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Musical fundraiser for Haven House shelter for victims of domestic violence in Metro Atlanta

June 2018
Musical fundraiser for Haven House shelter for victims of domestic violence in Metro Atlanta

The Hindu Temple of Atlanta auditorium began to fill up as talented musicians from the Atlanta community started taking their assigned seats in the front rows. The occasion—a musical event to raise money for Haven House, a shelter in McDonough, Georgia for victims of domestic violence.

Haven House serves the needs of destitute women and children, regardless of their race, religion, or ethnic group. Although located in McDonough, the shelter provides care to people from the entire metro Atlanta. The shelter provided care to nearly 400 women and 350 children in 2017. Over and above shelter, it also provides the residents with medical care, medical supplies, free transportation to work or school, and school supplies to children attending schools. The shelter eventually resettles the residents by finding them permanent housing and by providing them with their initial needs of furniture, clothes, and other household items. In recent months, over 100 families have received such help.

Dr. Manohar Nallathambi, a surgeon based in Henry and Clayton counties, is a Haven House board member. He believes that the Indian community should be more involved in supporting Haven House—a few of the residents sheltered there are women of Indian origin. He sought the help of Dr. Seshu Sarma, a long-time resident of Atlanta and well-known philanthropist. Dr. Sarma offered to organize a musical event. At her request, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta – Riverdale sponsored the event and offered the use of its auditorium and the services of its volunteers. Dr. Ram Sriram, President of CAMAGA (Carnatic Music Association of Georgia) offered to produce a classical music event that would showcase the talents of teachers and students from the Atlanta Indian community. Accordingly, a grand musical and fund-raising event was held on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

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Over fifty musicians (students and their teachers) participated. They not only showed their talents, but also highlighted the great contributions of Indian classical music composers for the last four hundred years. Highpoints of the program were the violin ensemble conducted by Ms. Jassotha, a well-known violin teacher, and the percussion ensemble led by Mr. Santosh Chandru, a mridangam teacher. The audience gave a standing ovation after the conclusion of the two ensembles. Dr. Kalpana Rengarajan, as master of ceremonies, managed the event and the time with meticulous care. Shiva Vaidyanathan and Vasudevan managed the audio support with perfection.

After the performances, Dr. Nallathambi spoke to the audience about the Haven House shelter and how, over the years, it has helped innumerable abused women and children and saved them from domestic violence. Dr. Seshu Sarma recognized the following members of Haven House board of directors and presented each with a shawl: Board Chair Ms. Lucinda Wirt; Board members: Honorable Judge Wesley Shannon, Dr. Stephanie Gordon, Ms. Kristy Coughlin, Ms. Keli Hazel, and Haven House Executive Director Ms. Kathleen Tucker.

This musical event not only brought the Indian community together for a laudable cause, but also raised over $20,000 to support the Haven House shelter.


Surabhi School of Music students (above) performed to raise funds for the domestic violence shelter.

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