani, inspired by the humanistic ideals of Swami Vivekananda, started his first school with just three children, and now has over 2000 resident children in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, it said.

ICA for the first time in history sponsored its first local charity, Spartan Food Pantry of San Jose State University, to alleviate student hunger. A San Jose State University representative spoke on behalf of SJSU and received the donation from Nigam.

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