South Asian Helpline And Referral Agency’s Fundraiser

 

“We are proud to support SAHARA and the South Asian community they serve. Domestic violence is a silent epidemic that affects many more women and men than we think. One in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. We’ve seen the impact of SAHARA’s work and the genuine difference they’ve made in their clients’ lives.”, said Kalpana Tarsadia at SAHARA’s (South Asian Helpline And Referral Agency’s) annual fundraiser held on August 22, 2015 at the Tarsadia residence in Newport Coast.

Over 200 guests attended the impressive event “Jazz by the Sea”, presented by the Sarva Mangal Family Trust and hosted by the Tarsadia Foundation.

SAHARA raised nearly $450,000 for its programs that offer support services to South Asians survivors of domestic abuse in Southern California, increase awareness about healthy and unhealthy relationships amongst the youth and address the well-being of older adults.

SAHARA Advisory Board Chairperson and Founder of Sarva Mangal Family Trust Mr Manu Shah named SAHARA as the premier, non-political, non-religious South Asian NGO in Southern California. The organization’s Board of Directors President Ms Reshma Block shared the significant progress SAHARA has made, not only in the impact it creates in the community, but also in its expansion of offices and leadership. Her Message stated, “… I believe that we all have an obligation to invest and donate our time and money to our local community if we are to truly understand and feel the difference each and every one of us is capable of.”

The evening started off with an opportunity for the guests to socialize while enjoying delectable appetizers and live music. A number of raffle items such as designer sarees, jewelry, Gift Baskets, Hollywood Bowl tickets were aesthetically displayed for the guests to try their luck at winning them. The guests next moved to the Tarsadia residence backyard that featured beautiful table settings with astounding views of the valley and the ocean along with a glorious sunset.

SAHARA’s Advisory Board Member Mr Ravi Tilak shared why he continued to be a strong supporter of the organization’s older adults program. "Everyone deserves to be loved and honored, ” he stated while highlighting the impending arrival of old age for every individual and the need for SAHARA’s older-adult program.

In her message to the guests, SAHARA’s Executive Director Dora Jacildo shared, “I am most humbled by the courage of those who seek our support, trust us when they feel the most vulnerable, and thank us when they can stand on their own two feet.”

The evening also included a personal testimonial by SAHARA Education Center participant Mr Pratap Merchant who spoke on how the Internet, Facebook and Brain Games classes at SAHARA’s Education Center have improved the quality of his life. He also thanked SAHARA for the learning opportunities that make him continually feel young. Aishee Das, a summer intern shared how SAHARA’s youth program helped her realize, “…if we kept the conversation going about domestic abuse; we could speak for those who are silenced or too afraid to speak out...” She plans of making a difference by bringing such conversations to middle schools and focusing on issues such as verbal abuse and unhealthy relationships.

After dinner, the evening concluded with a live auction of several items including tickets to Lakers, Clippers and Kings games, tickets to tapings of several shows including, The Big Bang Theory, The Mom Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dancing with the Stars and a private yacht trip to Catalina or Newport Harbor. The auction items were generously donated by Amita Jivrajka Ramesh, Bela Bajaria and a number of other SAHARA supporters.

SAHARA’s Co-founder Ms Sheela Mehta presented Board Member Dr Bharti Rathod with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr Rathod has been on the SAHARA Board since 2002 and has been integral to the success of SAHARA’s shelter for survivors of domestic abuse.

SAHARA has been providing free and confidential services in Southern California since 1991. The organization’s main office is located in Artesia and it also has satellite offices in Van Nuys and Irvine. For more information please visit SAHARA’s website at www.saharaorg.org.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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