Arjun Rampal & CRY: Safeguarding Child Rights!

Photos: Murali Santhana

Photos: Murali Santhana

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By Vanshika Vipin Varma

SUGAR LAND: CRY (Child Rights & You) America, a non-profit organization, partners with grassroots level non-governmental organizations to uplift thousands of underprivileged Indian children denied of basic rights. CRY works across levels from direct action advocacy mobilizing public opinion to policy change. In the last two weeks, CRY America hosted its Annual Gala Dinners across Bay Area, Orange County, New York and Houston. The Houston Gala Dinner was hosted on Sunday, June 11 at the Sweetwater Country Club, Sugar Land.


It was the 2nd Annual CRY Gala Dinner- Pledge 2017, and Arjun Rampal was the Celebrity Guest. Over 150 philanthropists and supporters joined in to aid this noble cause. The social hour began at 6:00 pm and while some got busy bidding at the silent auction, others had their eyes anxiously fixed on the aisle to greet their celebrity star as he would walk in. And then the handsome heartthrob Arjun Rampal walked in and made women go weak at their knees. The down to earth model, national-award winning actor and producer was generous enough to have everyone take pictures with him.


As everyone proceeded towards the main hall, Emcees Rashi Vats of FOX TV and Pooja Lodhia of ABC TV kept the crowd engaged at the live auction, along with Houston Texans Cheerleaders by their side. The event kick-started with a cheery performance by Bollywood Shake dancers. The troupe rocked and twirled on songs like Om Shanti Om, Sooraj Dooba Hai and Dhanno, which were choreographed by Ruchika Dias as a tribute to Arjun Rampal. This was followed by playing the CRY song ‘Mera Bhi to Adhikar Hai’. This wonderful song written by Javed Akhtar and composed by Aadesh Shrivastava lays importance on child rights. The heart touching song features eminent singers like Abhijeet, Sonu Nigam, Hariharan, Shaan, Alka Yagnik, Babul Supriyo, Shreya Ghoshal, Udit Narayan.


The first speaker for the evening was Patrick Bocco, the fundraising manager of CRY America. He began his presentation by sharing the video of a CRY project from Baran district in Rajasthan, India, which he himself had visited in 2016. He shared information on the work that CRY has been doing in that region, and which was in line with CRY’s vision. Patrick then thanked everyone for attending this event and helping to raise awareness and funds. He did make a special mention about the sponsors and volunteers and stated, “CRY provides a holistic service model, touching all aspects of a child’s life. We are privileged to have so many donors and supporters, and in USA we have more than 25,000 donors and more than 2000 volunteers. CRY America supports more than 30 projects, some here in USA and mostly in India”.

And finally, it was the moment everyone had been waiting for. Arjun Rampal took on the ‘ramp’ and urged everyone to open their hearts and wallets. He said, “It feels wonderful to be here in Houston. I was exhausted, but with the love that I am receiving from everyone here, I am fully energized”. He amused the ladies by offering them hugs and kisses, as he walked around the tables taking pictures with the donors. His act helped ensure that people donate to their hearts content, thereby making the live pledge drive successful along with Lipika Sharma (Fundraising Manager Global Operations, CRY India), and Dharam Bali (Advisory Board Member, Houston). Upon being asked ‘Why CRY?’ he mentioned, “I have two daughters and I would do anything for my kids and that is the same value that CRY has. I am happy to see people from my own country here and to see what they are doing so far away from home for the people back home”. Post this, an exclusive trailer of Arjun’s upcoming movie ‘Daddy’ was played. The movie, which releases worldwide on July 21, has Arjun playing the role of a gangster turned politician, and simultaneously donning the hat of a producer as well. Just as the ladies were settling down to Arjun’s charismatic aura, a live skype call was telecast with Dr. Rolee Singh, the Program Director of Dr. Shambhunath Singh Research Foundation (SRF), from Varanasi. The call agenda was to discuss their project in India.

Scrumptious dinner followed next, along with a live singing session by Malika Ghei, who got everyone dancing the night away. Some of the items auctioned were a guitar autographed by all members of the Rolling Stones, a photograph autographed by all the actors that played James Bond, a bat autographed by the Indian Captain Sourav Ganguly, along with a few other designer pieces. The dinner committee included Dharam Bali, Mousumi Banerjee, Tyna Pariani, Ruchika Singh Dias, Sunil Srivastava and Indira Bhavaraju. Chef Sunil Srivastava designed the palatable menu.

The local event sponsors included Vantive Inc, Amir Dodhiya of New York Life, and Volterra Energy. DJ Sage, Ray and Abiya Malhotra from Sage Productions rocked the event with their DJ & Light services. The photography was taken care of by Murali Santhana, while media support was provided by Meena Datt, Radio Dabang, Masala Radio, Indo-American News, Voice of Asia, TV Asia, FOX TV, and ABC TV.

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