Putting a smile on differently-abled children of Shantiniketan
(Photos: Vakiti Creations)
“I choose not to place "DIS" in my ability,” once said Robert Hensel, a Guinness World Records holder for the longest non-stop wheelie in a wheelchair. Just like Robert Hensel, there are millions of people all over the world who are proud of their abilities and have faith in their future.
The Telugu community in Atlanta has rallied often for charity and philanthropy. When Shantiniketan Rehabilitation Center for Differently Abled Children sought funds for their buildings in Kondapur in Adilabad district of Telangana, a whopping $51,200 was raised within four weeks, most of it in just one evening. Families and organizations came forward. A group of friends pledged $12,000 for a school van. About $15,000 more is needed to reach the goal.
Shantiniketan was founded in 2001 by Janardhan Pannela. He later migrated to the US along with his wife and two sons to work as a special needs teacher. With the help of a dedicated team, Janardhan manages the center remotely by extending advice and financial help.
A fundraiser was held on March 5, 2016 at Taste of India. After lighting the traditional lamp and a classical dance by students of Neelima Gaddamanugu, Nataraja Nrityanjali Academy, Janardhan gave a PowerPoint presentation on Shantiniketan’s services and projects. He and his wife Roopa shared an incident from their own family.
(Left) Felicitating the renowned lyricist Chandrabose.
Highlight of the evening was the guest of honor, renowned Telugu lyricist Chandrabose, who walked the audience through a fascinating journey of his career filled with hilarious and emotional moments. Event host Viju Chiluveru also entertained the audience throughout with wit and spontaneous humor. Swapna Katta was a great emcee with her on-the-spot improvisations.
Mr. D.V. Singh, Consul and Head of Chancery recognized donors and spoke, and Mr. Narender Reddy commended Shantiniketan for doing an extraordinary job for less fortunate children.
Balaratna Award winner Haricharan, a physically challenged 7-year-old, presented a beautiful dance. His display of confidence and willpower won him a standing ovation, a shawl, and a souvenir—a proud moment for the ‘differently abled’ children of Shantiniketan.
Prabhakar Boyapally, a donor who visited Shantiniketan personally, said, “I am fortunate to be a part of this noble cause. Every one of us should lend a hand and take it to the next level.” Dr. Jaganmohan Rao and Mrs. Suguna Garu, trustees of Hindu Temple of Atlanta, have also visited the school, and Shantiniketan thanked the couple for their support. All sponsors were recognized by Sri Chandrabose Garu, Pramod Sajja of Paramount Software Solutions, Kiran Pasham of EIS Technologies, Sagar Lagisetty of Magnus Opus IT solutions, Ravichander of Softpath Systems, Madhavi Gangasani, Dr. Bhoja Katipally, who flew in from San Antonio, TX for the event, and ATA President-Elect Karunakar Asireddy.
Website Bonus Feature
Photo gallery: http://shantiniketanadb.org/photo-gallery/
Chandrabose Garu’s message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIsAzk6fioo
Gold Level Donors:
• Dr. Sreeni R Gangasani & Mrs. Madhavi Gangasani
• Mr. Sreedhar Bandaru & Mrs. Lakshmi Bandaru, (Detroit, MI)
• Dr. Venugopal Reddy Vundyala & Mrs. Geetha Vundyala
• Mr. Sagar Lagisetty & Mrs.Vanaja Lagisetty
• Dr. Bhojareddy Katipally & Mrs. Sandhya Katipally, (San Antonio, TX)
• Mr. Karunakar Asireddy & Mrs. Prashanti Asireddy
• Dr. Ravinder & Mrs. Yashodhara Thota, (NJ)
• Mr. Ravi Chander & Mrs. Sushumna Roy
• Mr. Suresh Volam & Mrs. Kamala Volam
• American Progressive Telugu Association (APTA), (Houston, TX)
• Dr. Laxmaiah Pola & Mrs. Laxmi Pola, (Cleveland, Ohio)
Other donors included Mr. Ravi Kasam & Mrs. Kavitha Kasam, (Los Angeles, CA), Ramana Reddy Battula and Indu Battula, Garudavega, Dr. Aruna Polsani, and Rajeshwar Rao Polati of Zenith Radiology. Dr. Shanker and management of Taste of India and some IT consulting companies also donated.
Several volunteers worked for three weeks for this event. Shantiniketan acknowledged Sridhar Vakiti for photography, Beats and Events for audio, Srinivas Durgam and DJ Dev for lighting, Taste of India for venue, Suresh Volam for graphic work, and Plan in Style for decoration. Media partners were Deccan Abroad, Praveen Puram TV5, TV9, and HMTV. Kishan Tallapalli and Sunil Gottoor did a tremendous job at the registration and donation booth.
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