By Gouri Banerjee Ph. D., President of the Saheli Board
Saheli is truly grateful to its volunteers, individually we can do so little but collectively we have done so much. Saheli’s volunteers have helped our organization to reach its twentieth year of pro bono services to the Massachusetts South Asian community. Today, Saheli programs assist women and their families to move towards violence free lives, empowering women with funds to gain economic independence, and educating the community about domestic violence. Saheli will end violence through advocacy and innovative initiatives such as including men as allies in speaking out against gender violence.
Volunteering is a work of the heart. The Saheli fundraiser, called Nirbhaya, for example, is the gift of a team of dynamic and very busy women and men. The all-volunteer team leading the fundraiser this year is special. Chair Anu Chitrapu and co-chair Dr. Manju Sheth are leading the fundraising committee which includes Saheli members Usha Vakil, Mariya Taher, Neelam Wali, Lata Rao, Sweta Mepani and Gouri Banerjee. Saheli interns Shaleen Sheth and Uma Venkatraman worked hard behind the scenes. Also in the team are many dedicated community leaders including Mr. Upendra Mishra, publisher of India New England News, Sumana Bhat, Kavitha Sivasailam, Sapna Aggarwal, Twinkle Morbia, Bindu Chamarthi, Eshani Shah, Viveka Devdas, Charu Agarwal and Shikha Bajpai. Thank you so much volunteers! Saheli welcomes volunteers, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
This year’s fundraiser is remarkable as it marks the start of 20 years of service by the organization. Team leaders share some of their thoughts below.
Anu Chitrapu wrote, “It is my honor to serve as chair for the Saheli fundraiser, Nirbhaya 2015. There are 3 reasons why I am associated with Saheli – first and foremost Saheli’s mission of empowering South Asian women is close to my heart, second, the team that runs Saheli is absolutely dedicated to the cause and I know they will do whatever it takes to accomplish their mission and finally, I believe it is the duty of every South Asian woman to do whatever she can to empower other women like her.”
This is Dr. Manju Sheth’s third year as Co-Chair. Her team organized successful fundraisers in 2009
and 2013 and in her own words, “I have always said that as a physician I have treated the physical and emotional scars inflicted upon survivors of domestic violence but my job somehow always felt incomplete. Working with Saheli and helping raise funds which go towards empowering survivors so they can lead secure and independent lives helps me finish that job.”
This year, the Nirbhaya Gala Fundraiser is being held on Friday, September 18th, from 6-10 pm at the Waltham Westin Hotel in Waltham. Tickets are still available at the door. The guest speaker will be Deborah Goldberg, State Treasurer of Massachusetts. A well-known group called Women of the World will perform and Masala Art will present a buffet dinner. Tickets are going fast at the Saheli website saheliboston.org and we hope that you will buy a ticket and show your support for Saheli’s many charitable projects in empowering low income women and support rental fees for Saheli’s new office space. For quick information write to: email@example.com