Evening of Hope

Asha for Education, NYC/NJ chapter, hosted its fourth annual benefit dinner on July 10, 2015 to raise funds for grassroots education projects in India. The evening’s keynote was delivered by Pepsico Chairman and CEO, Mrs. Indra Nooyi, who was awarded with the Beacon of Hope for her sustained commitment to ushering socio-economic change in India. The grand gala was held at the Consulate General of India.

Mrs. Nooyi spoke about her inspiring journey from a middle-class family in Chennai, to one of the topmost executives in the United States. She stressed on the importance of education and the need for Asha’s work on the ground. “Education, particularly education that develops the skills needed to join and flourish in the modern economy, is the key to unlocking both personal and economic growth. So, to all the Asha volunteers here tonight: Keep fighting. Every life you touch is precious, and every connection you develop makes a difference and inspires others,” said Mrs. Nooyi.

The gala was hosted by actress and TV personality Qurrat Ann Kadwani. A pledge drive conducted by Sotheby’s first South-Asian auctioneer, Priyanka Mathew, helped raise $67,000 for projects in India.

The evening was made possible by generous our sponsors, Anju and Joseph Simon, Univision, RSG Media, Tata Consultancy Services, Innova Solutions, Infinite, and IREO. “It’s heart-warming to see people wanting to donate money to such an important cause. The funds generated will be used to fund budgets of grassroots organization supported by Asha,” said NYC/NJ Chapter Coordinator, Bhinish Shah.

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Personal experiences with education’s transformational power take center-stage at benefit dinner

Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Consul General of India, New York, also addressed the gathering about his own rural background and the role of education in ensuring his success. “Education is the change agent in society. I, a first generation school-goer in my family, wouldn’t have been here if there wasn’t a school in my village” he shared.

 This thought was exemplified by Dr. Prabhat Mishra, Associate Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, University of Florida. Dr. Mishra who grew up in an impoverished household in rural West Bengal credited Sharada Kalyan Bhandar, an organization supported by Asha For Education, for supporting his education. “Financial help from SKB allowed me to focus on my studies and become a computer engineer,” said Dr. Mishra.

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