Sewa International’s Annual Fundraiser 2015


Sewa Team and Volunteers with ​Keynote speaker Sonal Shah
Photos: Bijay Dixit

By Kavita Tewary

HOUSTON: Sewa International Houston believes in its motto “Together We Serve Better.” This was exemplified by the great turnout of Sewa supporters and community members on Sewa International’s Annual fundraiser 2015 on Saturday October 3, at the Shree Radhakrishna Temple.

Sewa asked for H.E.L.P (help every life prosper) and the Greater Houston community came out in big numbers and not only opened their hearts but also their wallets to donate generously . The evening was a glittering gathering of who’s who from the Indian American community as well as Government representatives like Congressman Al Green and  Sugar Land City council member Harish Jajoo .The Chief Guest and keynote speaker for the evening was Sonal Shah, a fellow Houstonian, social entrepreneur and an economist . The evening commenced with the lighting of the lamp by few key members of Sewa, Congressman Al Green and Sewa Houston Chapter President Sarojini Gupta, followed by a devotional dance by the most gracious Kusum Sharma of Kalakriti Performing Arts .  The tempo for the evening was set by the first speaker Congressman Green, who spoke about the importance of the work Sewa International does with emerging communities and refugees in his congressional district He also presented the Congressional recognition to Sewa International for its service. He kicked off the fundraising by pledging to donate to Sewa International’s fundraiser.


Congressman Al Green presenting the congressional Honor to Sewa International President Sarojini Gupta, Kaushik Chatterjee and Kavita Tewary.

The Emcee for the evening the most charismatic Meena Datt, kept the audience engaged. The cultural performances by students of Ratna Kumar’s Anjali School of Performing Arts and Kusum Sharma’s Kalakriti were absolutely phenomenal.

Sewa International Chapter President Sarojini Gupta’s welcome address was warm and she spoke from her heart about the love and gratitude she felt for all the volunteers and supporters. She also shared a 10 minute video of Sewa International’s projects and various achievements over the past year


Anjali Center for performing arts ​performing Madhav Madan Murari choreographed by Dr. Ratna Kumar

The highlight of the evening was however the keynote address by Sonal Shah. She spoke intimately and from her heart about the challenges refugee families face every day ,when they become migrants by force and not by choice She also spoke about giving back to the community where we live, even though our hearts may still be in India. She urged the audience to give back to the community that nurtured them and accepted them as they came to America as immigrants. From among the audience was Komal Bhandari, a refugee student who went to UT Austin on scholarship provided by Sewa International .He shared his story with the audience and his accomplishment from the Sewa program to join at NASA . The audience also had a chance to hear from Ms Delores Jones, Business coordinator who shared the great work done by Sewa International with Alief ISD’S LINC program.(Language Institute for Newcomers).


Kusum Sharma from Kalakriti ​performing Arts

The vibe and the ambiance of the evening was inspiring and magical. Sewa was able to surpass its fundraising goal of $140,000 and raised almost $166,000 .The evening was complemented by a delicious dinner catered by Bhojan restaurant. Sewa supporters and team ended the evening with a strong resolve to work harder and serve better for the H.E.L.P program during 2015-2016.