Women Show the Way to Save Mothers and Families


The Board of the Save A Mother poses at the Annual Gala last Sunday, May 1 at the Noah Events Center.
Photos: Bijay Dixit

By Jawahar Malhotra

SUGAR LAND: The surprise hit of the gala turned out to be the musical performance by a 14 year-old who is the daughter of one of the co-gala chair, Seema Kachru. Ishya Kachru, a 9th grader at Elkins High School, belted out the hit song “Rolling in the Deep Sea” by Adele, reaching both the high and low notes with the deep, strong, resonating voice of a much older woman. She had the whole house up on their feet, stomping, whistling and clapping along with the beat.

And that was the start of the program for the Save A Mother Gala that was held last Sunday afternoon, May 1 at the Noah’s of Sugar Land Events center on Creek Bend Drive, in the shadow of the Flour Daniel complex. A hallmark of the SAM galas is the theme matching the table decorations and the guests dressing along in step too. Sure enough, the theme of this year’s gala was Spring Into Action and the tables were labeled by names of flowers with an appropriate floral arrangement as the centerpiece. The guests too were dressed in Spring colors, and weaved off to a reception area to the right for the social hour and appetizers and then walked across the lobby to the banquet room.


Ishya Kachru, a 14 year-old 9th grader at Elkins High School, belted out the hit song “Rolling in the Deep Sea” by Adele.

The emcee for the Gala was Puneet Freibott and the Gala chair Hema Prasad spoke about her recent visit to her hometown of Nizamabad, in Telegana State and discovering that it is the site of the third and latest SAM center. The other two are Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, site of the first SAM center and Jampur in Karnataka.

Board member Rupa Iyer, who is the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at the College of Technology at the University of Houston, gave a short presentation entitled Developing Sustainable Health Solutions which focused on the mission of SAM in India. Since its first pilot program in 2008, SAM has worked to empower maternal healthcare and reduce infant mortality; the new programs that have been started focus on population stabilization and TB control. Iyer explained that the structure was simple, with a project manager, accountant and field officers, all dealing with field facilitators. The results speak for themselves, with SAM working in 500 villages, through 25,000 volunteers and infant mortality reduced by 90 percent.

Iyer shared her own experience of having an operation to cut open her stomach and have half her uterus and still being able to deliver three sons. “But here in the US, I had knowledgeable medical people and access to good healthcare,” she emphasized, adding she wanted to provide the same to village women in India, “and that’s why SAM is important to me.”


Darshak Thacker of Krishan Sounds handled the sound system for the event.

Following up on a strategy that was employed in the Gala last year, Prasad threw out the challenge to raise $10,000 in ten minutes and let the people fill out pledge cards. Sure enough, within 6 minutes, they raised $11,300 from the roomful of guests, and adding that to the other pledges and donation, SAM raised over $60,000. With that over and dinner served, the night belonged to songs from Bollywood by Dipayan Bhattacharya who does a fantastic imitation of Kishore Kumar and his songs and Payel Mitra, a professional singer who was a participant in the 2010 edition of Zee TV’s popular show Sa Re Ga Ma and also won the NABC Idol in 2015.

The appetizers and dinner for the evening were catered by Bombay Brasserie and the sound system was by Krishna Sounds whose owner Darshak Thacker was on hand for the sound system. And Bijay Dixit, the official photographer for SAM, helped by his daughter Vidha, took studio pictures of the guests, ready to be framed and given as they left the event.