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Raksha recognizes individuals reaching out

January 2012
Raksha recognizes individuals reaching out Photo: Swapon and Niloofer Mondal with the first annual Himmat Award for their courage and commitment.
(Photography by Vinod)

On November 12, 2011, over 300 community members joined Georgia nonprofit RAKSHA for its 13th annual fundraiser, Ek Shaam Raksha Ke Naam, An Evening in the Name of Raksha: A Musical Celebration of Women.

The night was filled with live singing and dance performances, a silent auction, dinner, and dancing at Seasons Event Center located at Patel Plaza in Decatur—the venue elegantly decorated with beautiful backdrop and centerpieces courtesy of Sterling Décor.

Aruna Rao-McCann began 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 about her own journey in advocating for survivors of domestic violence and how powerful and inspiring is their resilience.

A 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. Five dedicated employees and countless volunteers play a critical role in addressing violence against immigrant women and children. Raksha 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.

Dr. H.N. and Indira Ramaswamy were honored with the Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award. They had been nominated by community members and chosen by the previous award winners. 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.

A new vegetarian restaurant, Thali, catered the appetizers, dinner and dessert for the evening. Then the night's entertainment 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, a professional vocalist, who had the audience on the dance floor with his parody of Hindi songs interspersed with Elvis Presley renditions.

The evening ended with the high energy of DJ Jaz's 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 support of Raksha over the past 16 years. Sponsors were AT&T (Gold), Kilpatrick Townsend and Kuck Immigration Partners (Silver), 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 (Bronze).


Website Bonus Features


RAKSHA participated in Atlanta's International Women's Day events on 3/8/11.

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