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Over 1000 Women attend IFA’s Women’s Fest

By Mahadev Desai
July 2017
Over 1000 Women attend IFA’s Women’s Fest


Karen Handel was felicitated by Sreekanth Uppala, President and founding member of IFA, along with (at left) Lakshmi Thesam, Sunil Savili, and (far right) Shyam Mallavarapu. (Photo: Vakiti Creations)

The Indian Friends of Atlanta organized its second spectacular IFA Women’s Fest 2017 at the spacious Skyland Business Centre in Cumming, GA on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The Festival was graced by Consul D.V. Singh, Karen Handel (Former Secretary of State of GA), Ron Freeman (Sheriff, Forsyth County), Naheed Syed (CEO, GRMI Inc.), Deborah Lanham (VP, Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce), representatives from various Indian organizations such as Telangana American Telugu Association, Gujarati Samaj, Greater Atlanta Telangana Society, Sindhi Sabha, Greater Atlanta Punjabi Society, Greater Atlanta Telugu Association, and more than a thousand women from the Indian American community.




(Left) Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman was felicitated by IFA Founding Member Kiran Gogeneni. (Photo: Vakiti Creations)

IFA’s Women’s Fest celebrates the year-round contributions and accomplishments of women in the community, recognizes prominent women leaders in Atlanta, and also affords women an opportunity to meet and greet, forge new friendships, and network with each other.

For the attendees, the festival, without any entrance fees, had plenty to entertain and engage, including music, dances, fun games, seminars, speeches, awards, complimentary lunch, raffle and a riveting fashion show.

The guests congratulated Indian Friends of Atlanta organizers. Seminars gave valuable suggestions on topics such as Role of Women in Politics, Registering to Vote, Safety and Security Tips for Women, Opportunities in IT, Opportunities Other Than IT, etc.


Honorees at the IFA Women's Fest. (Photo: Vakiti Creations)

IFA felicitated Veena Rao, the editor of monthly newspaper NRI Pulse; Kamlesh Chugh for winning the “Inspirational Queen” title at the Milestone Mrs. India International 2017 pageant in Bangkok; Dr. Veena Rao, Professor and Co-Dir. of the Cancer Biology Program in the Dept. of Ob/Gyn at Morehouse College, Atlanta; and Anjali Chhabria of TV Asia for their outstanding services to the community.



(Left) Displaying the posters for the launch of the IFA SAKHI helpline for women. (Photo: Vakiti Creations)

IFA has launched IFA SAKHI helpline for women; it assists in times of crisis and also for advice on choosing a career, legal guidance, immigration matters, etc.

Deepa Bajpai Sharma coordinated various classical, fusion, and folk dances performed throughout the day by Atlanta’s well known dance academies. Bollywood chart-busters added to the festive spirit. Priya Sahetia entertained the audience with innovative games, and gifts for winners were provided by Big Bangles Theory, Blossom Spa, and Ruby Parlor.

The theme of the fashion show was “Ever Green Bollywood,” the evolution of Bollywood fashion and its impact on our culture. It was designed by Lakshmi Thesam and executed by Priya Ratnam and Hetal Mehta, with makeup support by Kratika Jain and Monalisa Khandke. The beautiful ladies, adorned with traditional and contemporary trendy ethnic clothing and latest fashion accessories, walked on stage as attendees cheered. The Teen Fashion Show was one of the highlights, presented by IFA Youth volunteers with the support of Archana Reddy. Hamsa Creations extended the support in costumes.

The raffle draw generated excitement: prizes included a ticket for a Cancun, Mexico getaway, provided by Kristen from Moonprep.com, diamond rings by Vaibhav Jewelers from India, and gift cards from Yes-M System. Delicious food was provided by Biryani Pot, Krishna Vilas, Swagat Indian Cuisine, Madras Mantra, Aachi’s, and Godavari Express restaurants.


(Photo: Vakiti Creations)

Website Bonus Feature


Mrs. Kamlesh Chugh, after winning the “Inspirational Queen” title at the Milestone Mrs. India International 2017 pageant in Bangkok, with the Indian ambassador in Bangkok.




(Left) Kamlesh Chugh with a princess of Bangkok.

Mrs. Kamlesh Chugh had won the “Inspirational Queen” title at the Milestone Mrs. India International 2017 pageant in Bangkok.

Kamlesh says, "My motto in life is to inspire people. To those people who think they are old and they can't do anything, I say, no, they are not old: they can start their life at any time! If for some reason they couldn't do something in their past, they can start today."

“Milestone Mrs. India International 2017: Mrs. India International Inspirational Queen award bagged by Kamlesh Chugh from Atlanta”



The IFA Women's Fest venue was beautifully decorated by Kathy & her team.
Vakiti Creations provided photography, videography, and sound system.
Praveen Puram of TV5 and Mana TV, and Anjali Chhabria of TV Asia covered the event.
The event was spearheaded by IFA Executive Director Lakshmi Thesam and well implemented & supported by all the members IFA Executive Team and Board including Sreekanth Uppala, Shyam Mallavarapu, Priya Ratnam, Sunil Savili, Sairam Pamulapati, Anil Bodireddy, Deepa Bajpai Sharma, Arun Darpally, Kishan Tallapally, Srinivas Peddi, Swetha Dhawan, Abay Radhakrishnan, Sanjeev Akula, Kiran Gogineni, Manav Thaker, Hetal Mehta, Suresh Volam and Niranjan Podduturi.
IFA team expressed special thanks to Srivani and Aishwarya for anchoring the event. It further thanked Bright Smiles and IGJC and all the other sponsors, participants, fashion show team, Skyland business team, and a big thank you to all the enthusiastic attendees who made it to the event despite the very hot weather and made the festival a memorable one.

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