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Over 300 community members joined Raksha, a Georgia-based community non-profit, for their 13th annual fundraiser, ‘Ek Shaam Raksha Ke Naam’, An Evening in the Name of Raksha: A Musical Celebration of Women at the Seasons Event Center located within the Patel Plaza in Decatur on November 12.
The night was filled with live singing and dance performances, a silent auction, dinner and dancing. The venue was elegantly decorated with the beautiful backdrop and centerpieces courtesy of Sterling Décor.
Aruna Rao-McCann started the evening with a sterling introduction. Kavita Patel added her personal insights on the importance of Raksha’s work. Manisha Lance, an advocate at Raksha, read her original poem talking about her own journey in advocating for survivors of domestic violence and how powerful and inspiring their resilience is.
Dr. H.N. and Indira Ramaswamy were presented with the Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award. The Ramaswamys were nominated by community members and were then chosen among several other nominees by the previous winners of this award.
Dr. Ramaswamy was modest as he discussed the importance of Raksha’s work.
A special guest presented Swapon and Niloofer Mondal with the first annual Himmat Award for their courage and commitment in helping a young woman in their own community. Swapon Mondal encouraged the community to make a difference by taking action.
Thali catered the appetizers, dinner and dessert for the evening. The entertainment of the night opened with great melodies from some of Atlanta’s best artists.
Pankaj Bhargava sang some of the most famous Kishore Kumar numbers. Indrani Danave, the Sunidhi Chauhan of Atlanta, sang several melodious numbers. Namrata Dewan’s sweet voice and demeanor was appreciated by many. Mahesh Patel’s rendition of Maa was one of the most touching songs of the evening. Vandana Upadhyaya sang with such great presence.
Divya Srivastava and her dance group Geet-Rung, brought excitement to the singing by performing original dances to many of the foot-tapping numbers.
Darshan Kaur and Sunny Sachdeva brought laughter and delight as the emcees for the musical part of the program. The final singer of the evening was Tanweer Mian. Tanweer, professional vocalist, is well-known for his concerts across North America. Tanweer had the audience entranced and on the dance floor with his parody of Hindi songs interspersed with Elvis Presley renditions.
The evening ended on a fantastic note with DJ Jaz entertaining the audience with high energy from his rhythms and beats. The silent auction was a huge success thanks to all the items donated by many local businesses and artists.
Avni Gandhi, Raksha Board President, ended the evening by thanking everyone for their continued support of Raksha. A press release issued by Raksha said the organization is extremely grateful for the support from the community for this event and for the past 16 years. The Gold Sponsor for the Event was AT&T, Silver Sponsors for the event were Kilpatrick Townsend and Kuck Immigration Partners. Bronze Sponsors were Action Bartending, Action Design, Air Tran, The Antonini Law Firm, The Chugh Firm, Delta Airlines, First Medical Care, Georgia Cancer Specialists, Kumar, Prabhu, Patel, and Banerjee, The Law Offices of Joe Rosen, Metro Medical Associates, GE Capital, and The Sheth Family Foundation. Media Sponsors include Atlanta Dunia, Khabar Magazine, NRI Pulse, Namaste Bombay, and Wownow.com. The photography was provided by Photography by Vinod.
As a Georgia-based nonprofit support and referral network, Raksha promotes a stronger and healthier South Asian community. Through offering counseling, legal advice, advocacy, and referrals to mostly South Asian and immigrant women and children, Raksha provides a safe space to individuals who have few social networks to utilize when they are facing situations of domestic abuse, family violence, divorce, sexual assault, discrimination, and harassment.
Though Raksha began as a small volunteer organization 16-years ago, it has grown into a community-based agency because of the community’s rapid response to Raksha’s services; currently, Raksha’s agency consists of 5 dedicated employees and countless volunteers. Raksha plays a critical role in addressing violence against immigrant women and children. Furthermore, Raksha’s offers linguistically and culturally specific crisis intervention and long-term therapeutic counseling to adult domestic violence survivors and children who have witnessed or experienced violence in their lives.